Now, I know you all don’t know my mother, but let me tell you, she is one classy chick. Army wife married to my dad for 63 years, raised 8 kids, and teacher for 40 years, all of which obviously places her in line for sainthood. Yup, Peg is awesome.
She came from a very stern, Irish Catholic, Massachusetts family. Her mother was a strong-willed suffragette and her father was a highly respected surgeon. You can always see the pride in her face as she tells us of growing up in a strict but loving household, rich with antics and chock full of lessons learned. And the biggest thing I learned from my mom is a saying that I follow every day and teach my kids:
“Good manners never go out of style.”
Ain’t it the truth? Think about the course of your day. How often are you faced with the choice of whether to cuss someone out or smile and wave? From my kids in the morning to driving home after work, I am constantly two seconds away from that choice. And nowhere is this more evident than in our business etiquette.
Now this doesn’t mean being stuffy. Obviously, you need to know what is appropriate for where you are culture wise, etc., but if you are using good manners and polite etiquette you can usually genuinely be yourself and all will be well. But always think about the vehicle.
If you are face to face: are you listening? Making eye-contact? What is your body language saying? Are you dressed for the occasion?
If you are on the phone: are you focused? Listening? Is your office noisy? Are you munching Cheetos?
Even via email: are you being precise and to the point? Have you spelled their name properly? Are you sending your email to the whole office or just one person? Are you dropping saucy language in there? (Tsk, tsk, Peg would not approve.)
How we handle ourselves in business, how we interact with coworkers, clients, and every person we meet or speak to during the day, is a direct reflection on our company. If you are employed, you are a representative, plain and simple, so you must make sure that you are handling yourself professionally with decorum.
Before you make your next move, remind yourself that “Good manners never go out of style” and I guarantee you will be ok. And if you are not sure, ask yourself: do you pass the Peg test? Check out our videos on Business Skills for email and online meeting etiquette.
Nana Peg at the beach with grand #13.
Be brave, be awesome, and smile whenever possible.
By Kristen Teixeira