In this tech-driven world, we often find ourselves using shorthand speak in an effort to speed up projects, objectives and business experiences. However, there are some old school traditions that simply can’t be forgotten; professional etiquette should be at the top of the list.
Professional Etiquette – A Sign of Respect
Whether you are meeting for the first time or not, utilizing a little etiquette is a great way of showing respect:
- Arrive on time
- Offer your hand for a firm handshake
- Make eye contact
- Use your full name
- Introduce those that might be with you
- Be polite
Etiquette can be demonstrated in person, over the phone or within your email messages.
There are several ways that you can show respect to the other person on the phone. It may sound silly, but putting a smile on your face when you speak on the phone really does make a difference in the tone of your voice.
Always be aware of the other person’s time and schedule. Make sure you ask if this is a good time to talk and if not, offer up options for a follow-up call.
Speak clearly. If you are a fast talker, be aware that it may be difficult to follow your conversation so take time to slow your cadence. Using mobile phones can offer up additional challenges, be aware of your cell reception, background sounds, and other distractions. For more examples, Hubspot offers 11 Phone etiquette tips.
Email offers its own unique challenges when it comes to Professional Etiquette. We’ve all been part of the never-ending email chain that includes way more people than are really necessary and the dreaded “reply all.”
There are actually times when reply all is necessary but first make sure that the right people are included in the message.
Use a clear subject line and keep the body of your email to one topic. Many people file and sort their messages by project, department or person and if you include multiple topics in one email, this becomes a challenge.
Also, if the opportunity to speak in person is an option, consider walking down the hall or picking up the phone so that you can engage in a conversation. How many times have you received an email from the person in the next office when they could have easily just knocked on your door?
For specific email etiquette tips, Entrepreneur covers the dos and don’ts of email etiquette, but if you can remember to be professional and respectful, you will have the bases covered.
Professional Etiquette When Seeking a Mentor/Sponsor
There is a special level of importance to your professional etiquette when seeking a mentor or a sponsor to help you advance in your career.
Like most strategic activities, aligning with sponsors takes a plan, awareness, and courtesy. These exchanges and high-value alignments can help catapult your career or business to new levels of impact. With this, professional etiquette still applies. I recommend the same professional politeness you would have for executives with a focus on consideration for their time, awareness of competing activities, and acknowledgment that it takes personal preparation. Even though there are many professionals with social capital, not everyone wants or can be your sponsor, so be ready for some rejections too. Accept rejections with grace.
Inc. offers a great overview of professional etiquette that should be following regardless of the type of communication. The 10 business etiquette rules every professional should know.
It is nice to know that in this face-paced, ever-changing world, basics like chivalry, ethics, respect, and etiquette are still important in our lives.
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