What happens if you are ruining your business by behaviours you didn’t even realise you were enacting? Pet peeves are what I am talking about. People won’t let you act out pet peeves over and over again; you will lose clients over this.
Here are a few most common peeves (as we go through this list you will either nod your head like “yes I hate when people do that” or you will be shaking your head like “whoops I do that”):
- Constantly playing with your hair;
- Not covering mouth while coughing, and coming to work sick;
- Talking too loud;
- Talking too soft;
- Overpowering perfume;
- Bad body odour;
- Smelly food in the lunch room;
- A ringing mobile alone on your desk;
- Poor email etiquette;
- Fingernail biting;
- Eating with your mouth open;
- Not RSVP-ing to events.
My pet peeve is dead fish handshakes. A lady I know hates when people clean both ears with a cotton bud at the same time (okay, I know this isn’t really one that your client will see—I hope). This just goes to show how far and wide people’s lists are!
You can’t go through life never coming into contact with someone’s pet peeve (clean one ear at a time maybe?), so what can you do?
Here’s where etiquette comes in as a tool you should use in your business.
Understanding etiquette gives you an awareness of your behaviour, which can be critical to the success of your business. Let’s just take one example: the dead fish handshake. In my research, where I have polled hundreds of people, more than 25% of people said they would think less of a sloppy handshaker personally and professionally, and generally think they aren’t competent at their job. That is huge! You cannot take this chance; this is not the image you want to portray in your business dealings.
Following etiquette allows you to be neutral. Being neutral decreases the chance of hitting one of these pet peeves that your client might have.
So be aware of your habits, and err on the side of neutral.
What’s your pet peeve?
Lady Danielle Di-Masi is conducting some research for a new book on etiquette. If you would like to get involved, please take a few minutes to complete this survey.