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Business Manners

At the University of South Florida, students recently attended a business etiquette seminar and a related rehearsal dinner. Kimberly Goddard, a graduate of the Protocol School of Washington, provided a number of excellent suggestions for updating your manners for the twenty-first century and 'outclassing the competition.' Business communication instructors may wish to share these suggestions with their students.

At social events, place your name tag on the right side of your chest so that the people you meet will have a clear view of it when they shake your hand. Don't stand around waiting for introductions to be made. Introduce yourself. Offer your business or calling card. Address both married and single women as 'Ms.' When you introduce two people, name the person of higher standing first.

Shake the hand of a woman the same way you would shake the hand of a man. Avoid the extremes–'bone-crushing' shakes and 'wimpy fingertip' shakes.

Table Manners
If you're a vegetarian, tell the server before you sit down so that special arrangements can be made for you. Don't blow on your soup. Don't use a toothpick or put on makeup at the table (do it in the restroom). Don't answer pages or cell phone calls. Turn your pager off, and leave your cell phone at home. Don't ask for a doggie bag. Don't pick up the check unless you invited the other diners. If you did, inform the maitre d' at an early stage of the proceedings.

Treatment of Clients
Pick up your clients at the airport personally. Carry their bags and open doors for them. Assist them at the hotel check-in desk. Stand by in the hotel lobby while your clients examine their rooms. Do everything you can to make them feel comfortable and important.

Don't light up unless your host or client does. If you do not smoke and your client or host does, say nothing. Suffer in silence.

Source: Jerome R. Stockfisch, 'No Wimpy Handshakes, Please!' The Tampa Tribune, 9 September 1998, on-line
sections/story2bz.htm [26 September 1998].

Business Manners

Dos and Don'ts

Business Manners: They make a major impression on colleagues, employees and customers. But sometimes, there's only a subtle difference between saying 'the right thing' and 'the wrong thing.' To get yourself thinking about the right way to approach the etiquette problems you encounter each day, browse this handy etiquette reference - and resolve to apply what you learn to your own work life.

When you want to intrude on a colleague's time. Do say: 'May I have a moment of your time?' Don't say: 'Are you busy right now?'

When you want to smoke. Do: Look for a smoking sign, or leave the premises to light up. Don't: Light a cigarette in a bathroom or corner.

When you accidentally use profanity. Do say: 'Please excuse my anger.' Don't say: 'I know I shouldn't say things like that, but … makes me so mad.'

When you're wondering when to start eating. Do: Start eating when you're invited to do so. Don't: 'Dig in' at the table before others begin their meals.

When you're wondering how to address someone you just met. Do: Repeat his or her entire name slowly and ask for the proper form of address. Don't: Use a first name unless you're in a social setting or meeting a peer.

When you're initiating a conversation. Do: Offer pleasantries, and ask how your conversation partner is feeling. Don't: Inquire about personal habits or family backgrounds.

When you're not sure how to pronounce an individuals name. Do say: 'I'm sorry, but would you pronounce your name for me again?' Don't say: 'I guess I'm going to emasculate your name.'

When you're running out of time during an appointment. Do: Offer to make an additional appointment for further questions or comments. Don't: Summarily end the meeting or anxiously look at the clock.

When you want to make a personal comment to a colleague. Do: Ask to speak to the individual privately. Don't: Raise the issue during a meeting.

When you enter a room. Do: Stand until the other individual sits down. Don't: Place you items on the individual's desk unless he invites you to do so.

When you hear a rumor. Do: Listen politely and without comment. Don't: Repeat the rumor or harangue the individual for spreading the rumor.

When a conversation partner is not paying attention to you. Do: Offer a 'mini-pause' of a few seconds, followed by a warm nod of the head or a smile. Don't: Stop the conversation entirely or bring public attention to the individual's behavior.

When you're trying to decide how to dress. Do: Dress in approximately the same style as you expect the individual you are meeting to dress. Don't: Dress casually.

When you walk into someone's office during inclement weather. Do: Place your boots in the designated spot, or leave them outside. Don't: Wear boots into the reception area.

When you're visiting someone and you must pass a reception desk. Do: Ask permission to go ahead, even if you know the direction to the individual's location. Don't: Walk by the receptionist without acknowledging her.

When you take your coat off in someone's office. Do: Ask where coats should be hung, even if you notice a hook on the wall. Don't: Drape it over the back of your chair. · When a visitor takes his or her coat off. Do: Help him with it. Don't: Invite him to put it 'anywhere.'

When offering material or handouts during a one-to-one meeting. Do: Indicate what you want the individual to do with them, review them, put them aside, or look at a particular page. Don't: Give another individual handout without an explanation.

When you're at a business lunch. Do: Follow the pace of the other individuals at your table in determining how fast to eat and what to eat. Don't: Eat or drink at a faster rate than others.

When dealing with a service representative. Do: State your problem clearly, with a sincere request for help. Don't: Give precise directions to the service rep, or demand that he or she complete the task in a certain way.

A final word: pay attention to your surroundings and the people you meet, and the 'right thing to do' will often become apparent. When in doubt, imagine the actions of courteous, accommodating people you know. And ask yourself: how would they act in your situation?


A Hidden Business Tool

In today's frantic world, silence is not often perceived as a communication of business tool. Yet, the strategic use of silence - ranging from five-second pauses in a conversation to extended periods of quiet - can result in tremendous benefits to those who practice it.

Here are twenty ways you may be able to use silence for your and others' benefit. Ponder the list, pick a few suggestions that may work well for you, and resolve to practice the powerful art of silence on those many occasions when you have the opportunity to do so.

Inspire yourself. During periods of silence, the mind has a way of retreating to gentle thoughts and core values - great destinations when you're worried or wondering about something.

Build productivity. Quiet time is perfect for focusing on important, detail-oriented tasks. Want a subordinate or colleague to work on a project for you? You'll get it done faster if you arrange for the individual to work in a silent place.

Reduce stress. Tough morning? Too much tension around you? Retreat to a corner and remain still and silent for a few minutes. You'll bring on powerful physiological changes in your body that can help calm you and prepare you for the balance of the day.

Raise your stature. Cultivating the art of graceful silence is one of the characteristics of successful people. Next time you hear a distorted comment, angry retort, or biased question thrown at you, remain silent for a short time. Others will respect you for your thoughtfulness.

Emphasize the seriousness of an action. When it comes time to describe a vital initiative, or to speak with a subordinate or colleague about something she's done wrong, let silence play a part in your comments. After you say what you must say, let your words hang in the air for ten seconds or so. Your listeners won't forget them.

Get your prospect talking. When you're in the midst of a sales call, resist the temptation to present every facet of your product or service. Instead, pause at key junctures, without question or comment…and listen to the often-revealing thoughts of the prospect.

Raise the esteem of others. Many people are afraid to speak up during meetings. When you sense fear on the part of a person near you, ask a general question, something that calls for a thoughtful response…and then wait. Yes, the individual might be uncomfortable at first, but by stepping back and giving him center stage for a few moments, you'll give him the opportunity to build self-confidence.

Analyze your own thinking. Use quiet time to better understand your own reactions to proposals and ideas. And use this all-important time to understand your own motives for thinking the way you do.

Create atmosphere. Silence, perhaps punctuated by gentle music, helps create a warm, inviting atmosphere - perfect for an employee retreat or a meeting requiring focus.

Generate ideas. While brainstorming is often a frenzied activity, great brainstorming is frequently preceded by moments of calm silence, time for participants to gather their thoughts and energy for what follows.

Stimulate discussion. Running a meeting? It's easy for you to dominate the discussion. But instead of going this route, pose a few problems to the group and resolve to remain silent while the group grapples with them. You may be amazed at what comes out of the discussion.

Solve problems. Next time you're faced with a thorny problem, retreat to a quiet corner. Don't try to force a solution. Just play with the problem in your mind, and let your latent experience and skills forge a solution.

Ponder important questions. Has a co-worker or customer asked you an especially thought-provoking question? Have you read or heard something that intrigues you? The next step: a period of silence, time to reflect on the implications of the question, as well as your next step.

Ease conflict. Parents use silent 'time-outs' to ease friction in the home. Leaders in the workplace can use periods of silence to cool conflicts and set the stage for productive discussion of problems.

Visualize. Rarely can you achieve breakthrough objectives while you're in the midst of loud or frantic activity. Instead, use quiet time to 'walk through' difficult problems or imagine how you'll achieve important initiatives.

Emphasize a point. When you want others to remember an important pronouncement, nothing does it better than a short period of silence.

Gain energy. If you're feeling tired or anxious, a few moments of silence can help restore equilibrium and clear the mind.

Concentrate. Wise group leaders often call for a moment of silence while discussing complex issues. The quiet time helps group members collect themselves and focus their attention on the thorny problems at hand.

