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mannersI recently facilitated a strategic workshop with a client and one of the focus areas for their business is going back to basics.

Now whilst that sounds simple – it’s probably one of the hardest things to get right.

We find ourselves so busy being busy … that seldom do we realise how off course we have gone.  More importantly, how the fundamentals of our business has shifted and / or sadly, sometimes disappeared.  Make no mistake, this has a huge impact on your company image and success.

Business etiquette is the reason customers come back to you … it should be part of every retention strategy – both for internal and external clients.

So let’s get down to the basics and look at a few tips on business etiquette:

  • Greet anyone and everyone sitting in your reception area – you never know who they are and the influence they have – plus – it’s simple manners! 
  • Finding problems is easy and any fool can do that.  Finding potential solutions is the fun part.  It’s about the cup being half full.  Share your ideas and initiate some of them (with permission if necessary).
  • Whilst we live and embrace a rainbow of cultures in our country, there are Western norms – be aware of these.
  • As we moan about the youth and their “lack of manners” we have to ask ourselves how well we do in this department!  Is your tone offensive / harsh?  Have you treated your colleague respectfully?  Did you say please / thank you?  Are you taking cell phone calls whilst having a discussion or lunch with a business associate?
  • Discretion is important.  Talking about the annoying customer to people outside your organisation is an absolute no-no.
  • Seek first to understand … then to be understood.  Or in plain English – LISTEN first, then speak.  It’s amazing how much confusion is created by too much talking / not enough listening.
  • Address conflict as situation-related rather than person-related. 
  • Apologise when you are wrong – after all, you are human
  • Catch people doing things right !  We all need recognition and acknowledgement for a job well done.
  • Be wary of falling into the trap of “I will when I get some respect from him!”.  Petulance is for the youth and is most unbecoming.

Ethics is a subject for another day.  However, sounds ethics, good morals and manners go a long way in creating a successful business.

In the wise words of Mahatma Gandhi– be the change you want to see in the world.

So go forth and conquer … and mind your manners – please!

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