Business Etiquette – A way ofCorporate Life Sangeeta D Chakraborty
What is Business etiquette“etiquette is what you are doing and saying when people are looking and listening. What you are thinking is your business” -Virginia Cary Hudson
Why its Required – As we become a more high-tech society, the need for a sensitive, personal touch in business increases. As John Naisbitt says in Megatrends, “whenever new technology is introduced into society, there must be a counter balancing human response”. No matter how intelligent or accurate your computer is, you must still interact with people
“ Good manners are cost effective. They increase the quality of life in the work place, contribute to optimum employee morale, embellish the company image, and hence play a major role in generating profit.”
Talking of Statistics - A U.S. office of Consumer affairs’ study showed that – Up to 90% of unhappy customers never complain about discourtesy 91% will never again do business with the company that offended them. In addition, the average unhappy customer will tell the story to atleast nine other people 13% of unhappy customers will tell more than twenty people.”
“A company becomes a company you want to do business with because of people who work in it, so business etiquette has a very definite relationship to the bottom line.Good etiquette is good business!
InToday’s business people must know how to walk into a room full of strangers and feel at ease. They need to able to introduce themselves and others without feeling apprehensive.
Theyshould know when-and how-to make a phone call to cheer or congratulate someone, or when a handwritten note or an e-mail is in order. Theymust know how to conduct themselves at company social functions and receptions, and understand the complexities of the business lunch.
Some etiquette basics Train etiquette what about the rule that on a bus, or subway men or younger people must give up their seats to women or older people? Notany more-unless the people are handicapped or pregnant. Ofcourse, offering your seat is still a nice gesture.
Holding doors Yesterday’s etiquette dictated that a man had to back up and let a woman pass through a door first; a younger person had to do the same for an older person. But today’s common-sense etiquette dictates that the person in the lead holds the door for the person in the rear. If people of the same gender approach the door together, the one in the higher position or the considerably older usually enters first, while the other person holds the door for them.
What about revolving doors? If the woman is in the lead, she enters first and pushes; the man follows and pushes and vice versa. If someone is carrying an armful of files or packages, the other person takes the lead in all situations, regardless of sex or age.
According to a Chinese proverb – If you would be happy for one hour, take a nap. If you would be happy for a day, go fishing. If you would be happy for a month, get married. If you would be happy for a year, inherit a fortune. But If you would be happy for life, love your work. -
So What Are ThePrinciples of impeccable work behavior
1.Be careful with your appearanceDress Appropriately so that you are noticed, but also don’t stand out. Your own organization’s style will dictate what is “appropriate”. Dress for the Position you want to have & not the position you have. For most businesses and most business occasions, conservative is best. You will have more credibility in a jacket than without, more credibility in long sleeves than in short, more credibility in conservative colors than flashy.
2. Honor your working hours Working nine to five doesn’t mean that you arrive at nine and leave at five. It means you work from nine to five. Socializing at the coffee pot or eating breakfast at your desk does not constitute working. Five minutes may not seem like much to you, but it may seem like stealing to your manager or CEO, especially a small or a busy office. Spending 10 minutes on a personal phone call is only a small part of an eight-hour day, but 10 minutes a day equals 50 minutes a week-almost an hour of unproductive time
If you start getting ready to leave at 4:45, charge out of the office at 4:49, and screeching out of the parking lot, you’ll give the impression that you can’t wait to leave-not a professional attitude. If you cut short a telephone conversation with a customer because it is quitting time, you may lose business If you arrive at a meeting late your actions say, “my time is more valuable than yours; you aren’t important to me.” Those few extra minutes may make a big difference in a way you are considered for promotions or raises.
3.Be friendly When you are new, you need people to help you with your duties, explain procedures, and show you where to get information or material you’ll need. Make an extra effort to get along with everyone, but don’t try too hard. Ask your new coworkers to have lunch with you; lunch is a great opportunity to get to know each other. Remember that offices work best when individual efforts supports the team effort
4. Keep personal information to yourself Friendliness aside, don’t let your life become the office soap opera. When someone asks, “how are you?” don’t spill your guts. Some of the information could be used against later If you can’t control your mood or your mouth, be quiet The same advice goes, of course, for sticking your nose into others’ personal business. Never discuss or question salary or any other confidential or personal information with co workers
5. Be positive and supportive When your day isn’t going the way you hoped it would, try to look at the positive side of things- and people. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can turn a bad day into a good one. Believe in your co-workers and back them up in public When your manager makes a decision, give your wholehearted support to it, at least in front of others. Make others look good at every opportunity.
Managers, especially need you to look, talk, write, and act like a positive, supportive representative. Your professionalism reflects both on your manager and your organization
6. Keep an open mind Make informed judgments, avoid jumping to conclusions, evaluate what you see in addition to what you hear, and don’t be party to gossip Establishing yourself as professional means that you show respect for others
7. Follow through We all get a little tired, especially by late afternoon, but the job you tackle at 5:00 P.M. means as much as the one you start at 8:00 A.M. Cover every angle of a project, and don’t wait to be reminded that you need to finish a project. Be accurate. Check and double-check to make sure things are going smoothly and the way you planned. Be realistic about how long an assignment will take, and let others know ahead of time if you anticipate a delay. Set deadlines and meet them.
8.Communicate Our job knowledge ranks above communication skills as a factor for workplace success. If a conflict arises or if someone makes a mistake, remember that everyone is human & try to keep things within yourselves or max b/w seniors don’t spread it around. Managers want you, however, to go through the channels of proper communication Don’t go over their heads, and don’t bring things to them that don’t concern them If you want to disagree with them, do it tactfully, with a positive alternative, and during a high point in a day.
9. Listen Speaking and listening are twin skills in communication. Both sides must play a part for communication to occur, and you can learn best by listening to what others know. Ask questions. Hear how other people organize their ideas, how they respond to changes in procedures
10. Solve your own problems When you do have to present a problem, bring possible solutions, too. Don’t complain about things that can’t be changed, and don’t blame others when you make a mistake. Accept responsibility when you have made a mistake, and work harder to make sure that it does not happen again. Learn to accept criticism gracefully without defensiveness.
11. Work hard Be ready and willing. Take on new responsibilities, and do more than others expect. Don’t be content to do only what’s expected of you or use the excuse that “it’s not my job”. Look for areas in which you can do more and make yourself more valuable. Volunteer for special projects. Those who wait to be told what to do continue to be told what to do, and their value seldom increases
12. Be assertive, but not aggressiveWhat’s the difference? Assertiveness is appropriate behavior for the situation at hand. It’s standing up for your rights without infringing on the rights of other people. Aggressiveness is strong, overpowering, often abusive behavior. It’s rude, crude, and abrasive
13. Don’t be in too big hurry to advance Learn as much as you can in the job you have now. Think ahead. Plan. It’s like growing up: no matter how eager you are, it takes a certain amount of time. Try to enjoy what you have while it is yours.
14. Leave gracefully If you don’t have the job very long, keep your disappointment-or your extreme happiness-to yourself. Just be cordial and say your good-byes quietly. Never bad-mouth the people who have put money in your pocket. If some one leaving, respect that person’s privacy as much as your own. Even if they have resigned, and you can’t understand why, respect their opinion. They are still the same people-they just chose not work there any longer