Give yourself strength. When you're about to enter a difficult meeting or engage in a troublesome task, a quiet period helps you marshal your strength and feel a sense of poise as you prepare for the task at hand.

Learn. When you remain silent and listen intently to the random chatter that fills your day, you have a powerful opportunity to learn. Listen for gossip, ideas, and a wide range of commentary about the people and the world around you. The result: greater knowledge and wisdom that you can readily put to work.

Questions and answers

Question: How much perfume or cologne is appropriate to wear at the workplace?

Answer: Perfume, cologne or aftershave should be applied sparingly, evoking a subtle scent.

Strong fragrances, as well as, inexpensive fragrances are often offensive to business associates and therefore inappropriate in a professional venue.

Question: What is the proper time to arrive for an appointment?

Answer: What is the proper time to arrive for an appointment? Always arrive on time for an appointment.---Never arrive late. ---Arrive no more than five minutes early.

Question: Can I exchange business cards while dining?

Answer: Business cards should never be exchanged while dining. This is true at even the most informal dining situations.

Question: How should I exchange gifts with my fellow coworkers at the office during the holiday season?

First, always observe the company's specific gift giving policy. Second, employees should be discreet when exchanging gifts with one another. Gifts should be exchanged away from other coworkers, so not to offend employees not receiving any gifts.

Question: How do I get more privacy in my 'cubicle' at work without being rude to my coworkers?

If you are a cubicle worker, who is constantly 'challenged' by a lack of privacy at your workplace, propose to management that a 'Cubicle Workers Code of Ethics' be established for workers of a common area.

Your manners are always under examination, and by committees little suspected, awarding or denying you very high prizes when you least think it.

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Jacqueline Whitmore is the founder and director of The Protocol School of Palm Beach™. She served six years as the protocol officer and assistant director of public relations for The Breakers - a five-star, luxury resort in Palm Beach, Florida. She has held management positions with Sea World of Florida, the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel, and Northwest Airlines.

The Protocol School of Palm Beach™ is Florida’s leading etiquette and protocol company. Seminars are customized to help you enhance your self-confidence, heighten your communication skills, outshine your competition and increase your bottom line. Our goal is to entertain, educate, motivate and meet the needs of today’s business leaders.

Ms. Whitmore is a frequent contributor to numerous trade and business publications and is the editor-in-chief of The Protocol Post - an electronic newsletter for savvy executives. She was recently awarded “Business Associate of the Year” by the American Business Women’s Association of North Palm Beach and is a founding member of Palm Beach County’s Civility Committee.

Whether you are doing business on the telephone, by e-mail, at lunch or during a conference, you project an image that reflects your entire corporation, and the wrong image and attitude can be costly. Technical skills and knowledge account for 15 percent of the reason you get a job, keep a job and advance in a job. 85 percent of your job success is based on your “soft skills” or people skills according to research conducted by Harvard University, The Carnegie Foundation, and The Stanford Research Institute.

Ms. Whitmore has a Bachelor of Science degree in telecommunication from The University of Florida. Furthermore, she is a graduate and associate of The Protocol School of Washington® where she teaches public relations, marketing and business etiquette to the consultants. A member of the National Speaker’s Association, she is devoted to combating incivility in society while promoting courtesy, respect and integrity. In highly competitive markets where many companies offer similar services and products at similar costs, how you treat your customers may be as important to your company's success as the quality or price of your product. When you possess good manners, it puts your clients and customers at ease, increases customer satisfaction, and positively affects your company's bottom line.

Business Etiquette Seminars and Workshops

TECHNO-ETIQUETTE FOR TODAY How To Communicate Effectively In The Digital Age Technology can be a blessing and a curse. In some ways, it speeds up the communication process, but in other ways, it slows it down. We are inundated with so many communication tools – fax, electronic mail, teleconferencing, postal mail, interoffice mail, voice mail, and others – that oftentimes we sacrifice face-to-face interaction for expediency. This lack of 'connectedness' can cause communication breakdowns and produce stress. This informative seminar addresses the caveats associated with modern technology and offers solutions to help executives communicate more effectively and eliminate some of the most common, yet costly, mistakes.

Jacqueline Whitmore offers on-site training seminars to corporations, colleges and universities, restaurants, associations and non-profit organizations. Seminars may be conducted in-house or in the venue of your choice and may be customized to meet your specific needs. The following is a list of her most popular programs:

GOING GLOBAL How To Become A World-Class Competitor In The International Arena In order to establish a relationship that will foster goodwill, knowledge of international protocol is indispensable in today's global economy. Going Global is an interactive discussion of cultural traditions, expectations, and needs of international executives coupled with an array of practical tips on cross-cultural communication.

OUTCLASS THE COMPETITION How To Be A Star Performer In The Business Arena Competition in the business arena is fierce and companies are now looking for persons who can handle themselves at a trade show as well as in a business meeting or at the computer. Participants learn to 'outclass the competition' with protocol intelligence — the ultimate business tool.

FINESSING THE BUSINESS MEAL How To Feel Comfortable in Any Dining Situation A business meeting is oftentimes conducted over a meal and many men and women find themselves grappling with the decision of which fork or knife to use instead of concentrating on the business at hand. Gain the assurance and self-confidence needed to conduct business over an elaborate meal during this comprehensive dining seminar.

THE ART OF WORKING A ROOM How To Improve Your Mingle-Ability A majority of executives break into a sweat thinking about meeting and making conversation with new acquaintances. According to the Shyness Research Institute, 88 percent of men and women feel shy at some point. The study goes on to show that nothing is more frightening to shy people than chitchat with a stranger. Companies are looking for persons who can network effectively and adapt to a variety of social and business situations. Learn the art of schmoozing and gain the self-confidence needed to work a room with ease.

The meaning of words in blue is explained at the end of the passage. Al final del pasaje se detalla el significado de las palabras resaltadas en azul.

You may have the business qualifications. You have an excellent record of good education and work experience. However, without good business manners you will not succeed. Treating people with respect should be second nature to you. It helps to get on well with the people you work with and with your superiors. It always pays to be polite. Here are some tips to help your business manners.

If you are behind schedule Remember to take the time to contact your next appointment so that the person you are due to meet is aware of the delay. If necessary, you can rearrange the meeting for a more convenient time.

2. Return phone calls. Try not to leave any caller on hold for too long. It is better to tell someone you will call back when you are free. Be sure to return calls as soon as you can. If you cannot return the call immediately, apologise to the caller for the delay.

3. Keep paperwork under control. Try to respond to letters within a set time. Keep a record of requests for reply within a certain time. Make a note in your diary of other deadlines for your work. If you are unable to respond quickly, write a short letter to the other person explaining the delay and tell them when you will reply.

4. Lunch appointments. If you want to take a client or customer out for lunch, a good rule of thumb is for you to choose the restaurant and for the client or customer to choose the time.

5. Avoid too much chat. Although it is good to be friendly, do not spend too much time chatting to colleagues. You have work to do. If a colleague is distracting you, be polite and say you have some work to do. Ask if you can carry on the conversation after office hours.

6. Salary. You may think that you are not being paid as much as you should be. Do not discuss your suspicions with your colleagues. A good way of finding out is to contact an employment agency to find out the 'going rate'. Armed with this objective information, you can discuss your salary with your boss.

Glossary respond (v): reply deadline (n): the day or time that something must be completed by rule of thumb (coll): a general guide Source: New English Digest










n WIMPY HANDSHAKES ARE NO NONES. GRAD YOU HANDSHAKE HIGH AROUND THE THUMBS, AND SHAKE IN KIND. And women get your hand out there. Handshakes are expected in business life. So learn how to shake hands well..

Incorrect eye contact

n In the U.S looking people in the eye means that you have nothing to hide, that you are listening and that you are interested.. However in other cultures eye contact is considered confrontational and disrespectful.


n START AND END IN TIME. Distribute agendas ahead of time so that people can prepare ahead of time.

Poor or inappropriate appearance

n To business executives, appearance is important. It is not the only measure of a person but it gives visual interest to doing business, and indicates your knowledge of , and respect for, the rules of the game. Invest in quality clothing.

Forgetting names

n This is the most common blunder among people in the business community. One positive suggestion to remember some ones name is to repeat it as soon as you hear it.. However don`t overuse the persons name. Make sure to introduce yourself and the people around you. Help out someone who is struggling to remember your name.

Business Protocol in JapanBusiness Protocol in Japan

Business manners in Japan

In Japan, there are ranks for seats such as 'kamiza' - the best seat - or 'shimoza' - the most humble seat. We have protocol that those with high standing take 'kamiza' - the farthest seat from a doorway that is the best seat, and those with lower standing take 'shimoza' - the nearest seat from a doorway that is the most humble seat. Though in-house seating arrangements follow one's title, it is polite to offer visitors 'kamiza' - the best seats - regardless of their titles. However, when one visits as a guest and is not offered the best seat, one takes the most humble seat. There is also a seating order in cars. A highest-ranking person takes a seat behind a driver. Next to him or her, a middle-ranking person takes a seat. A lowest-ranking person takes a seat next to the driver.

