In today’s business environment, people are glossing over details wherever possible to get ahead. Courtesy is often forgotten. Here are some do’s and do-not’s to help you impress your colleagues & clients with the etiquette edge.

The numbers: 8 in 10 Americans describe lack of respect and courtesy as a major problem—and 6 in 10 say this problem is only getting worse. Funnily enough, 41% admit that they contribute to the problem through lack of manners, etiquette or rude behavior.

The topic of courtesy might not seem as thrilling the latest news about the Trump Presidential Campaign but it can make a huge difference in the quality of the relationships we create and the impressions we make. According to the Research Institute of America, 96% of customers never complain about discourteous professionals, but 91% specifically decide not to do business with companies that have in some way offended them – get the picture?


MJN Consulting conducted a survey of 500 office professionals, asking them to rank, according to their aggravation level, the top 10 common office discourtesies.

Here they are:

1. Not returning phone calls, voicemail, e-mail or pages in a timely manner

2. Using the last piece of paper in the printer or copier and not refilling it

3. Showing up late to meetings or answering cell phones in meetings

4. Making a mess of the microwave and not cleaning it up

5. Setting the copy machine for special copy features and not changing it back

6. Cruising the office visiting people instead of working

7. Clogging the e-mail system with long messages, jokes, and downloads

8. Borrowing co-workers’ office supplies and not returning them

9. Taking the last cup of coffee and not making more

10. Playing the radio or CDs too loudly or constantly

How can you avoid being looked upon as rude? Let’s break it down below. Then, run through the four specific phases of behavior and review the etiquette points in each.

Manner basics

-Always remember to say “please,” “thank you,” “hello,” and “goodbye.” Many people take this for granted—and then don’t do it.

-Smile and look interested in others. Don’t just pretend to listen—listen.

-Open doors (regardless of gender).

-Look at people when you talk to them.

-Introduce yourself and others.

-Be helpful.

-Respect people’s time.

-Compliment people.

-Write thank-you notes.

-Do what you say you will do.

Professional appearance

-Business casual doesn’t mean sloppy. Remember: your clothing creates an impression.

-Don’t go heavy on the cologne.

-Grooming counts. Always be clean and neat.

-Don’t chew gum in public.

Also, think about the messages your body language is sending. Remember to smile and maintain good eye contact and an open stance.

Language tips

-Be cautious with slang.

-Avoid foul language.

-Explain acronyms and jargon—not everyone understands them.

-Avoid sarcasm.

-Don’t undercut your credibility by using “power robbers” (phrases like “I hope,” “I guess,” “maybe,” or “probably”).

-Be careful about holding conversations in public places like elevators, hallways, public transportation, restaurants, airlines, and so forth.

Meeting manners

-Make sure that any equipment you might be using works, and that you have access to backup in case something goes wrong.

-Avoid sidebar conversation.

-Be prepared: have the right products at hand, familiarize yourself with your client’s preferences, and identify strategies that have worked before.

-Turn off cell phones, and set pagers to vibrate.

-Prevent poor performance via prior and proper planning, preparation, and practice.

-Don’t forget that the follow-up visit is part of the appointment. Use follow-up meetings to solicit feedback about services performed.

Appropriate use of technology

Don’t use your cell phone in public areas. Never disrupt client service to take a call—on either a cell or a regular phone.

Set pagers and beepers to vibrate. Never check private or confidential information in front of others.

Keep e-mails short, and always remember to check spellings and make use of the subject line.

When sending faxes to a widely used fax machine, such as one at a hotel, use white out to keep clients’ names and other confidential information secure.

Only use the speakerphone setting for conference calls; people who don’t pick up their telephones are seen as arrogant.

Keep your outgoing voicemail message short, and change it regularly so that people know when to reach you. Say your name slowly at the beginning and end of messages you leave for others.

When talking on the phone, smile and be sure you have nothing in your mouth—including gum. Remember that no one likes to be put on hold. Also, when scheduling an appointment, make sure you are very specific; double-check dates and times. Verify all appointments at least 48 hours before they are scheduled to occur.

What you have read above will help you and those around you succeed, find business and personal happiness and fulfillment wherever you are!

The author is the CEO and Founder of PNL Coaching Experts, found online here:

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