Etiquette: The Word of the Day

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Etiquette seems to be the word of the day today – at least in the workplace.

So far, I’ve seen an article on MSN about cubical etiquette and then on the way to work, I came across an article in the Red Eye, an edition of the Chicago Tribune. It was titled, “Oh, Behave! Etiquette Training Helps Employees Mind Their Manners.”

The article, written by Alison Shipley, discusses how companies are sending employees to etiquette workshops and seminars. The piece cites Advanced Equities, an investment bank in Chicago, which required its employees to attend an etiquette training session intended to increase business and create better relationships with clients. The course focused on how to speak professionally on the over, how to deal with difficult clients . Employees of the company said they were grateful for the training because the lessons learned can flow into their personal lives too.

Lori Ann Robinson, the corporate etiquette expert cited in the article, offered the following five etiquette rules when mingling at networking events or dining with executives:

  1. Your appearance is a visual extension of your business card. Robinson suggests that for business casual events, women should pair a sweater or knit cardigan with dress pants.
  2. Don’t give ‘em the dead fish. Potential clients consider handshakes and body language; don’t just hold their little fingers, Robinson says. Also avoid crushing any bones.
  3. Lay off the Crackberry. Put the Blackberry away at meetings and networking events. Pretty simple.
  4. Get your hands out of your mouth. Don’t put your hands in your mouth in public, especially at a business function, Robinson advises. Just excuse yourself and go to the bathroom.
  5. If you’re going to be late, call. Be respectful of other people’s time, Robinson says. Making someone wait and not giving them an estimated time of arrival is rude and unprofessional.
  1. It’s also a must to maintain eye contact. If the conversation runs long, there’s a tendency to start looking around the room, checking your watch, etc. Nothing kills the moment like noticing the person you’re networking with is distracted by everything in the room but you.

  2. It is also common courtesy to call the potential employer if you are unable to make a scheduled interview. I cannot believe the number of people who do not call. Tacky, Tacky, Tacky!

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