Bibliography: The Japan Times, 'Today's Japan Introduced in English' Sanseido Co., Ltd., 'Daijirin - Second Edition' Kyorin Shobo, 'Business Manners A to Z' Nihon Hyoronsha, 'The Art of Negotiation with Foreigners' 'Dictionary of Historical Events and Proverbs'

Silence is golden and eloquence is silvery


Trouble at work caused a misunderstanding and a relationship with my colleague was damaged. I defended myself very hard to restore the relationship but the misunderstanding deepened further.

Comments and advice:

There is a saying, 'Silence is golden and eloquence is silvery.' It means that silence is superior to eloquence. Even though one has good reasons, there are occasions when it is advantageous not to speak eloquently but ask for their understanding without saying anything depending on the situation.    Bibliography: The Japan Times, 'Today's Japan Introduced in English' Sanseido Co., Ltd., 'Daijirin - Second Edition' Kyorin Shobo, 'Business Manners A to Z' Nihon Hyoronsha, 'The Art of Negotiation with Foreigners' 'Dictionary of Historical Events and Proverbs'

How to get along with one's boss

My boss pointed out a mistake at work. I gave my boss an explanation calmly that the mistake was not mine but my subordinate's. Then, my boss scolded me, 'I don't want to hear such an excuse.'

Comments and advice:

Before giving an explanation, it is important to apologize first and then to express one's gratitude by saying, 'Thank you very much.' This attitude applies not only for one's boss but also for all of one's elders. Since Japan has a tradition to respect one's elders, it is important to show one's respect for their seniority even though they are only one year older. One may be invited by one's boss or elders to dinner or a drink. This is to show their appreciation and one may have smooth human relations by drinking together.

Bibliography: The Japan Times, 'Today's Japan Introduced in English' Sanseido Co., Ltd., 'Daijirin - Second Edition' Kyorin Shobo, 'Business Manners A to Z' Nihon Hyoronsha, 'The Art of Negotiation with Foreigners' 'Dictionary of Historical Events and Proverbs'

'Say It Better in All That You Do'

1. Are you more likely to get along with someone when you are

a. 'sidling', standing side by side with them, or
b. when you are facing them?

2. Which sex tends to face stand side by side when they are speaking to someone of the same sex?

a. female
b. male

3. How can you increase the chances of knowing if someone is lying, when you are facing them?

a. by noticing if their facial expression seems off or somehow not right.
b. by noticing if the timing or duration of their experience (that is when they put on and take off the facial expression they use when speaking about the possible lie).
c. by noticing if the timing or duration of their expression seems off; that is if they appear to put an expression on too soon or too late.

4. If you want to hold someone's attention longer, should you wear a.

a. patterned, or
b. unpatterned clothing on the upper part of your body

5. Which of the five senses evokes the most directly emotional response?

a. sight.

b. scent.
c. sound.
d. touch.
e. taste.

6. Which sex has a better sense of smell?

a. female.
b. male.

7. If you want to increase the chances that people will remember what you say, should you:

a. sit with them or
b. walk with them?

8. Are people more likely to remember a written or spoken

a. specific detail, or
b. sweeping conclusion.

9. Americans are much more likely to write and speak in

a. specific details, or
b. sweeping conclusions.

10. People are far more revealing in the

a. questions they ask.
b. answers they give.

11. People are more emotional when they are

a. moving.
b. still.

12. Once someone has talked about something, he is

a. more likely to have a deeper opinion about it.
b. less likely to have a deeper opinion about it or have no change in feeling.

13. When someone becomes fearful or aroused . . . his eye pupils

a. constrict.
b. dilate.

14. When someone becomes fearful or aroused his skin temperature goes

a. up.
b. down.

15. When someone becomes fearful or aroused his peripheral vision

a. widens.
b. narrows.

16. When someone becomes fearful or aroused his heartbeat

a. increases.
b. decreases.

17. Those who are perceived as powerful and credible when other first meet them are more likely to begin the interaction by . . .

a. speak up initially.
b. say little initially.

18. Those who are perceived as powerful and credible when other first meet them are more likely to begin the interaction

a. with some expansive hand or arm gestures.
b. with few or no hand or arm gestures.

19. Those who are perceived as powerful and credible when other first meet them are more likely to begin the interaction by speaking

a. sooner, quicker and higher at first
b. lower, slower and less at first

20. People instinctively react sooner and more strongly to other's actions that appear to them to be

a. positive
b. negative.

Answers - 'Say It Better in All That You Do'

1. You are more likely to get along with someone when you are

b. when you are facing them.

2. Which sex tends to face stand side by side when they are speaking to someone of the same sex?

b. male

3. You increase the chances of knowing if someone is lying, when you are facing them

b. by noticing if the timing or duration of their experience (that is when they put on and take off the facial expression they use when speaking about the possible lie).

4. If you want to hold someone's attention longer, you should wear an.

b. unpatterned clothing on the upperpart of your body

5. Which of the five senses evokes the most directly emotional response?

b. scent

6. Which sex has a better sense of smell?

a. female

7. If you want to increase the chances that people will remember what you say, you should

b. walk with them

8. People are more likely to remember a written or spoken

a. specific detail

9. Americans are much more likely to write and speak in

b. sweeping conclusions

10. People are far more revealing in the

a. questions they ask (than the answers they give)

11. People are more emotional when they are

a. moving

12. Once someone has talked about something, they are

a. more likely to have a deeper opinion about it

13. When someone becomes fearful or aroused . . . their eye pupils

b. dialate.

14. When someone becomes fearful or aroused their skin temperature goes

a. up .

15. When someone becomes fearful or aroused their peripheral vision

b. narrows.

16. When someone becomes fearful or aroused their heartbeat

a. increases.

17. Those who are perceived as powerful and credible, when others first meet them are more likely to begin the interaction by . . .

b. saying little intially

18. Those who are perceived as powerful and credible when others first meet them are more likely to begin the interaction

b. with few or no hand or arm gestures.

19. Those who are perceived as powerful and credible when others first meet them are more likely to begin the interaction by speaking

b. lower, slower and less at first.

20. People instinctively react sooner and more strongly to other's actions that appear to them to be

b. negative.

Failing to observe good etiquette is bad manners, bad for business

Elizabeth Fountain

Since Confucius wrote the first rules of decorum, etiquette has been questioned, changed and argued as to its importance. Some argue the need for it, others want to know where to learn it and then there are people who ask why something is appropriate in one country and deemed totally unacceptable behavior in another part of the world. Finally, there are the little truisms that all gentlemen were taught by their mothers, such as ladies first. In today's business arena, the 'ladies first' rule could actually provoke a few women to incivility.

Knowing etiquette is becoming more important because these rules help guide us through a variety of situations in our ever-shrinking and changing world. All of us can attest to situations in which, if we had known what do, it could have saved us embarrassment or even a job.

A favorite story is a dinner in Charleston, S.C., where the saleswoman invited her very sophisticated client and his wife to dinner to celebrate the signing of a large construction contract. The owner of the Kansas City construction company insisted on going to the dinner with the saleswoman.

The saleswoman watched her commission dissipate while her boss picked his teeth with fish bones and impressed the party by using a commonly used expletive as five different parts of speech. Instead of using his dinner napkin to wipe his mouth, the boss wiped out the deal when he used it to blow his nose.

The following day the contract was rescinded.

The boss was so intimidated by the refined people that he compensated for his lack of sophistication with a laissez faire attitude. In consequence, he ruined a lucrative deal, tarnished the image of his company and threw away the saleswoman's hard-earned commission.

Had he possessed some etiquette skills, all of this could have been avoided and everyone could have enjoyed a delightful evening, strengthening a business relationship.

Possessing good etiquette is also knowing when to put on the Ritz and when to do the Motel 6. There are situations where formalities would be totally out of place and viewed as ostentatious because the occasion calls for more casual behavior. Good examples of this are wearing a fur coat to do your grocery shopping of having your wife wear her jewels to a company picnic.

Snobbism is also bad etiquette. A group of people took a new associate to lunch. The newcomer felt compelled to do some one-upmanship that backfired. When it was his turn to order, he asked the server if the sole on the menu was Dover Sole. Even though the server was extremely busy as the restaurant was packed with diners, he insisted that the server find out because he only eats Dover Sole.

The fish was of the Dover persuasion, so he ordered it. After tasting his entree, he commented that it was the best Dover Sole he had ever eaten.

