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Business meetings, corporate offices, and other professional settings necessitate professional etiquette, and it is best to stick by the basic rules of manners when in those settings. Other professional etiquette tips and techniques, however, go beyond simple manners to ensure smooth, productive interactions between colleagues or business participants. One should remember that interactions in the business world are like small marriages: attentiveness and compromise are important, and a commitment to the task at hand is vital. The most important aspect of professional etiquette is one's ability to ensure his or her dedication to the interaction taking place. This means being an attentive listener and a gracious host.
Hierarchies are common in business settings, and when introducing two colleagues, one should remember to introduce the higher ranking person first. This bit of professional etiquette ensures the person of higher rank feels respected and open to communication. Handshakes should be executed firmly and briefly; one should offer his or her hand with the palm slightly raised as a sign of respect. During introductions, professional etiquette dictates that conversation be kept to relevant issues, and offers of extraneous or personal information be limited.
While rules have changed over the years concerning women's treatment in the workplace, it is still good professional etiquette to hold doors for women in the workplace. Women often wear high heeled shoes, which can sometimes prevent them from opening some doors or lifting heavy objects. In such situations, it is both respectful and good etiquette to help a woman lift a heavy object or hold open a door if you are a man. In other situations, however, the mantra of "ladies first" may not apply, and may in fact become a hindrance to all parties involved. Be equally respectful to all people in the workplace, male or female.
As the presence of mobile phones in the workplace increases, it has become increasingly important for people in the workplace to remember to turn off phones during meetings and one on one interactions. Do not answer phone calls or send text messages during meetings unless it is an emergency. Turn off cell phones entirely before important meetings with superiors, and do not leave a meeting to make a phone call unless absolutely necessary.
The rules of attire have relaxed significantly over the years, but it is still important to look presentable at all times in the workplace. Clothing should be clean and wrinkle-free, even if the clothing is more casual. Hair should be well-kept and neat, even facial hair on men. Shirts should be tucked in, ties should be straight, and make-up should be tasteful and neat on women. Clothing should be washed regularly to avoid odors or stains.
@Scrbblechick -- No kidding. We've got a newbie in here who fell asleep during a meeting! Then, she blew off the guy who was training her so she could have lunch with her boyfriend. Unreal. I can't imagine in what universe she thought that would be appropriate.
I've floated the suggestion that we get an etiquette expert in and everyone take a refresher course. I don't know how much good it would do, but it certainly couldn't hurt!
I think professional etiquette is becoming a dying art. I'm not that old -- only mid-40s -- and I see kids coming to work looking like unmade beds and acting like they were raised in a barn!
My company has never had to have a dress code until recently. We were all adults, so it was understood we all knew how to dress professionally. Apparently, not. The dress code covered low-cut necklines, see-through skirts, too-short skirts, etc.
I've seen girls come in to work who looked like they were coming to do anything but work in an office. They don't have good phone etiquette, and it's painfully obvious their "career" classes in college did nothing to prepare them for the working world. It's pretty sad.
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