The foundation of etiquette is a road-map of behavior that our culture finds acceptable as gracious and polite in social, professional, and family situations. More formally, etiquette is the term used to describe the complex network of rules that govern good behavior and our social and business interactions. Etiquette is different among different cultures.
These PDFs are written for young business professionals in the United States. We will quickly discuss what a young professional needs to know to ‘launch’ themselves into the work world and to enter society as an adult. Good manners can mean the difference between success and failure in many aspects of life.
We will focus on social and professional etiquette. Social etiquette involves how you behave out in the public, with friends and strangers, whether you are at someone's home or in a restaurant. If you treat your friends and neighbors with respect, you are more likely to remain on their lists of people they trust, care about, and invite to parties. It also prevents you from being embarrassed later by behavior that was unbecoming or offensive. This includes social media, which can magnify your behavior.
Following professional etiquette allows others to see that you are a polite, civilized coworker who knows how to be nice and can represent the company in a positive way. If you don’t show good manners, you run the risk of ruining your reputation. This can prevent you from being promoted and in some cases may even get you fired.
Using Etiquette as a Professional Tool
Knowing the etiquette roadmap gives the young professional several important tools:
- Use of proper social rules will make you more comfortable in business settings. If you know what is expected of you going into a business meeting, you will have valuable armor to act accordingly.
- Etiquette allows you to be comfortable around others and to make sure that they are comfortable. It protects feels in and in instances, like the etiquette of entering an elevator, prevents you from running over people and causing physical distress.
- Most importantly, etiquette provides clear communication. In the simplest sense, if I do this for you, then I expect you to do that for me: If I take you out to dinner to discuss your business prospect, then I will look for a handwritten note to arrive in the post expressing your enjoyment of said dinner. If no note arrives, I feel that I have wasted my time with you and I will not engage with you in this manner again.
- Using proper etiquette enhances your business perception; you will look more capable, professional and intelligent at work. This will enhance your upward mobility in the work place.
- Finally and most importantly, good social and professional etiquette leads you to make the crucial good first impression. Research has shown that the first few seconds that you meet someone creates an impression that lingers and is very difficult to change. Using proper etiquette will allow you easily to make that crucial first impression.