No sooner had he made his claim than the woman sitting across from him told the server that she had ordered chicken and not the fish dish that was sitting in front of her. As it turned out, Mr. Sophisticated Palette was eating chicken.

Another major faux pas is to pretend that you are someone you are not or to lead people to believe certain things. A woman would describe her father's profession to potential suitors as if he were an executive at Farmland Industries when, in actuality, he was a pig farmer in Southern Missouri. Another woman would tell social acquaintances that her father, a milkman, was in the creamery business.

Then there are those situations where a person's lack of sophistication is brought to his or her attention in a humiliating way, also an etiquette taboo.

Several people went to lunch at the elegant Garden Room at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colo. Upon arrival, they realized that the hotel only accepted cash or the Broadmoor credit card. None of them had a Broadmoor credit card, so after a quick tabulation, they were comfortable with the fact that they had more than enough cash among them to pay for the lunch.

When the server asked for the drink order, one of the party, who comes from a very humble background, asked how much a glass of house wine cost. The server gingerly answered the question and quickly walked away from the table. The rest of the party's embarrassment was heightened when the maitre d'hotel approached them and asked if they had enough money to pay for lunch.

Incivility, rudeness and lack of etiquette are common occurrences in our daily lives. Television, radio, newspapers and magazines are filled with stories about dishonorable people. However, in this column you will be able to share your positive experiences regarding random acts of kindness, generosity and the infectiousness of common courtesies. You will have the opportunity to create maybe a moment of fame for those who truly deserve it.

For some readers, this column simply might have stimulated some food for thought or even sparked controversy, which you would like to share. You might have some etiquette questions that you would like to have answered or perhaps there are some bones of contention that you will be able to settle once and for all. You are encouraged and invited to write us with whatever your pleasure might be.

Elizabeth Fountain is owner of The Elizabeth Fountain Co., an Overland Park company that provides consulting and training in the areas of business protocol and social etiquette.

Interview Preparation

Below are questions you may be asked in the interview

Tell me about yourself? (try to hold your response to 2 minutes)

What do you know about our company?

Why should we hire you?

What can you do for us that someone else can't?

What do you look for in a job?

What skills and qualifications are essential for success in the position of ______?

How long would it take for you to make a meaningful contribution?

How does this assignment fit into your overall career plan?

Describe your management style.

What do you believe is the most difficult part of being a supervisor of people?

Why are you looking for a new career?

How would your colleagues describe you?

How would your boss describe you?

How would you describe yourself?

What do you think of your present or past boss?

What were the five most significant accomplishments in your last assignment?

What were the five most significant accomplishments in your career so far?

Can you work well under deadlines or pressure?

How much do you expect if we offer you this position?

Why do you want to work for us?

What other positions are you considering?

Have you kept up in your field with additional training?

What are your career goals?

What are your strong points?

What are your weak points?

How did you do in school?

What position do you expect to have in 2 to 5 years?

If you took the job what would you accomplish in the first year?

What was wrong with your current or last position?

What kind of hours are you used to working or would like to work?

Do you have your reference list with you?(Remember don't give it out unless it is asked for).

Can you explain your salary history?

What questions didn't I ask that you expected?

Do you have any question for me?

Netiquette: minding your manners online

Netiquette is the set of conventions or the etiquette of communicating with other users over computer networks. It might sound like a simple thing to do, but there are quite a few caveats associated with communication on networks, especially the Internet.

Some of the general guidelines to keep in mind when communicating on-line are:

Remember that you are are communicating with other people. Tone and gestures are not included in text--make yourself clear

Be concise

Make sure messages are relevant

Abide by University policies governing the use of your account

These guidelines apply to all net communication including, but not limited to, private e-mail, mailing lists, and USENET newsgroups.

Communicating with other people

On the Internet it's easy to forget that the person on the other end is human, too. Since communication is not face-to-face you don't have the benefit of facial expressions, gestures, and intonation that normally give additional meaning to a conversation. Without nonverbal cues, you have to take more care in what you are saying so that it's not misconstrued and also be more careful in interpreting other people's words. Facetiousness, satire, and subtlety are often lost or confused with anger or some other emotion.

Several conventions are used for showing intent or mood when writing electronic messages. First, to indicate to others that you are not serious, you can use one of the following:

:-) smiley face

<grin> <smile> words in brackets

;-) other variations on the smiley face (this is a wink)

You can add emphasis to your message by using underscores (such as in _last_week_) or asterisks (*finally*). These conventions can help recipients figure out where emphasis should be placed.

Another way of showing emphasis is to type a word in all capital letters. This convention should be used very sparingly. TYPING IN ALL CAPITALS IS USUALLY INTERPRETED AS SCREAMING OR SHOUTING ON THE INTERNET AND ALSO MAKES MESSAGES HARD TO READ. Never post your entire message in all capitals! You will, at best, get many messages (flames) chastising you for doing so.

Be concise

All messages should be as short and concise as possible. Long messages are often considered too troublesome to read. If your message is more than a few lines long, divide your text into paragraph-sized 'chunks' so it is easier to read.

When replying to someone, another basic guideline for making your message more understandable is to quote parts of the original message . It is neither necessary nor good manners to include the entire message when including the original message. Make it standard practice to include only those parts relevant to your reply. If you are posting a public reply (either to a group, listserv, or newsgroup) always retain the original author's name. Issues of libel and copyright are involved here, and people appreciate getting credit for their words. If you are not sure who the original author was, say so.

Keep messages relevant

Make sure all messages you post (on USENET or on listserv discussion groups) are relevant to the newsgroup's subject. For example, you probably wouldn't post a message about women's rights to a group that is devoted to football. Also avoid posting advertisements to a large number of groups at once. Users of the Internet are rarely interested in what you have to sell when they are reading a group called alt.humor.puns.

Abide by University policies

Remember that laws governing US postal mail also apply to e-mail. Using e-mail or other net resources to harass others is forbidden. Harassment on the net will be dealt with severely. Harassment includes, but it is not limited to, threatening or slandering another person, repeatedly sending unwelcome messages to another person, and sending chain letters.

You should also:

Never use someone else's files without their permission

Use only the account and equipment for which you are authorized

Do not copy copyright-protected material, articles or software

Developing Business Etiquette

What Recent Grads Should Know on the Job:

Competition: Be the Best

¨ You are in competition with other grads and employees to get your next promotion.

Honesty and Integrity

¨ Companies expect a higher degree of honesty than what was expected in school.

Work Hours

¨ Be expected to work long hours your first year because you really have two jobs: 1) being productive on your job and 2) learning about your company, products, and people.


¨ Avoid absenteeism.


¨ Be on time or early on deadlines. Be five minutes early for meetings. This will allow you to have time to get to know people.


¨ Management sees neatness as organized and precise. Appear to be neat.


¨ Volunteer for special projects. Too much work? Ask your supervisor for priorities. Too little work? Ask for more. NEVER over-promise.

Breaks and Lunch Opportunities

¨ Use breaks and lunch to meet and get to know others. Learn your company’s customs.

Perception is Reality

¨ Never underestimate others’ opinions of you. Their opinions can be just as important as your accomplishments.

Getting your Money’s Worth

¨ Make sure your company is getting their money’s worth from you!

Understanding Organizational Charts

Understand the value of an organizational chart in learning employees’ roles, their jobs, authority, and reporting relationships. If you have the knowledge of both formal and informal organizations you will be better able to make predictions and achieve your goals.


¨ Learn to work with various teams

¨ Meet your deadlines when working on teams

¨ Learn your role in decision making in teams

Communication Skills

Use your verbal skills in influencing others. When using written communication skills, be aware of:

1. Clarity and Brevity: Short and concise

2. Least Formal Rule: Verbal before written, note before memo, memo before letter, etc.

3. Cool Down Rule: Hold overnight any words written in anger

Making Mistakes Positive: Use six steps to show excellence

1. Establish preventative procedures

2. Analyze mistakes, prepare solutions

3. Admit and recommend a solution

4. Maximize effort to correct mistakes

5. Change preventative procedures

6. Communicate to management

Developing a Business Image

¨ The best professional image is one that is professional and fitting for your company, location, and responsibilities. The goal is to fit in.

Keeping your Personal Life Personal

¨ Control your spending

¨ Avoid the swinging singles stereotypes

¨ Find out your company’s acceptable standards

Dinner Etiquette

Did you know that…

¨ Dessert utensils are placed above your dinner plate?

¨ You should use no more than two packs of sugar/sweetener in your tea? It may be seen as excessive.

¨ Condiments are passed to the right, and food is passed to the left?

¨ You always pass the salt and pepper together, even if someone only asks for salt?

¨ You always wait for everyone to be served before you begin eating?

¨ As soon as everyone is seated, you unfold your napkin and place it across your lap? If you need to leave the table, place your napkin on your chair, not on the table!

