As we are starting a new year I thought I would refresh your memory on the five top business etiquette tips to help you be successful for the year ahead.
This is one of the most common aspects of a meeting that gets overlooked. We are so concerned with the purpose of the meeting, the new pitch, the interview, the sale, the relationship, the new client that we think a cup of coffee is just a cup of coffee. Rookie error.
A cup of coffee is just a cup of coffee only if you are doing it right. Have a look at the past article on informal meetings and you will see the mistakes frequently made.
High on people’s pet peeve list is the tingle tingle noise you may make when you stir sugar into coffee, so if your coffee meeting colleague is not thinking less of you professionally or personally (which is so common it’s scary) they will at the very least be more interested in what you are doing with that spoon than what you are saying. Be cautious about your coffee as it may cost you more than you think.
This is one of the first contacts we have with a person so it’s important. As we only have seven seconds to make a good first impression, a handshake is our main chance to get their attention. Good attention that is, you don’t want the other person to be thinking ‘geez arm wrestle much?!’ or ‘thanks for the dead fish’. This is my biggest pet peeve, give me a limp handshake and I will slap your wrist and make you do it again.
A call out to the men readers: shake women’s hands. I understand that some men don’t want to make a women feel disrespected by giving us a firm handshake but trust me, you couldn’t do much more to professionally disrespect us by offering a soft shake or worse, no shake at all.
3. Say ‘thank you’
Any chance you get to throw out those words in a conversation, do it. Be it in a face-to-face contact, email, telephone, or in a meeting—thank away. If someone has done something for you, big or small, if forced or not, thank them.
Some people may think that they are wasting a colleague’s time on email to just send a thank you back, however, trust me they will spend more time wondering if you actually got the email or thinking how unimportant they are that you can’t even take the time to type two words after all the work they did for you.
So get to it. Thank you.
4. What do you want?
Understanding your purpose and how you wish to be perceived in the business world is everything. Personal brand and conscious behaviours are what all smart organisations do in their marketing departments, so why shouldn’t you have your own little internal department happening in your brain about the way you want to be viewed?
Once you have an idea of what you want out of a meeting, a networking function or a new client or project and how you want to be perceived while doing all these things will give you a great kick start in reaching your goals. Do your behaviours match how you want to be seen and your future aspirations? If not, then get your team on the inside starting to work it out.
Timing is everything. A great way to show other people respect is to respect their time. Be on time, be early (but not too early) and stick to any timeframes set. Understand that being constantly late will have people thinking that you must be incompetent in your life if you can’t handle one little aspect of it such as being ready when you are meant to be.
Be prepared, think ahead and show that you are ready and able to take on whatever needs (and in its time limit) to be done.
These tips should give you a great big push into the New Year and I hope it’s one full of success—whatever that looks like for you.