Etiquette is a bit of a dying habit. With the growth of the internet and social networks it is easy to forget what is appropriate and what is not. For new employees entering the work world for the first time it can be an even bigger challenge.
Below are a few tips on how to stay polite in the workplace:
1. Send Thank You Notes
Writing a thank you note after a meeting or interview is the simplest way to set yourself apart from competition. It only takes a couple of minutes and a few cents in stamps, but it works wonders on your reputation. It immediately establishes you as considerate, responsible, and dedicated. More importantly it shows that you are truly interested in the job or contact.
2. Know Everyone’s Name
This takes time and practice, but knowing all of your coworker’s names is one of the first steps to proper business etiquette. This doesn’t just mean memorizing the top tier’s names and favorite colors, or knowing those employees limited to your specific office. Meet the janitor, the guy down the hall, and the lady at the front desk. Everyone inside a business plays an important role in its success. Remember this. If you take the time to really get to know everyone it boosts morale and encourages collaboration. Not to mention that if everyone likes you it will only help to advance your career.
3. The “Elevator Rule”
At school, we might call this the “classroom rule” or the “dorm room rule.” You don’t start talking about a test or a professor until you get out of the classroom and you don’t tell your buddy how your DTR went until you get into the dorm room. It is basic courtesy and it helps prevent any embarrassing eavesdropping. In the business world, you don’t want to talk about how your meeting or interview went until you are out of the elevator and on your way out of the building. The longer you wait the better. Getting the butterflies out isn’t worth potentially damaging your reputation.
4. Put Your Phone Away
It is tempting to rely on the endless updates of your iPhone to fill the brief voids in your busy day. If we are multitasking we feel like we are getting more done, but it just isn’t true. We are distracted and ultimately getting less done in two different tasks. In fact, we’ve already talked about this. If you are in a meeting, put your phone away. Focus on the people you are meeting with. Facebook and Draw Something can wait, the meeting won’t. If you are zoned in and attentive you will stand out and accomplish more.
5. Don’t Judge, Don’t Criticize
It is really easy to poke holes in the way other people do things. Especially, when that other person is a superior or direct competitor. Everyone thinks they have the best way of doing things. But this doesn’t give you the authority to critique and nitpick your coworkers methods. If it doesn’t affect you then don’t worry about it. You are only responsible for your own work and actions. It is not your job to be the workflow police for everyone in the office.
Etiquette is simple. It is positive and encouraging.
If your actions are bringing other people down you are not practicing proper etiquette. Even difficult situations can be handled properly. In the digital age it is a lot easier to get ourselves in trouble. It is so easy to let 140-characters and a quick temper get the better of us. Slow down and think before you tweet.
At the end of the day, did you handle yourself in a manner that lifted others up? This is more than proper etiquette, it is a fulfilling life and it extends far beyond the business world. It is who we are called to be in every aspect of our lives.
Content taken from Eliza Browning’s article on INC.