¨ Sitting with your legs crossed at the table is a no-no? Feet should be flat on the floor or crossed at the ankle.

Six Tips on Gender Relations in the Business Arena

Business etiquette is based on hierarchy and power unlike social etiquette which is based on gender and chivalry. No-one should be given special treatment in the business arena because of gender. Everyone should be treated equally well.

The most important person in the hierarchy of any company is the client.

Persons of lesser importance are introduced to persons of greater importance, regardless of gender. The name of the most important person is said first.

Doors are held for persons more senior in rank, regardless of gender. Whoever gets to the door first, and it should be low person on the totem pole, holds a door for the others following. If it is a revolving door, low person goes first to get the door moving, then waits on the other side.

Whoever is closest to the elevator doors exits first.

At business functions neither men nor women are helped with their chairs unless they need it.

Both men and women should be helped with their coats IF they are clients or more senior in rank.

Tips for Smokers

Smoking is not only hazardous to your health, it can be hazardous to your career.

Smoking is now considered a sign of weakness rather than a sign of sophistication. In fact, smoking now has strong ethnic and class associations.

Never light up if you don’t see an ashtray.

Because of possible legal repercussions to you or to the establishment, never smoke in an ‘no-smoking’ establishment.

Never ask, 'May I smoke?' even if you see an ashtray and your host is not smoking.

Always ask your visitors if they mind you smoking.

When you do smoke, always keep an eye on the direction of your smoke and make sure it is not blowing into someone else’s face.

Be neat; never litter with your ashes or your cigarette butts.

If smoking is allowed in restaurants in your area, always ask your guest beforehand if smoking or non-smoking seating is preferred.

Never smoke in between courses while dining. Wait until coffee is served at the end of the meal.

Never smoke while others are still eating.

Never smoke a cigar or a pipe in a restaurant unless it is a ‘cigar-smoking’ establishment.

Never smoke a cigar or a pipe in someone else’s home unless the host invites you to join him in a cigar, preferably in a well-ventilated area.

In a smoking environment, it is polite to offer others a cigarette if you light up.

If a non-smoker tells you your cigarette is an irritant, be considerate and move elsewhere or extinguish the cigarette; your smoke is invading their space.

6 Tips for a Good Handshake

Handshakes are the only acceptable physical contact for men & women in the business arena.

Handshakes are the universally accepted business greeting. Hugs & kisses are taboo in the business arena.

You are judged by the quality of the handshake.

A good handshake:

keep the fingers together with the thumb up and open

slide your hand into the other person's so that each person's web of skin between thumb and forefingers touches the other's

squeeze firmly.

A proper handshake:

is firm, but not bone-crushing

lasts about 3 seconds

may be 'pumped' once or twice from the elbow

is released after the shake, even if the introduction continues

includes good eye contact with the other person

Extend a hand when:

meeting someone for the first time

meeting someone you haven't seen for a while

greeting your host(ess)

greeting guests

saying good-bye to people at a gathering

someone else extends a hand

Handshaking Tips:

if your hands tend to be clammy, spray them with antiperspirant at least once a day.

avoid giving a cold, wet handshake by keeping your drink in the left hand.

F*I*R*S*T *G*E*T *G*O*O*D

'It is not to culture that one must adapt, but to culture as manifest and encountered in the behavior of individual foreigners.' - Craig Storti

Meetings, conventions and trade shows account for almost half of all business travel according to a Survey of Business Travelers by the U.S. Travel Data Center. With the globalization of business opportunities, these meetings increasingly are held abroad. But, the moment you or your attendees board an international flight, the rules of the game change. What flies in Peoria won't get you where you want to go in Paris, Prague or Pago-Pago. There is a great deal of truth to that old adage, 'When in Rome'.

To interact successfully with associates in another country, it's helpful to adjust to the communication style of the other person's culture. It can take months or years to feel completely comfortable and conversant in that culture, but it's possible with just a little research to find the basic information that will eradicate the major faux pas and grievances. FIRST GET GOOD is a simple anagram of the eight aspects of international etiquette and the four guiding principles of international interactions to help you prepare for an international business trip.

Forming Relationships: Only in the Germanic countries will the people be as eager to get down to business as in the United States of America. Almost anywhere else in the world, but especially in Asian and Latin countries, it's important to first get to know the person with whom you're dealing to build a bond of trust. Three F's of business in Asian cultures are family, friends and favors. If you're not part of an extended Asian family or if you don't have close Asian chums from your school days, find the time to develop a friendship with a well connected intermediary. Relationships, once formed, are long lasting bonds of loyalty that must be respected.

Information and Communication: If you have no idea how someone from another culture communicates either verbally or non-verbally, you can't possibly negotiate effectively. All Asian cultures put a great deal of emphasis on the concept of face. In order to save face, theirs or yours, you will seldom get a direct answer, especially if it's 'no'. You will hear 'yes' a great deal, but that doesn't signify agreement, only acknowledgement. In the homogenous Japanese culture, emphasis is placed on non-verbal communication, 'speaking from the belly', to understand someone. However, it's difficult to heed non-verbal clues when you're uncomfortable with silence.

When you do speak, your style may be the staccato of a tabloid headline, while the other person's may be that of a flowery, turgid historical romance. Even if the pace and style are in sync, the amount of information conveyed in the choice of words might be totally at odds. Americans are very direct in their speech and don't beat around the bush with implied meanings and innuendos. As a result, Latins often consider us uncultured and lacking in refinement.

Nowhere is this more evident than in our ability to toot our own horns. In group-oriented cultures such as the Japanese, 'the protruding nail gets hammered down' according to an old saying. Not only is self-effacement practiced, singling someone out with a compliment can be considered very offensive!

Pay heed to your volume, vocal quality, tone of voice and posture because they indicate good breeding. Learn to listen and remember that, when in doubt, modesty is the best policy.

Rank and Status: One of the first indicators of rank and status in any culture is appearance. In most societies, people dress to maintain their public image and their status rather than to be comfortable or to follow the dictates of fashion. Your dress signals your self-respect, your respect for the organization you represent and, most important, respect for the person with whom you are negotiating. When in doubt err on the side of conservatism and formality.

Err, too, on the side of age and the masculine gender when in doubt about the rank within a group. But, don't make the mistake of snubbing the younger members. In the group oriented cultures of Asia, and especially Japan, decision making is by consensus from the bottom up. In the Latin group oriented cultures, decision making is usually a very steep top down process.

Greetings and introductions are a clear indicator of status, even in our culture when executed properly. Who acknowledges whom, how deeply one bows, and how long speaks volumes. If you haven't mastered the intricacies, stick to the handshake, but don't expect to get the solid American type. It's gauche in France to pump more than once from the elbow. Remember, too, to have plenty of bilingual business cards on hand wherever you go.

One of the most confusing aspects of meeting people with foreign names is not knowing which is which. Learn which cultures place the surname first so you won't be addressing someone with the Chinese equivalent of 'Mr. Bob'. Never call someone by the first name unless you are specifically asked to do so; virtually nowhere else are people as informal in the manner of address as in the United States. Don't forget the honorifics or titles that go with the name. They are usually a point of pride. In Germany you might use a whole string of titles to address someone, and in Italy it's an honor to be addressed by your profession.

Space: Space is one of those seemingly inconsequential aspects of human interaction that can have major consequences elsewhere. The American personal bubble of space is much greater than that of an Arab or a Russian, but much smaller than that of a Briton. Infringing upon another's personal space or inadvertently backing away when they enter your bubble can send unintended negative messages. Touching someone - a hand on the forearm, an arm around the shoulder, a pat on the back - is one of the easiest ways to violate personal space. When touch crosses gender lines, the consequences can be dire! Keep your hands to yourself.

Space in the business environment can also impact upon negotiations. Many Europeans don't understand the American need for ample space, and all aspects of the space booked for an event should be clearly spelled out, never overlooking any needed storage facilities. More important, the way offices are set up in other countries affects information flow. A great many more people than you can imagine may be privy to your business.

Time: Differing attitudes toward time are the major source of annoyance in international interactions, yet few people give it much thought. How far in advance appointments and bookings must be scheduled, and to what extent punctuality is stressed or ignored are all important considerations to remaining in control during negotiations. It can be totally unnerving when a task-oriented, linear American, who considers time a commodity to be managed, is confronted with a relationship-oriented Arab, Asian, or Latin, who considers time as flowing and flexible, beyond human control, and to be accepted whatever happens and regardless of who may interrupt and how frequently the interruptions may occur. It pays to develop some flexibility to avoid angry outbursts.

