Business Etiquette is not just for Boardrooms
A common faux paus that we hear about often is the lack of Business etiquette. In this new era of evolving expectations of conduct, digital communication, and remote work; how we present ourselves and treat others is still noted by clients, customers and coworkers alike. We don’t need a fancy three piece suit and marble topped conference table to be viewed as a respected professional…we just need to remember the big three R’s of business etiquette: Recognition, Respect, and Response
Introductions are a key moment when we set the tone for how the rest of the interaction will flow. Start on a positive note, introducing ourselves and our team, then recognize the others in the room (or on the call) by thanking them for their time and the opportunity.
About 93% of communication is non-verbal, which means that only 7% of our message is the words leaving our mouths. When communicating in person or via virtual meeting, look the audience in the eyes (or directly into the camera) and smile. When someone else is speaking in a meeting, give positive feedback such as looking directing at them (or camera) and nodding, giving small verbal acknowledgments and using facial queues to express our acknowledgment and understanding.
Respect is more than addressing someone by a formal title, it is how we communicate with each other. We should take note on how we speak to supervisors, coworkers, and customers on calls, email and text. We want to appear friendly and approachable, but a tone that is too casual may be perceived as disrespectful or demanding.
Respect also falls into the non-verbal category, by how we present ourselves. We would like to think that looks don’t matter, but in many cases our professional appearance will affect both how our audience treats us and the message we are sending. Think of appearance as a chance for self care, and take that opportunity when getting ready for work and pick out a favorite business attire outfit (formal or casual) for the day. Looking good, translates to feeling good and gives us the confidence to go the extra mile and exceed expectations.
When we respond the “Golden Rule” should be what guides us at all times. Responding promptly is just as important as arriving on time to meetings because it shows people that we acknowledge that their time is valuable. When sending emails or texts, we should re-read prior to hitting send to see if our tone matches the message, did we use “please” and “thank you?” Doing this also avoids auto-correct fails, grammar blunders, and reply-all disasters.
This new era of where and how we conduct business, should not affect the level of respect and effort we put into our professions. It does not matter if we are pushing paper or shoveling dirt, if we want to level up credibility and respect in our chosen profession, we must respect ourselves first so we can demonstrate respect for others.