The importance of using proper business etiquette whether at work, in a business meeting, on the phone or on-line cannot be stressed enough in making a good first impression. No matter whether you are working for a company or for yourself, presenting yourself in a proper manner will help you in all aspects of your professional life. As an employee or as a business owner it is important that you attempt to establish a good relationship with your co-workers. One which is both comfortable and friendly, whilst retaining a professional attitude which allows for satisfactory job performance.
The manner in which you conduct yourself will impact on your success on the job, as well as the perception of others. Being careful to always show courtesy to others will create long lasting positive relationships.
Let us go over a few tips that you can use:
1. Always go out of your way to extend greetings to co-workers upon entering the building. 2. Maintain a friendly attitude at all times. This approach sets the tone for a very pleasant work atmosphere. 3. Maintain an upbeat tone when speaking. This is just as important when talking on the phone or loud speaker or intercom. 4. Always combine a congenial manner with an eye towards assisting fellow co-workers with daily tasks.
Always do your best to pick up the phone on the first ring. If answering for a fellow employee who is otherwise occupied, it is appropriate to allow several rings of his phone before picking up. This will lend credence to the belief that your company is primarily concerned with servicing all customers promptly. Write down any pertinent information, so that your fellow employee can peruse it later.
Make a special point of being prompt for any company meetings.
Pay close attention to the accepted dress code, be attired in an appropriate fashion for the type of business you are conducting, this ensures that you make a good impression.
Be well versed in the subject that will be discussed at the meeting and be sure to turn off your cell phone, pager or any other electronic device that may interrupt the meeting. Chewing gum, sucking on candy or eating during a meeting is not considered appropriate, unless it is a lunch meeting at a restaurant. If it is be sure to observe proper manners.
Always wait for others to complete their thoughts before you offer your own opinions and suggestions. When answering a colleague, always observe courtesy. Do not engage in adversarial debates or exchange insults. Reply to nasty behaviour from colleagues by keeping your composure and continuing to act in a professional manner.
Use only upbeat gestures of communication. Pay special attention to opposing viewpoints and only interject with positive comments. If you need to cough, sneeze or blow your nose, be very discrete and do your best not to be disruptive. If necessary find an appropriate moment and excuse yourself from the meeting. When possible, visit the restroom prior to the meeting or conference to avoid possible disruptions later. Always attend to the needs of your customer or client as a first priority. Remember they are the reason you are there. Always give preference to the person in the room with you, as opposed to speaking on the phone regarding a private personal matter. There should not be food or beverage on your desk during a meeting with a client.
Timing is everything
Always arrive promptly for client meetings and be attired in a professional manner which is suitable for the occasion. Eliminate all irritating habits or behaviour and do not use powerful cologne which might offend a client. Always be as helpful as possible and speak slowly and deliberately. Keep in mind the purpose of your meeting, which is business. During a business discussion some small talk in the conversation is fine to ease the tension, but do not stray too far away from the main topic of the meeting. In the event that you will be unavoidably delayed for a client meeting, get word to him/her as soon as possible, to keep him from leaving prematurely. Keep your client in mind and assure them that they are the most important thing on your agenda. By following these proper and easy to implement guidelines you will be sure to leave all of your business associates with a good and lasting impression.
Using Telephone Etiquette during business calls.
How to use proper telephone etiquette during business related calls so that you can always make a good impression when you are speaking with clients, customers or prospects. Before and during a business call, it is essential that you be aware of your tone of voice, and it is highly recommended that you take a few minutes to practice, ensuring that you use the correct tone, volume, and pitch during a conversation. By doing this, you will assist the listener in their interpretation of the conversation, instead of them having to rely solely on verbal cues. During any business phone call, be certain to inform the other party who you are, your respective position, and what company you are representing.
This should be immediately followed by giving the name of whom you are trying to reach. Be certain to retain a polite tone when asking to speak with the person you are trying to reach. Always be courteous, because you have no way of knowing what their schedule is and if they are busy attending to another equally important matter. On the other hand, if you are the one receiving the call, retain a professional and pleasant tone when answering. Additionally, you should also identify yourself and your company when answering. This particular approach to phone communication in the business world is essential and necessary, and will set you apart from your competitors, this is especially important in today’s frenetic world, where first impressions count. When answering or responding to business calls it is important to consider all available possibilities.
Business Etiquette – Putting You On Hold
Perhaps one of the most important aspects in business etiquette is the proper use of the hold feature. This tool allows you to address urgent matters, while allowing you to continue your communication with the other party on another line. However, this option must be employed in a specific way in order to refrain from offending the other party and wasting their time.
If a situation has arisen and you must place someone on hold, first ask if you may place them on hold for a short time. Wait for their confirmation prior to doing so and turning your attention to another task, otherwise they may not be aware as to what just happened. If the other party seems indecisive about being placed on hold, respectfully explain to them that another matter has arisen and it is essential to address it immediately. Do not make them feel as if their time is not valuable to you, but impress the urgency of this other matter. Furthermore, since you are going to place them on hold, it is essential that you explain to them clearly why they are being momentarily inconvenienced. Under no circumstance should you keep them waiting for more than 30 seconds, and as such, you must address the other matter quickly, before returning to the other person.
Voice Mail The Correct Way
When using voice mail messages it is a good idea to follow these guidelines.
A voice mail inbox is usually available on most telephone systems. These systems allow you to record a message if you are unavailable, for example if you are tied up in a meeting or on holiday for a few days. This informs the other party why you are not responding to their call, but you will get back to them as soon as possible. This is very practical in business environments, especially with people who have extremely busy schedules, they often cannot spare a few minutes to try to contact you. When leaving messages, try to keep the message clear and concise. Be sure to speak clearly and slowly, so the person is able to understand and interpret your message easily. If there is a playback feature for the message, listen to it and verify that it is clear and easily understood. Business professionals appreciate receiving return messages, informing them that you are unable to respond in the given time frame. This saves them time and allows you both to select a date that is more appropriate to both your schedules.