Gift Giving: When going abroad, especially on business, Americans worry more about gift giving than any other aspect of international etiquette. Except in Japan, it is seldom as important as Americans think it might be. That doesn't mean you can overlook your homework. Giving too much and too often can be just as offensive. Always consider the basic questions: To whom must you give gifts, what should you give or avoid giving, when should you give it, and how should it be presented? The answers vary from culture to culture, so be prepared.

Entertaining: As a foreigner, you can expect to be entertained, often quite lavishly. If you're dealing with the Chinese, you are also expected to honor them by reciprocating before the end of your trip. In other cultures the reciprocity may not be as blatant, but may be present none the less. Find the answers to the basic questions involving who, where, when, how and how much!

While all this entertaining is going on, never forget that table manners count everywhere; yours, however, may not be theirs. Eating with chopsticks or with your hands can be the least of it. Slurping, burping and drinking from each other's glass may be just a few of the acceptable behaviors.

Entertainment is seldom complete without toasts to honor guests and host. A few well-chosen words can get you further than hours over the bargaining table, so give thought to some appropriate toasts beforehand.

Taboos and Sensitivities: Taboos and Sensitivities vary from culture to culture, sometimes without apparent rhyme or reason. It's simply necessary to learn beforehand what they are. The most common taboos and sensitivities stem from politics, religion, ethnicity, geography, gender or misunderstood humor. Jokes don't travel or translate well, so as a rule, leave home without them, and you'll be less likely to offend.

The New Golden Rule: The first guiding principle of international interactions is the new Golden Rule, 'Do unto others as they would have you do unto them.' That sounds simple, but the effect can be profound because you no longer set yourself up as the arbiter of acceptable behavior for someone from another culture.

Manners Mom Never Taught You Etiquettewhat do you think of when you hear that word? Emily Post? Miss Manners? Or confusion because the do's and don'ts of acceptable social behavior we learned as children don't mesh with today's business environment? The business world our parents knew was predominantly a homogenous, Eurocentric, male environment where everyone innately understood the code of conduct. Now, the business arena has changed. The civil rights movement. The mass entry of women into the work place in the 70's. And it continues to evolve with passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and globalization of the economy. To successfully navigate the hazardous waters of the business arena of the 90's and communicate successfully with all the diverse elements in that environment, mastering business etiquette has become an imperative. Let's examine the underlying differences between social and business etiquette and some of the social rules that need adjustment and we'll take a fresh look at some of the social rules that should have made the transition to the workplace, but seem to have slipped through the cracks.

BUSINESS VS. SOCIAL ETIQUETTE: The most important difference between business and social etiquette is that social etiquette is based on chivalry, on the concept that the little lady has to be coddled and protected, whereas business etiquette has military origins. It is based on hierarchy and power. So how does that affect behavior? First of all, gender was not an issue in the office 30 or 40 years ago, and gender has no place in business etiquette today. But, and it's a big but, women are no longer ancillary to the men. Men and women are now treated as peers. You hold the door open for a woman if you would hold it open for a man in the same situation. Doors are held open for superiors, for clients, for peers following close on your heels and for anyone who is loaded down with packages, regardless of your gender or theirs. But, if it's a revolving door, you would precede all those people into the door to get it moving, then wait on the other side. Men do not jam up elevators by trying to let the woman out first, unless of course she happens to be your CEO or your client. Whoever is closest to the elevator doors, man or woman, exits first. A woman will not be perceived as a competent professional if she acts or is treated according to chivalry. A man who treats a female client or colleague in a chivalrous manner will be perceived as condescending and create hostility. In the current economic climate, we cannot afford to offend. Those peers with disabilities must also be treated with the same respect accorded any professional. In addition, there are a few additional rules that must be learned to accommodate their physical needs, like not raising your voice to be heard by a person who is blind or putting someone's crutches out of the way and out of their reach. Employing a bit of common sense will provide you with the appropriate behavior. Otherwise, ask. People with disabilities prefer to be asked for guidance rather than deal with that embarrassed evasion from those who are discomfited by the disability. The new Golden Rule for everyone is to treat others as they themselves would like to be treated. Let's look at a few other areas where business and social etiquette differ.

INTRODUCTIONS: First, introductions. Introductions are one of the most important aspects of our daily life, but few people know how to make them properly. In the social arena, men are introduced to women. In the business arena, the person of lesser importance, regardless of gender, is introduced to the person of greater importance, regardless of gender. But, always remember that the name of the person being introduced is mentioned last, the person to whom the introduction is made is mentioned first. The rule, then, is 'Mr. or Ms. Greater Authority, I'd like to introduce Mr. or Ms. Lesser Authority.' I'll repeat that, 'Mr. or Ms. Greater Authority, Mr. or Ms. Lesser Authority.' But, who holds the highest position in any organization? The client. The client is more important than anyone in your organization, even if the client holds a lesser title than the executive in your firm.

HANDSHAKES & NAME TAGS: The accepted physical greeting to accompany introductions is the handshake. Kissing entered the business arena with women, and it has caused more confusion than any other aspect of male-female etiquette. Men and women must be treated equally in the workplace; you can't shake hands with one and kiss the other. Women should learn to greet even their good friends with a handshake if they don't want to send confusing signals. Men have an advantage in that their fathers often took them aside as boys and said, 'Son, let me teach you how to shake hands like a man.' Unfortunately, few of our mothers took the girls aside to teach us to shake hands like a woman. So, let's take a moment to learn to shake hands like a business person. Humans have webs, just like ducks. To shake hands properly, we must keep that thumb up and touch webs before wrapping the fingers around the other person's hand. Let's all stand up and try it with the person on either side. By the way, social etiquette decreed that the woman be the one to extend her hand first. You will still find the occasional matron or woman from another culture who is taken aback if the man extends his hand. In the business arena, it doesn't matter who extends the hand first, but the one who does takes control of the situation, takes matters in hand if you will. While you shook hands, did you notice the other person's name tag? While it may feel easier or look better in the mirror to place it on the left, the proper placement of the name tag is high on the right shoulder. There is a simple reason for this. When shaking hands, your eye follows the line of your arm to the other person's right side. By placing the tag on the right, it's easy to read the name while shaking hands. If the tag is on the left, you are forced to scan across the body to read the tag, an awkward and potentially insulting gesture. Why don't you make sure your name tag is on the right and let's try shaking hands again. See how much easier it becomes to read the person's name?

TELEPHONES: Businesses can no longer function without telephones. Yet few of us learned the proper way to place and answer calls. At home, we answered with 'hello'. In business, in addition to the greeting, it's necessary to identify ourself and the company or department. In other words, you would say 'Good afternoon, Etiquette International, Hilka Klinkenberg speaking.' or 'Protocol Office. This is Hilka. How may I help you?' One of the cardinal sins of answering the phone, and it happens millions of times a day, is to ask 'Who's calling?' The implication is that calls are being screened, and rudely at that. Be sure that the person answering your phone uses the correct response, 'May I tell so-and-so who's calling?' That's 'may I tell' Few of us can get our work done without occasionally having calls screened. But, to do so without insulting someone, have the person answering announce that you are unavailable, then ask for the caller's name and message. If the caller is someone you do want to speak with, the secretary can say, 'Oh, one moment. Here she is,' without even telling a white lie. The easiest way to avoid having someone ask you 'Who's calling?' and also one of the better ways to assure you'll get through to your party, is to announce yourself at the beginning of your call. 'Hello, this is Hilka Klinkenberg from Etiquette International. May I please speak to Bob Wals.' It's amazing how effective that little introduction can be. By stating your name, you send a subliminal message that you have a right to speak to the person you are trying to reach rather than arousing suspicion by being evasive about your identity. The author Fran Lebowitz said, 'As a teenager you're in the last stage of your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you.' Telephone calls are an intrusion into someone's workday. At the beginning of the call, ask if the person has a few minutes to talk to you. Forget those old bromides about making small talk and building rapport before getting to the point of your call. Know why you're calling before you ever dial, and get to the point. Wasting someone's time is rude. Surely all of you remember mom yelling at you to get off the phone when you were teenagers. Well, brevity is one lesson we should all remember from mom for polished telephone etiquette.

ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION: While the homes of the future might have all sorts of electronic gadgetry, speaker phones, cellular phones, e-mail and FAX machines were not common household gadgets when we grew up. But, they are a necessity and a frequent source of irritation in business today. Here are some ground rules for more effective use of these electronic annoyances or conveniences, depending on your point of view. Most people hate talking to someone using a speaker phone. Use it only to continue the conversation while doing something directly related to that call, and then only after you've asked for permission. If this is a frequent occurrence, you may want to invest in a headset. Then you won't have to worry when you use a speaker phone where other people are in a position to eavesdrop. Cellular phones are emergency tools ideal in regions where phones are not found on every street corner. Use them to notify someone you're running late or when you're working on a deal that could explode in your face without immediate and constant communication. Don't use them as a status symbol or as a cure for loneliness while pounding the pavement. Car phones are great if you spend more time in your car than in your office. But, don't make an issue of the fact. That means no comments about traffic to subtly let the other person know you have one, unless you're calling to explain your tardiness. Never call if you're about to enter a tunnel or underpass. E-mail is a quick, informal way to send a message as long as you retain the same boundaries of propriety you would use if dealing with the person face-to-face. If, for instance, you always address the CEO by surname in person, don't switch to the first name when sending e-mail. Also, avoid jokes and those little punctuation faces. They are unprofessional and most likely to be misconstrued. If your statement needs an explanation in parentheses like [joke] or [ha-ha], rephrase or eliminate it. And, don't send a message all in caps; it's the electronic equivalent of shouting. Never tie up someone's line or waste their paper by sending an unsolicited FAX unless it is urgent. And never, ever, send a resume by FAX unless it was requested. When you send a FAX, always include a cover letter stating the total number of pages, the date, who it is to, who it is from and your telephone and fax number in case there are problems with the transmission.

CORRESPONDENCE: Another of mom's lessons to remember is to write thank you notes, and by hand. You can never send too many of them, and it is a gesture that will be remembered. They need not be long and flowery; short and sincere is a very effective style. Writing business letters is a skill in which most professional people need some polishing. The casual meandering of a personal letter is not appreciated in business. You can waste a person's time with your letters as easily as with a phone call. Get rid of those pat phrases at the beginning of a letter like 'thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to see me' or 'it was a pleasure talking with you on the telephone yesterday,' that have become trite with overuse. Let the person know you were really listening by starting your letter with a specific reference to something the person said or did. For instance, 'Your comments about the IBM-Apple merger during our meeting this morning were certainly thought-provoking. I appreciate your frankness.' Another annoying phrase, 'If you have any questions, please feel free to call and I'll be happy to answer them,' appears at the end of too many letters. A simple, 'please call if you have any questions or need more additional information,' is cleaner and clearer. My pet peeve in business correspondence is a particularly American habit of addressing someone by first name in the salutation and signing the letter with your full name. The rule is, if you address someone by first name, you sign with your first name or you're talking down to that person. If you're worried he or she won't know who you are, then you either haven't been specific enough in your letter or you don't know the person well enough to use first names. Anyway, your name should be typed in full under your signature in a business letter. Business stationery is for business use; personal stationery is for personal use. If, because of your position you do a lot of community service work, the ideal solution is to have the business stationery printed with your name and the company address, but without the company name or logo.

ETIQUETTE IN THE OFFICE: As a confirmed night owl, I used to stumble into the kitchen as a child and fall into my chair at the breakfast table, only to be reprimanded by my parents and sent out to enter again because I didn't have the courtesy to greet them upon entering. This is one lesson executives should have learned from their mothers. The number one complaint about bosses by their secretaries is that they are ignored until the boss gives them their first assignment. It is rude not to greet people when you first enter an office, whether you're the mail person or the CEO. Make it a habit and you will help make the workplace a more pleasant environment. The way people behave when they are in someone else's office or when others visit their office could have benefitted from our mother's training because the behavior is no different that of a host or guest in the home. When you call on someone you are the guest in that person's office, and when they call on you, you are the host. Simple as that. But, what does this host-guest behavior involve. First, a guest is punctual and does not pay surprise visits. Guests also do not make themselves more comfortable in someone else's office than the host. And they don't take over someone else's space by spreading papers all over the person's desk. And, they don't place a handbag or briefcase on it. Guests also do not overstay their welcome. When your scheduled time is up, don't assume the host's schedule is so flexible it can accommodate you for another hour. Reschedule if you need more time. Believe me, if the host is really interested in what you're selling and has the time to hear more, he or she will let you know. The host's responsibility is to greet the guest and to make the visitor feel comfortable. If you're busy, have your secretary go out to reception to bring the visitor to your office. Then, get up and come around from the desk to shake hands with the person. Indicate where you would like the person to sit. The host leads the visitor through the visit. When the meeting is over, the host is responsible for bringing the meeting to a close, summarizing what was covered and what action is to be taken. Then the host escorts the visitor to the elevator or out of the office. Never leave visitors to find their own way. Not only is it rude, it jeopardizes security.

BUSINESS ENTERTAINING: Many business meetings take place outside the office over a meal. But, again confusion exists over two matters; first, what meal to use for what purpose and second how to handle the tab gracefully. Each business meal has its own reason for being and it is never about food. Each business meal also has an acceptable time frame. Power breakfasts are ideal for urgent business, to review an event happening that day or to meet with a person who doesn't take lunch. Schedule 45 minutes to 1 hour. But, it's advisable to have a good reason to get someone up early to meet with you. Allow two hours for a power lunch. Lunch is the ideal meal to entertain clients or to establish business contacts. Lunches are also the least compromising male/female dining situation. Just make sure you don't wait until dessert to bring up your agenda; the time to start discussing business is after the appetizer has been served. Tea is the new power meal, an ideal time to become better acquainted with someone with whom you want to establish a business relationship. It is also a civilized time to discuss matters outside the office without breaking up the middle of the day. As people become more concerned about alcohol consumption, it becomes an ideal alternative to meeting for cocktails. Business dinners should never be the first meal with a client unless that person is from out of town or has specifically requested it. Respect the client's personal time. Discussing business at dinner can also be tricky if you don't get down to it before the second drink arrives. Dinners are ideal to cement existing relationships or as a special treat for the client. The rule for paying the tab in business is clear: whoever benefits from the business association pays, regardless of gender. So, whether I invite my client or my client invites me, I pay. If there is no clear beneficiary, the person who extends the invitation pays. There are several ways to handle the check so it never becomes an issue, all of which are covered in my book. Unfortunately, we don't have time to go into them all today. But, ideally, try to avoid having the check brought to the table. If you're a woman hosting a male client, put the burden of payment onto your company to avoid raising that old social standard that has the man paying the tab. The best time to clarify that you are hosting is when you extend the invitation by saying, 'I'd like you to be my company's guest at lunch on' One time you don't even try to pick up the check is if your client has invited you to a private club. Instead, reciprocate at a later date.

CONCLUSION: Whether you're an entrepreneur or independent consultant, whether you're looking for a job or whether you're fortunate enough still to be employed by a downsized corporate America, the 90's are competitive times. The new reality is that your every action in the business arena of the 90's has become more visible and telling without those layers of management to pass the buck on to or the cushion of a large support staff to make you look good. Each of you now needs to present yourself with confidence and authority to succeed. Outclassing the competition is the name of the game if you want to survive the current economic climate. There is a major psychological power in our behavioral choices. Because we transmit and receive on both a subliminal and on a conscious level, our body language and our behavior play a critical role in determining how others respond to us. Actions speak louder than words, and we can create specific responses with specific choices. By understanding business etiquette and utilizing this mode of communication, we can use it to great advantage in our business and our sales strategies. An article by Diana McLellan in The Washingtonian stated that polished social graces can get you where you're going faster than a speeding BMW. Executives are expected to assimilate these finer points of etiquette along with the subtleties of their business because good manners grease the wheels of society. By remembering your mother's admonitions to mind your P's and Q's, by remembering the adjustments you have to make in your behavior for the new etiquette of the 90's, and by remembering the underlying difference between social and business etiquette, you will improve your P & L. Good manners are good business!


'Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect, to those that are present.' -- George Washington

Every day we encounter people in a variety of business and social situations. The way we meet and greet them creates lasting impressions and paves the way for a productive encounter. Introductions project information. Besides the obvious elements of name, title, and affiliation, an introduction conveys a level of respect and reflects how the person making the introduction views the other person's status. Mastering the art of the introduction will help put you and the people you are introducing at ease. Learning the basics - and they are not very difficult - is the first step. The most important point about introductions is to make them. Failing to do so causes embarrassment and discomfort. If given a choice, most people would prefer you to make the introduction incorrectly, even if you forgot their name, rather than stand there unacknowledged and disregarded. A second important point in any introduction is the order of names. The name of the person being introduced is mentioned last, and the person to whom the introduction is made is mentioned first. The rules for who is introduced to whom depends on whether it's a business or a social introduction. Business Introductions: In business, introductions are based on power and hierarchy. Simply, persons of lesser authority are introduced to persons of greater authority. Gender plays no role in business etiquette; nor does it affect the order of introductions. For example, you would say, 'Mr./Ms. Greater Authority, I would like to introduce Mr./Ms. Lesser Authority.' However, the person holding the highest rank may not be Mr./Ms. Greater Authority. A client, for instance, always takes precedence over anyone in your organization, as does an elected official. Here are examples of pecking order:

1. Introduce a non-official person to an elected official. Note: Whenever introducing anyone from the press, include that in your introduction to warn the person, especially a public official, that the conversation may be on record. Example: Senator Watson, allow me to introduce Dan Jennings of the San Francisco Examiner.

