Manners Matter!

September 2014 by Sharon Dillard

EtiquetteEtiquette, or the manners you use in social situations including professional workplaces and in business, is the name for the small things that we do on a daily basis that demonstrate our professionalism. Understanding and applying the rules of etiquette ensure that you grow a strong, professional business. This valuable skill set makes you stand out from others, increases your chances of success, and may help you land that dream job or client. Here are some basic etiquette tips that will ensure your professional presence makes the right impression.

First Impressions Matter: You only get one chance to make a first impression. When meeting a client, make sure you dress professionally regardless of the location.If you’re unsure what professional dress is, ask your supervisor or human resource department. Looking sloppy, messy and dirty will put off your coworkers and can turn away potential clients. Always be sure to smile and shake hands to signal your professionalism, too.

Be On Time, Prepared: Woody Allen said that 80 percent of success is showing up. People who show up on time, act politely and are ready to contribute are rewarded. Doing these things show that they respect their company, coworkers and superiors, and that they take their performance seriously. These individuals will typically earn promotions over their coworkers who are late, unprepared and disrespectful.

Follow Up: This is the flipside of being on time, prepared, and one of the most important aspects of good business etiquette. Following up when you’ve promised to call someone, send a document, deliver a product or answer a question is key. Not doing it shows disrespect. And if you don’t yet know the answer, have the product to deliver or have sent the document, then let the person know. In this case, no news is NOT good news. An apology and a revised timeline is a hundred-times better than no communication at all.

Listen: Interrupting someone when they are speaking is a no-no in any occasion, but it can be the complete end to a business relationship. Make eye contact and give the speaker your full attention to let them know you’re listening. When your turn to speak arrives, be clear, concise, and avoid industry jargon if you feel your audience won’t understand it.

Voice Mail: Always be prepared to leave a message when calling on the telephone. If you get a real person, you’re ahead of the game. If you get their voicemail, speak clearly and slowly, explain why you’re calling, and repeat your name and telephone number, even if you’re sure the person you’re trying to reach already knows who you are.

Email and Online:Virtual communication has taken over the business world, so it is crucial that our manners don’t immediately go out of the window when communicating online. Writing emails and social media posts or comments full of abbreviations and “text-speak” doesn’t cut it when communicating professionally. Instead, treat these occasions exactly as you would a business letter. Use proper grammar and make sure to check your email for correct punctuation, spelling and usage. Typing in all capital letters is the equivalent of yelling, so don’t.

Dining Out: Occasionally, you’ll be called on to have a meal or drinks with potential or current clients. When attend a business function, your best manners will be on display. People with good dining manners often impress their colleagues and counterparts. But people who wipe their hands on their clothes, blow their noses in their napkins, pick their teeth or chew with their mouths open don’t. In fact, poor table manners may lose you business you already had. If you’re unsure how your table manners are, ask a trusted coworker or professional mentor.

Practicing these basic rules of etiquette in mind will soon turn them into habits that you won’t forget. Because good business manners are always welcome, just sayin’


Published: New Mexico Apartment News Magazine – September/October issue 2014

Sharon Dillard is the award-winning CEO of Get A Grip Inc., a national franchise kitchen and bathroom resurfacing company based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

One Response to “Manners Matter!”

  1. September 30, 2014 at 4:47 am, John said:

    It’s funny you mention table manners. I have noticed the “open mouth” chewing on people and it really is gross!


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