Friday, October 8, 2010

Professional Manners Never Go Out of Style

No matter what profession, industry, or job you’re involved, good manners can enhance your professional reputation. Professional manners convey respect to those around you and are generally well received by co-workers, clients, and those with whom you have business interactions.
Below is a list of basic tips about good manners that are too often disregarded in the workplace.
  • Greet and acknowledge others: Extend a simple greeting—like “hello”— to everyone you encounter, and when you know the person’s name, include it.
  • Make eye contact and smile: If you’re meeting a person for the first time, give a firm handshake. Obvious? Yes. But how many times have you passed people in hallways or entered a meeting room and had your presence go unacknowledged by co-workers?
  • Don’t use cell phones during meetings or conversations: Technology and the connectivity that comes with it are wonderful in business. However, people have become so reliant on cell phones and smartphones, that many have difficulty setting them aside during meetings or business conversations. Checking/responding to emails or text messages during meetings and conversations is distracting and rude. In situations when this cannot be helped, let the other participants know you’re expecting a critical call or message and only use the phone to receive that one call/message.
  • Be on time: If you have a meeting, show respect for others by being on time. Occasionally, running late cannot be avoided—perhaps your boss involved you in an important conversation or a client needed your immediate attention. But, don’t turn late arrivals into a regular pattern.
  • Use the basics—please and thank you: Basic manners, including the use of please, thank you, and excuse me, never grow tiring, so use them regularly.
  • Keep your conversations professional: This includes maintaining confidentiality regarding specific business matters, avoiding gossip, refraining from profanity, and using humor appropriately.
  • Be aware of your volume: Be mindful of your volume while on the phone or conversing near other co-workers’ areas. If you have a loud voice, it can be very disruptive to others and makes it difficult to keep business conversations confidential.
  • Clean up after yourself: Whether using a shared printer, fax machine, or kitchenette, be considerate and clean up after yourself. Refilling printer paper, fixing paper jams you’ve caused, and wiping up spills are just common courtesy.

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