Mind Your Manners: March
Years ago, when by David Lowry, PH.D. was the head of an elementary school he started to jot down simple rules of etiquette for children. What resulted was a master list of 25 manners every kid needs to know by age 9. The goal is to get kids to be noticed- for all the right reasons. This inspired me to scribe some guidelines that I learned first-hand as a young professional. After all, we adults want to be noticed too, right? Let’s hope you don’t recognize any tips aimed at you.
Etiquette tips that every professional should employ, to stay gainfully employed
- Refrain from using a hands-free mobile device in the restroom. Your call is not that important to overcome the horror of hearing a flush at the conclusion.
- Emoticons should only be used in personal emails and not business correspondence. Thx ;-)
- The company refrigerator is not your personal grocery cooling device. Bring one days lunch, not the weeks worth.
- Always hold the elevator door. You never know who might be running to catch it.
- Never run out of business cards. When you open a new box, immediately shove a small stack in a hidden area of your wallet. They will be out of your way and when you meet that unexpected contact you won’t be fumbling with your smart phone to input a new contact.
- Hold your liquor. Getting drunk in front of your boss is an image burned into their memory forever. You don’t want to be known as “That-girl”. As in, “Remember that-girl who talked about her vibrator and then spit on the CFO when he closed the bar tab?” Yeah, that-girl got fired.
- Wear a watch. Hello Kitty, Swatch, Movado, Rolex? Doesn’t matter. Just be on time and respect others.
- Do not schedule meetings for before 9am or after 4pm. Not every one is a morning person and not every one likes to burn the 5pm oil.
- If you offer to drive colleagues to the client meeting, have a full tank of gas and ensure you’ve vacuumed up the kitty hair.
- If you finish the coffee, make a new pot. PS: Those pots don’t clean themselves either.
- If someone offers you a breath mint, accept it politely. There is only one reason someone offers you a mint. You have bad breath.
- It happens sometimes. You rush out to work and you forgot to put on your deodorant. Keep a stash (in your car, or in a desk drawer at the office) of some hygiene essentials. Deodorant, toothbrush and paste, floss, and of course breath mints.
- Be selective about who you befriend on Facebook. Boss, direct report, potential client? Do you think they want to read your status updates or see Hangover-type photos of you in Vegas? If they are already friends, understand all the privacy options available to you.
- If it’s taking you 4+ paragraphs to type it in email, pick up the phone and have a live conversation. Your IT manager in the server room just IMed to say thank you.
- Be present. When you are in a meeting and you’re looking down at your blackberry, we know you’re not listening. Don’t make us send you a 4+ paragraph email recapping the meeting you were just in but weren’t paying attention to.
- Flip Flops are not appropriate footwear in a business setting. Even on casual Friday. Even if they are bejeweled.
- Casual Friday does not mean you can be casual with your undergarments. No cleavage, no protruding thongs, and yeah, I’ll say it again, no flip flops.
- Always alert your caller to the fact that they are on speaker phone.
- Understand how to use the MUTE functionality of your phone. This is especially important if you multi-task while on conference calls.
- Be selective about your use of “reply all”. Do all of those folks need your response?
- Sending an email at midnight does not necessarily make others think you are a hard-working professional. Insomniac? Brown-noser? Person with poor time management skills? Someone with a lack of work-life balance? These all come to mind.
- You know that friend who’s always reviewing your resume and acting as a reference as you job hunt? Buy her a cup of coffee to say thank you. Long-distance friend? A hand-written note goes a long way.
- Always give credit where credit is due. Boss compliment the project you worked on with a co-worker? Throw her name into accept the accolades. Or send an email to a vendors boss (cc’ing them) when they’ve done an outstanding job. Those shout-outs help when its time to prepare annual reviews.
- Think a receptionist is a notch beneath you? You couldn’t be more wrong. Not only should you not judge an education by a persons position but the receptionist is a gatekeeper to the people you really want to get to at any front office. Treat them: with a smile, with a grande latte, or with a small token of your appreciation on National Receptionist Day. They have more power than you realize.
- Nominate your favorite #25 _____________________________________________
This list was born out of some of the bad and the ugly from my past experiences but let me also highlight some of the good. I will never forget a woman I interviewed with at my first job. It was Casual Friday in the office but she looked so classy in her tailored jeans, crisp white button down and flats. I don’t remember her name, but I remember her style and the impression it left on me. What she did was treat herself like her own personal brand. And she was consistent (Yes, she looked that good every Friday!) How you look and act in the work place, with clients, with vendors and yes, even with receptionists say a lot about your personal brand. Do you want to be the kid on the block who no one wants to play with since they have such poor manners or do you want to be the one who gets invitations to all the cool parties? It’s up to you.