Thursday, January 31, 2013

Business Etiquette, Someone is Always Watching!

This is the time of year when I get the most requests to conduct Business Etiquette workshops. Why? Because it is right during the heart of the season when we attend the most parties and social gatherings.

I'll get a frantic call from a manager or boss who says "Oh, my gosh, you have no idea what some of my employees did in public."

Just when I think I've heard all the stories about bad etiquette, they tell me a new one. I actually should clarify that last statement, perhaps it's not BAD etiquette, it's DON'T KNOW ANY BETTER etiquette.

Proper etiquette, in business, can help people gain respect from their customers, bosses, coworkers and ... anyone else who just happens to be watching. You could be at a wedding, having a great time... dancing on a table, only to be surprised two weeks later, that you are interviewing for a job or meeting a new client who, just happened to be at the same wedding. Hmmm what impression do you think your dancing made?

Many businesses these days go through a process of inviting potential employees to social events or out for dinner, just to see how they behave. They know that when an employee is at a social function, like it or not, that employee will represent a Company's owner.

Business Etiquette runs from which fork to use, to how to meet people, to how to return email and phone calls properly to wondering if a man should always open a door for a woman. For this column, we are going to focus on social events, because 'tis the season.

Here are the top 10 most common social etiquette faux pas:

  1. The fork starts in the left with the tunes down and your pointer finger down.
  2. When you are finished eating, the indicator to the waiter is when you put your knife and fork in a triangle position on the plate.
  3. Your bread plate is to your left and always rip your bread - don't cut it.
  4. Your coffee cup is to the right, and no matter how cold you are you grip it by the handle, not with both hands around the cup.
  5. Eat soup by starting in the middle and spooning away from you. Yes, it takes longer and that is the point. Oh, by the way... no slurping.
  6. Don't crunch your crackers in your soup.
  7. No matter what, at sit down meal, no fingers even with French fries.
  8. At a round table, always pass to the right.
  9. While seated, purses should be on the floor under your seat and napkins on our lap. If you leave the table but are still eating, place your napkin on the seat of your chair, not on the table.
  10. Do not... ever ... point with your knife or fork and always chew with your mouth closed.

Okay, there you go. We have about 100 more tips but this will get you started in making the right impression at social functions because, you never know who is watching.

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