Many of us know when someone has committed the crime of bad etiquette. We feel as if we’ve been insulted, without being able to pinpoint why. Good etiquette has the opposite effect. We feel inclined to help the person who displayed it, and we tend to trust them more. What makes for effective business etiquette today, includes how we communicate online, as well as in person.
Telephone Etiquette – ensure you have a standard greeting in place when answering the telephone. This includes the company name, salutation, and stock answers on behalf of people who are not available for any reason. Telephone tone of voice is very important. You need to sound friendly and personable. Never sound hurried or harassed. If given details over the phone, make sure you repeat spellings and numbers back to the caller. Write messages down on a time and date notepad, and deliver them as quickly as possible to the intended recipient to avoid repeat phone calls.
Meetings Etiquette – No matter if the board is meeting together, or a consultant is coming to chat with the manager, all meetings should be set up properly. This is to reflect a considerate corporate image. Guests to your office will have travelled, and may need parking validation. Some companies opt not to pay this; however, this small consideration goes a long way. Make any visitors’ attitude more favourable towards your company by offering refreshments on arrival, ensuring water and coffee is on hand during the initial stages of a meeting, and offer to safeguard any belongings for the visitors. When it comes time for departure, be prepared to offer any advice about traffic or travel the visitors might need.
Email Etiquette – Much business is done today through the use of email messaging. Internal business emails are written to update progress, delegate tasks, and impart newsletters and notices. In all of these communications, take care to emulate the company style. If everyone has a company signature with logo detail at the bottom of his or her emails, make sure you set up your account to reflect this.
It is tempting when in conflict with another staff member to put your differences to them in an email, however, the golden rule of email business etiquette is “never write it down in an email”. If you think of your email messages as a live broadcast of yourself, which anyone viewing them (including the entire IT team) can play back – you might think twice before sending an angry email to a colleague. It is better to handle conflict in person, every time.
Face-to-Face Etiquette – Face-to-face etiquette is how we present ourselves. Getting a good night’s sleep, getting up for work on time, and getting ready, is when business etiquette skills are most needed. Grooming your hair and body for work takes time and effort. Ironing your clothes, planning your journey, and bringing what you need for the day is key to how you present yourself in the office. It is important to look good, and be on time in the business world. Those who score top marks for etiquette make both an equal priority.
If we worked in the 1950s, face-to-face etiquette would be first on the list of essential business etiquette items. Today, business people spend so much more time communicating electronically. In some office environments, it can be as much as 95% of the day! It is really important to transfer people skills and business etiquette awareness to email, social media, and computerised interactions. It is equally important to remain personable, well presented, and able to demonstrate courtesy, in all business dealings.