2. Introduce someone from your firm to a client or customer. Example: Mr. Dawson, this is Ms. Saunders, our Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Dawson is our client from Atlanta.

3. Introduce a junior executive to a senior executive. Example: Mr. Senior Executive, I'd like to introduce Mr. Junior Executive.

4. Introduce a junior military officer to a senior officer. Example: General Schwarzkopf, may I introduce Lieutenant Jones? Social Introductions: According to rules of international diplomatic protocol, people are presented to royalty, chiefs of state, ministers in charge of legations, ambassadors and dignitaries of the church regardless of age or gender. The woman's or the man's name would be mentioned last and the distinguished person is mentioned first. For example, 'Cardinal O'Connor, may I present Mrs. Doyle?' But, these are the exceptions to the rule. Social etiquette is based on chivalry, so both formal and informal introductions are made according to age, then gender, and then social status. The man would be introduced to the woman in a social situation unless the man is obviously a great deal older, in which case one would defer to age over gender. For example, if both persons are of the same generation, you would say, 'Mrs. Jameson, I'd like to introduce Mr. Horton.' But, if the woman is considerably younger, you would say, ' Mr. Horton, this is my daughter Hilary.' As you make the introduction, include a brief but meaningful piece of information about each of the people to explain their uniqueness or importance. 'Sally is the PR consultant who helped me get all that coverage in the national press. Bob is the photographer whose work you admired in my office, Sally.' Never qualify a description by saying 'my best client' or 'my dearest friend' because the automatic implication is that the other person holds a lower position in your personal hierarchy. When in doubt, be less personal rather than more personal. The Nuances: As you say each of the individuals' names, look at him or her. In this way, you focus attention on them and make them feel important while appearing to be in control. Once a conversation has begun and everyone seems at ease, you may excuse yourself. When introducing relatives to other people, always clarify their relationship to you; it avoids any possible faux pas that could result from inadvertent comments. Never refer to your own spouse as Mr. or Mrs. in a social introduction. Simply saying 'Matt, my husband,' or 'Kitty, my wife' is sufficient. However, if the woman has kept her maiden name, she should include the husband's surname with some emphasis on it. This avoids the awkwardness caused when a husband is referred to by the wife's professional name. When a couple is living together but not married, introduce both by their first and last names, but do not comment on their living arrangements. It is the couple's option, not yours, to divulge that information should it be necessary. When introducing peers to one another, mention both the first and last names. It doesn't matter who is introduced to whom. Including a tidbit of information that might start the conversational ball rolling is always a good idea. Even if everyone in a group is on a first name basis, introduce people by both first and last names. But, if you only know one person's first name, be consistent in your introductions and use their surnames, 'Ms. White, Mr. Clark'. Introductions at Functions: At social events, it's not necessary to introduce a newcomer to everyone in the room. Introduce that person to the closest group by saying the newcomer's name first and then giving the names of the others. Ask the members of the group to introduce themselves if you can't remember everyone's name. Make sure from time to time, though, that the person is circulating. At any function, the host should meet all the guests to make them feel as if their presence matters. At many business functions, guests may not know the host. It's a good idea to appoint several representatives of the corporation to stand by the door to act as greeters when guests arrive. The greeters introduce themselves and escort the guests to the host, make the introductions and then escort the guests to the bar or introduce them to several other guests while the host remains free to greet new guests. For functions with more than fifty guests, a receiving line within the party area is preferable to insure that everyone meets the host. The receiving line remains in formation until all guests have arrived. To relieve the pressure on one host at a large social function, list several corporate officers as hosts on the invitation and have them relieve one another. All the hosts need not stand in line at once. A short receiving line moves more quickly and easily, and guests are not bogged down in a long, tedious line. Introducing Yourself: If no-one introduces you, step in and introduce yourself. Someone may be too embarrassed to admit forgetting a name or may be distracted by other matters. Feeling slighted because you were not introduced only puts you at a disadvantage. Introduce yourself by extending your hand, smiling and saying something like, 'I'm Matt Jones, David's partner.' Avoid making any comment such as 'Helen works for me' that might be misconstrued as arrogance or superiority. Instead, say, 'Helen and I work in the same office.' As a guest, it's your duty to circulate and introduce yourself at any function, large or small, especially if the host or hostess is busy. The fact that you are both there is sufficient justification to introduce yourself to anyone at the gathering. By only sticking to those people you already know, you'll never expand your horizons or make new acquaintances. Always use both names when introducing yourself to convey the message that you take yourself seriously as an adult and expect the same treatment from others. And, since you don't know how comfortable the other person feels with formality or lack of it, you give that person the chance to set the tone most comfortable to them. Be clear and concise in your introduction; the fastest way to alienate a new acquaintance is to ramble on about your life history or, worse, your problems or illnesses. If you expect people to respond favorably to your introduction, leave your problems on the doorstep and make sure your tone is engaging. Then, construct an introduction that is interesting and catchy, yet still professional. Think of it as a one or two sound bite commercial. A sound bite, the length of time available in television to engage viewers' attention before they tune out, has decreased to 7 seconds currently because we are all so overexposed to visual and oral stimuli. Try to gauge information that will be of interest to the others. At business functions, it would be appropriate to mention where you work. However, just saying 'I'm in public relations at IBM' is not likely to stir a great deal of interest or conversation whereas 'I try to lure investment in IBM by working on the company's annual reports,' might be more interesting. Just don't focus too much attention on yourself with grandiose pronouncements. Don't expect someone else to be forthcoming with their job information at functions that are not strictly business because many people feel that they are not defined by employment. At an organized event, such as an environmental fund raiser, you can mention your connection to the organization. Or, if you have a mutual interest, mention that as long as you phrase it to keep the focus is on the other person. For example, 'Gina tells me that you are a member of the Global Business Association. I'm also involved in international trade so I'd be interested in learning how the association has benefitted you.' At any business meal, always introduce yourself to the people sitting next to you to open the way for conversation. Not introducing yourself can cost you a valuable business lead because few people want to deal with someone who comes across as aloof or unsavvy. Responding to Introductions: The way you respond to someone else's introduction is just as important as making the introduction. In response to informal introductions, simply say 'hello'. Add a phrase like, 'I've heard so much about you, Barry,' only if it is true and if it is complimentary. Beware of phrases like, 'Pleased to meet you' because that may not be true after only a few minutes of conversation. 'How do you do?' followed by the person's name is the customary response to a formal introduction. Refrain from the use of first names until the person to whom you've been introduced has indicated that the familiarity is preferred. Rising to the Occasion: Always stand for introductions. Everyone should rise to greet newcomers at both business and social functions. The old rule that a woman remains seated when new people enter a room and are introduced is obsolete. At a very large function, only those nearest the newcomer would rise and say hello. If you are wedged into a tight position in a restaurant, there may not always be sufficient room to stand properly, but at least make the attempt so that by remaining seated you will not be perceived as aloof. In an office, always rise and come around from behind the desk to greet visitors. Remembering Names: If you forget someone's name when making an introduction, try putting the other people at ease rather than concentrating on your own embarrassment. Remain calm; if you fall apart, the person whose name you forgot may feel obliged to put you at ease, compounding your faux pas. Be straightforward yet tactful in admitting your memory lapse. By saying, 'I've forgotten your name,' you imply the person wasn't worth remembering. 'I've just drawn a blank,' or 'my memory seems to be malfunctioning' connotes a more temporary condition that doesn't have the same insulting implications. If you can't remember someone's name, but you remember an interesting point about them, cite it. You might say, 'I clearly remember our conversation about Thai food, but your name seems to have temporarily slipped my mind. Please help me out.' Then, whatever happens, get off the subject of the memory lapse and onto something more interesting to everyone. Profuse apologies only make everyone uncomfortable. The sooner you forget about it, the sooner everyone else willand the happier everyone will be. When you're introduced to someone, say the person's name, then repeat it several times during the conversation. Not only do you project a genuine interest in someone by repeating their name, but the repetition is more likely to imprint the name on your memory. When someone seems to have forgotten your name, just jump in, hand outstretched, a smile on your face, and offer your name. Introducing a Guest Speaker: Prior to the event, have the speaker supply background information and ask how he or she prefers to be introduced. Keep the introduction short but enthusiastic, giving the speaker's name, credibility on the subject and the title of the presentation. Then ask the audience to join you in welcoming the speaker and begin the applause. Don't alienate the audience by informing them that they'll learn something. And, don't undermine the speaker by talking so much about the topic yourself that you give part of the presentation. Now that you have a better understanding of meeting and greeting people, heed Lord Beaverbrook's admonition, 'Be fearless and each day you must meet someone new.'

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