Business Etiquette

Today is Tuesday, so this post is on positive personal impact. 

Recently, I saw an article on business etiquette by Paula Gamonal on www.RavenWerks.com.  I liked what Ms. Gamonal had to say, so I thought I’d post it here – with a few edits and comments of my own thrown in of course.

“Most behavior in the workplace that is perceived as disrespectful, discourteous or abrasive is unintentional, and could have been avoided by practicing good manners or etiquette. We’ve always found that most negative experiences with someone were unintentional and easily repaired by keeping an open mind and maintaining open, honest communication. Basic knowledge and practice of etiquette is a valuable advantage, because in a lot of situations, a second chance may not be possible or practical.

“There are many written and unwritten rules and guidelines for etiquette, and it certainly behooves a business person to learn them. The caveat is that there is no possible way to know all of them!

“These guidelines have some difficult-to-navigate nuances, depending on the company, the local culture, and the requirements of the situation. Possibilities to commit a faux pas are limitless, and chances are, sooner or later, you’ll make a mistake. But you can minimize mistakes, recover from them quickly, and avoid causing a bad impression by being considerate and attentive to the concerns of others, and by adhering to the basic rules of etiquette.

“Here are some of the basics…

  • “The most important thing to remember is to be courteous and thoughtful to the people around you, regardless of the situation. Consider other people’s feelings, stick to your convictions as diplomatically as possible.
  • “Address conflict as situation-related, rather than person-related.
  • “Apologize when you step on toes. You can’t go too far wrong if you stick with the basics you learned in Kindergarten. This sounds simple, but they are the qualities we admire most in people in leadership positions, and are the very traits we work so hard to engender in our children. If you always behave so that you would not mind your spouse, kids, or grandparents watching you, you’re probably doing fine.
  • “Avoid raising your voice (surprisingly, it can be much more effective at getting attention when you lower it!), using harsh or derogatory language toward anyone (present or absent), or interrupting. You may not get as much airtime in meetings at first, but what you do say will be much more effective because it carries the weight of credibility and respectability. 
  • “Talk and visit with people. Don’t differentiate by position or standing within the company. Secretaries and janitorial staff actually have tremendous power to help or hinder your career.
  • "Next time you need a document prepared or a conference room arranged for a presentation, watch how many people are involved with that process (you’ll probably be surprised!) and make it a point to meet them and show your appreciation.
  • “Make it a point to arrive ten or fifteen minutes early and visit with people that work near you. When you visit another location in your company, linger over a cup of coffee and introduce yourself to people nearby. If you arrive early for a meeting, introduce yourself to the other participants. At social occasions, use the circumstances of the event itself as an icebreaker.
  • “Keep notes on people. There are several contact management software applications that are designed for salespeople, but in business, nearly everyone is a salesperson in some capacity or another. They help you create a people database with names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, spouse and children’s’ names; whatever depth of information is appropriate for your situation.
  • “Remember what you can about people.  Be thoughtful. Send cards or letters for birthdays or congratulations of promotions or other events, send flowers for engagements, weddings or in condolence for the death of a loved one or family member. People will remember your kindness, probably much longer than you will!”

These are some great common sense ideas from Paula Gamonal on basic business etiquette.  If you put them to use, you’ll find that you’ll be making a positive personal impact with the people in your business life.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website www.BudBilanich.com for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: www.CommonSenseGuy.com for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.

Bud

PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to www.FirstGiving.com/TheCommonSenseGuy to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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