Here’s how to spot and fix them.
1. Behavior etiquette mistakes-Don’t swear in order to make a point. It’ll take away your credibility and make you look stupid -Standing too close to a coworker or being physical with them is also unwise. Your work environment isn’t a place for intimacy.
– A sudden call at a meeting or lunch can be irritating, especially if you’re talking loudly. -Being loud and talking with your mouth full takes attention away from the conversation and puts any business talk on shaky ground.
Behavior etiquette tips: -Choose humor over swearing, as it will keep the attention on you and you’ll be well-liked for your efforts. When you’re humoring or even just interacting with someone, give them a respectable distance of 15 inches, smile often and acknowledge them as a sign of respect. -Cell phone talk can be lessened through caller ID screening and voice mail, as most calls are unnecessary. Anticipate potential callers and call them first — before work. Don’t answer in a meeting, and speak quietly if you really must take a call. Don’t make your phone visible on a desk or a lunch table. -When you do eat with others, chew wisely and while they are talking instead of when you are talking.
2. Conversation etiquette mistakesThe way you talk to others goes a long way towards establishing your credibility or losing it in an instant. Where conversation is concerned, the worst of the worst blunders are taboo topics, office gossip, interrupting, and shouting.
-Politics and religion aren’t fair game for discussion. You are at work, not with friends. -Sex is absolutely off limits, as it induces awkwardness and possible harassment charges.
-You might feel targeted if a boss or client is angry with you, but you’ll make it worse by interrupting and shouting tactless remarks. Shouting and interrupting aren’t suitable with coworkers, either. -Yelling across the office to start a conversation is distracting and embarrassing, while interrupting another conversation to “join in” shows impatience and lack of respect. Conversation etiquette tips: – Aim small with your conversations and don’t go out of bounds. Asking basic questions and paying attention will lead to common ground and steer you away from taboos. – Keep your personal life private and don’t be a gossip. -Instead of talking about others, pay respectful compliments to them instead. If they do the same for you, always thank them. -Regrets can’t be undone after a testy argument, so when dealing with an irate client or manager, be proactive and problem solve. Instead of interrupting or yelling, hear them out and don’t judge. Think about their main issue and calmly offer some solutions — you’d probably be just as upset if you were in their situation, so imagine how you would want to be treated. Positive and constructive conversations will reduce stress on the overall working environment and make everyone more pleasant.
3. Image etiquette mistakesProfessional image blunders are deadly because they can ruin you before you’ve even interacted with anyone. The most potent ones are tardiness, weak handshakes and wardrobe failures.-Poor punctuality wastes everyone’s time. If you aren’t on time to meet new clients, lateness is especially damaging. – A weak handshake, this shows no conviction and suggests a timid personality, which will hurt your first impression.
-First impressions are also based on how you look. If you have tattoos or earrings on display, this will contribute poorly to your image and that of your company. Unfortunately, stereotypes still exist with piercings and body art, so it’s best to keep them under wraps when in the business world, just in case. The same thing will happen if you wear revealing or inappropriate clothing (think T-shirts with rude slogans or brash logos). -A lack of business cards makes you look amateurish and unprepared — scribbling your name and number on a napkin just isn’t good enough in the professional realm.Image etiquette tips: –Sometimes medical appointments are unavoidable. Arrange them outside of work if possible and if you come to work late afterward, offer to stay later or work through lunch. The added confidence of punctuality will be handy when it’s time for new introductions. -Make eye contact and offer a firm handshake that is less than three seconds long but still affirmative. -Offer your full name and show familiarity by repeating theirs. -The dress code rules aren’t yours to rewrite, so be aware of what’s allowed. Cover up anything unsightly, and remove excess rings or earrings. – Take the added step of carrying extra business cards and anticipating how many you’ll need. Make an effort to present them at the end of a conversation and if you receive one back, take time to look at it before putting it away.
4. Travel etiquette mistakesA business trip is exactly what it sounds like, but sometimes traveling to a new country or city can increase the likelihood of blunders. -A foreign setting can bring along many cultural misunderstandings. Every country has different customs and expressions, which could turn simple acts like gift giving or physical contact into unintentional insults.
-Fix your travel boo-boos and learn to control your happy hour alter ego … -You may be traveling for business, but don’t push your clients to wheel and deal around the clock. And while there is often shared social time, that’s not a license to get intoxicated in front of them. -Furthermore, your hotel room isn’t a bar or an office. Overindulging in room service and inviting clients there (especially those of the opposite sex) could cost you dearly.Travel etiquette tips: -Before you venture abroad, learn about your destination’s traditional customs, as well as the expectations for how to interact. -Speak clearly and politely address people with titles. -When it comes to client-related business, be willing to develop a personal relationship first, but know when to draw the line. -You are a guest, so make every decision with maximum respect and minimal intake of alcohol. That means keeping business and guests away from your hotel room and using room service sparingly and ideally.
5. Happy hour etiquette mistakes-A company “social” event can lead to celebratory memories or infamous moments that can last a lifetime. Happy hour is supposed to be happy, but it shouldn’t mean overdrinking, outlandish behavior or social faux pas.
-Now is not the time to make eyes at your boss’ wife or finally put the moves on your cubicle neighbor. If you think you’re avoiding trouble by bringing a date, watch out. You’ve just taken full responsibility for someone else’s actions and they could be worse than your own.
Happy hour etiquette tips: – If you’re drinking at a company function, alternate between water and alcohol. This will keep you in line and you’ll be able to leave under your own power. If you do go too far with anything, offer a sincere apology and some warm humor. -Treat everyone with the same respect that you would in the office. -Instead of bringing a date, bring a gift that suits the occasion. It could be a Christmas surprise or some delicious home cooking and it won’t carry the risk of future embarrassment.
If you respect your surroundings and enjoy without overindulging, happy hour can still be happy.
We all make mistakes in any number of situations, but when it comes to business, the less, the better. With time being money, a substantial etiquette blunder can result in wasted time, lost money and, in worst-case scenarios, a no-expenses-paid trip to the unemployment line. So whether it’s tomorrow’s shift at the office or your next business trip overseas, remember that your choices in etiquette will ultimately reflect back on your company and your own professional persona. The way you handle yourself is a test of practicing good business as well as good manners. It’s in everyone’s best interests. As long as you don’t screw up, you won’t get screwed.