Is etiquette important in today’s world, or is it an antiquated system of rules? Emily Post, the world’s most trusted resource for etiquette says:
“Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one another, you have etiquette. Etiquette is not some rigid code of manners, it’s simply how persons’ lives touch one another.”
The word etiquette has nuance of a time gone by when ladies and gentleman entertained in formal rooms, dressed in long gloves and tuxedos. Yet, it remains an essential tool in showing respect and building relationships in a personal or business setting.
In the fast-paced world that we live in, culture changes daily, and the mindset of tradition is quickly replaced with innovation and forward-thinking. There is a strong desire to rely primarily on technology and less on humanity. In America the “bootstraps” mentality of the baby boomers is being replaced with the flexibility, fun and innovation in the workplace, brought on by generation x and the millennials. Still, even in a culture that is tethered to social media, etiquette is relevant.So, how can we further our professional successes with etiquette in today’s society?
My favorite resource on etiquette in business is The Etiquette Advantage in Business by Peggy Post and Peter Post. This book offers suggestions on nearly every situation and opportunity that presents itself in the workplace; from resumes and written correspondence, to public speaking and business gifts. But the main theme of the book is the why. Etiquette matters because it builds relationships. According the Posts, “there are really only three things that affect a relationship: your actions, your appearance and your words.”
Be mindful of how your physical presence can affect your clients and colleagues. Pay attention and listen. Doing emails on your tablet or answering your texts or calls, rather than giving your attention to the presenter, or colleagues does not convey that you are fully engaged. This is so difficult to do, I am very guilty of this!
Be mindful of your appearance. Being well-groomed and tidy shows that you respect yourself, and respect those around you. Monitor your body language and make sure that you do not create a physical barrier with your arms or legs. Do not fidget or cause distraction with your physical tendencies.
Be mindful of your choice of words. When composing an email, triple check it for strong language. Without context, tone of voice and expression, emails are easily misconstrued. When speaking with colleagues or guests, don’t use language that distracts from your intent and leaves others offended.
Good etiquette spans cultures and generations and is not merely a set of antiquated rules. Though appropriate customs may be modified through time, proper etiquette is still essential in building and maintain relationship in the workplace and society.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Nevertheless, I would not recommend something if I did not think that it was a good product or service. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”