It seems that in today’s business world and in fact in everyday life, we have either forgotten the good manners we were taught or perhaps the manners aren’t being taught. I am not one who stands on ceremony but here’s some rules of etiquette I wish people would follow as a sign of respect and courtesy:
- Honour your commitments If you make an appointment, keep it or at least let the other party know that you can’t and suggest an alternate arrangement. If you don’t want to meet, say so. No one has so much time on their hands that they want to waste their time or yours. If you tell someone that you will get back to them or follow-up on something – do it! If you don’t want to follow-through, don’t make the commitment in the first place.
- Acknowledge receipt of requests, gifts I am definitely not a fan of the email that simply says thank you when information is provided. However, if someone sends you a request or a gift, an acknowledgement of the request or the gift is warranted. In the case of a request, let the person know whether, when and how you will fulfill the request and then follow rule #1 – honour your commitments. When someone send you a gift or grants your request let them know you appreciate their efforts. A simple formula for saying thank you goes like this:
- State what you are thankful for
- Explain why it was important to you
- Say something about the person that’s relevant – their effort, the sentiment
- Say thank you again
- RSVP When you are invited to an event and asked to RSVP – do it. Then, put the date on your calendar and “honour your commitment” (see above) If your circumstances change, let the organizers know. People who are organizing events need to plan for food and accommodations. I have attended far too many events where people who have said they will show up don’t – at business events, I have seen the percentage of “no shows” as high as 40% – it’s embarrassing for the organizers, not to mention expensive when this happens.
- Pay attention I have reached the limit of my patience for people who pay more attention to their mobile devices than the people they are with! Whether it’s texting or calling in a restaurant or in a meeting, the truth is meetings would take less time if the people in them devoted their full attention to the business at hand for the duration. For most of us, taking an hour offline to concentrate will not have any adverse consequences. If the emails, texts, tweets, etc., are truly more important than the meeting – don’t come to the meeting but do see rule #1
- ‘Fess up when you mess up. We are all fallible humans. If you make a mistake or forget to do something – say so and say how you will make amends and ensure the mistake won’t happen again.