Operating in a corporate environment with colleagues and superiors is a whole different world from what you knew at school – or in public situations where you don’t know anyone. Respect and thoughtful consideration are the hallmark of congenial work relations. Consider these niceties as you go through your day:
Whoever gets to a door first opens it for the other person. There is no gender specific rule.
If you go through a revolving door first and someone is following, push the door hard enough for you both to twirl through.
Hold the elevator door for someone on the outside of the elevator, then step in.
Don’t stand in front of the elevator buttons and if you are nearby offer to push buttons for those entering.
Be on time and be prepared. Bring a pen or lap top to take notes.
When entering someone’s office wait for them to ask you to be seated.
Be careful with coffee or water on someone’s desk.
Never put your briefcase or purse on the desk or board room table.
Don’t help yourself to candies on peoples’ desks unless they are offered to you, at least initially.
Never slouch in any chair in any situation, at your own desk or with others.
Don’t be a clock watcher.
When a meeting is held in someone’s office, leave the office when the meeting is over and continue chatting outside their space.
Introduce yourself to new people when no one else is around to introduce you.
Give your own name quickly if you are not introduced immediately, then shake hands.
Mention the name of the person of greatest authority/age or importance first.
Gender doesn’t determine who gets introduced first.
If a client is involved, he or she should be introduced first.
Older people have seniority over gender, but not over rank.
When introducing a client to a Director, the client takes precedent.
If someone uses their first name only, introduce with only the other person’s first name.
Use the formal Mr., Mrs., Ms until permission is given to do otherwise, depending on your relationship and age.
Introduce visiting spouses and strangers to the staff.
Keep it short and sweet. Say each person’s name only one time.
If introducing a woman with a different name from her husband announce: “This is Jane’s husband, Sam Wright.”
Don’t use nicknames, DOGS, NOT OWNERS DESERVE NICKNAMES.
It used to be that women walked on the man’s right side, but now to prevent harassment by street people in doorways, it is suggested that woman walk on a man’s left side when walking outdoors.
Men do not offer an arm to a healthy woman… ladies, if they do offer, take it, humour them.
If a man offers a woman to go first, GO.
Stand whenever a person enters your office for the first time ever or that day.
Stand when a senior person or business partner/client enters your office.
Never, ever leave the ringer on your phone and never ever send a text or look at your messages while someone is speaking to you directly or in a meeting.
Don’t lean on walls or furniture.
Adapt a firm, confident handshake.
When you phone someone ask if this is a GOOD time for them to talk.
Turn away from your computer when someone enters your work space.
Use a person’s name when you are speaking with them. Always greet someone using their name.
When you greet someone in business, clasp their hand firmly, look them in the eyes, smile and pump their hand 3 – 4 times. Release.
Handover your business card with one or two hands with the card facing the recipient. Receive the card with two hands, read the card quietly then make a comment about any information on the card.
Refrain from filler words; um, you know and like can be career busters.
Imagine you are a fly on the wall. Look down at yourself every few minutes to assess how you look and feel. Use common sense. If someone were to take a candid photograph of you to put on the front page of the newspaper, how would you fair?
Colleen Clarke, Career Specialist & Corporate Trainer
Author of Networking How to Build Relationships That Count, How to Get a Job and Keep It
Co-author of The Power of Mentorship; The Mastermind Group