Some may think “etiquette” is a lost art, or that perhaps there’s no place for it anymore and that it is a long-lost phenomenon. That could not be farther from the truth! There is a need now more than ever for etiquette and manners, not only in our day-to-day lives, but especially within the business world.
Many think that etiquette was important to their grandparents, and maybe the Queen today, however it is still just as relevant; the difference is simply that notions of manners and etiquette as they apply to business have changed and shifted over the years, mainly because of advances in technology and changing corporate cultures.
So, what does this mean for you? How can you adjust to this shifting landscape? Well, firstly, it is important to acknowledge that manners and etiquette do matter. Contemporary etiquette can be as basic as respecting and acknowledging those around you, and being sensitive to others’ thoughts and feelings. By acknowledging this and practicing it, you will already be ahead of countless others who may not respect those around them – this will serve you in good stead in all situations, with an emphasis on your business encounters.
Secondly, we suggest you take note of your technological habits – i.e., how you use your phone and when, especially the young professional generation who have grown up on phones and often don’t think twice before sending a text or reading an email during a conversation. This can come across as rude and like you don’t care about the conversation at hand. This is a major executive presence blunder!
Thirdly, focus on being present. Doing so will help you understand what is happening around you, including who is around, what people are talking about, and a general familiarity with your surroundings. Doing this, for example, will also help you avoid the tendency to look at your phone while you’re having a discussion with others.
For a contemporary perspective on etiquette and manners, simplify things by thinking of etiquette as a focus on being present at all times. At the end of the day, etiquette is about respect for others. When you’re present and making those around you feel that they are respected and important, they will respond to you in kind. Not only will this serve you well in your day-to-day life, but it will surely set you apart from many others in your professional life!