By following these proper and easy to implement phone etiquette guidelines you will be sure to leave a good impression during every business call.
On-line Business Etiquette more
As more businesses are moving away from using the traditional communication methods to reach associates, clients and prospects. In the current climate switched on business professionals are harnessing the various social networks to market their product or service.
However, one area seems to be overlooked all the time and that is the importance of on-line business etiquette. Given the multitude of communication methods available to business owners it is easy to be oblivious to the mistakes we can make.
It is critical that we pay attention to these errors and correct them as soon as we are made aware of them. This will ensure that we are using the web to correspond in a correct and concise manner. Always be respectful and courteous to others when chatting inside a chat room or sending an email. Include the words, “Please”, “Thank you” and “Good morning” when writing. The Internet will become a friendlier environment if you practice politeness more.
UPPER CASE or Not
It is vital that you do not send chat messages that are in all UPPER CASE. According to instant messaging etiquette, this is very rude. Writing in all capital letters is shouting in the virtual world. While this is often done to make a particular point, the perception of this tactic is similar to screaming or being obnoxious. This can be considered very rude by a lot of people. However, you can capitalize proper nouns and a word or two to emphasize your point.
Remember that conversational tone or voice adjustments do not come through in an e-mail, thus all that is seen are the words. Therefore, the reader is sensitive to the words alone, and the use of all capitals can give a misleading impression.
Using Red to Highlight
Is similarly annoying and pushy. Red is taken as an adversarial implication by the reader. Red is associated with urgent situations, such as a fire. Right off the bat, red projects an unfavourable perception. Thus, when written in an e-mail, it puts the reader on notice and wary. Red is also harsher on the eyes and is tougher to read. This also will alter your intended message in a negative way.
Do Not Delay
An additional error is to delay your answer to an email. No matter how busy you might be, a quick response time is critical in maintaining a good relationship with your customers and keeping them satisfied.”
Spamming is another invasive and rude action wherein you get a person’s email and send too many unwanted messages. It is always a good idea especially when doing business on-line that you use permission based email to reach out to your customers and prospects.
If you are talking to people from other countries, be sensitive about some of their language and try to help them understand you better by using the right language, tools. Keep in mind that every customer is a critical part of a successful business. Your customer must never feel that he is being ignored or treated poorly. Especially in this harsh economic climate, you must be vigilant in retaining business. Prompt answers to emails is an easy method to maintain a long term business relationship with your customer. They will be inclined to stay in the business relationship rather than shopping around. Keep your messages short, especially when chatting or writing an email. Try to cut your message into several short paragraphs, so that these can be easy to follow. Use acronyms and other on-line abbreviations to help others understand your message better.
Stick to the Topic
Keep in mind that every customer is a critical part of a successful business. Your customer must never feel that he is being ignored or treated poorly. Especially in this harsh economic climate, you must be vigilant in retaining business. Prompt answers to emails is an easy method to maintain a long term business relationship with your customer. They will be inclined to stay in the business relationship rather than shopping around. Keep your messages short, especially when chatting or writing an email. Try to cut your message into several short paragraphs, so that these can be easy to follow. Use acronyms and other on-line abbreviations to help others understand your message better. If you are speaking to a friend or an on-line beginner, you can make your messages longer, provided that you stick to the topic at hand.
This will avoid confusing the other person. In the same fashion, you should observe the appropriate courtesies when a company contacts you. Answering is the important thing. Even if you intend to sever the relationship, be up front about it so that the client can make alternative arrangements, rather than leaving them dangling in the wind.
With these difficult economic times, it is not fair to be dishonest with a customer. Creating favourable relationships will allow you to develop a good reputation in the business community, and this will enhance your chances for success. Not observing good manners is just bad business sense. If you are in a position where you are filling a vacant employment position, you will probably receive numerous job applications. While it may prove to be inconvenient, you should send answers to all applicants. You will create good will for your business, and those applicants will still retain a positive impression in the future. Always be careful to project your company in a good light. Being rude can come back to haunt you later. While this expression is no doubt overused, it is still a good idea to treat others the way you would like to be treated.
By following these proper and easy to implement on-line business etiquette guidelines you will be sure to leave a good impression with every Internet user you meet.
Instant Messaging (IM)
What about proper etiquette during Instant Messaging (IM) business conversations.
More and more business professionals are using various forms of on-line communication to reach out to prospects and clients. They are employing instant messaging as a way to conduct business in a whole new way.
Also known as IM, is the primary reason many people go on line. Using live chat software, you can “chat” with anyone instantly on-line, no matter where they are in the world.
Instant Messaging Manners
Unfortunately, there are many people who do not understand the manners that should be used while chatting. In order to have better etiquette and practices during your chat sessions there are some simple tips that you should follow.
Selecting your Avatar
Your avatar is a visual representation of yourself. This allows the person you are chatting with to have an idea of what you look like. If you are just chatting on a casual basis, you may want to use an unconventional or creative avatar. However, if you are using your chatting for business and are talking with business associates or superiors, you will want to use a more professional looking avatar. Doing this will allow you to gain respect from the person you are chatting with.
It is advisable to create two separate Instant Messenger accounts. Use one instant messenger account for your casual chats with friends and family and the second instant messenger account for all of your business or professional communications.
Starting an IM Chat with Clients
It can be a real challenge to decide how to start an IM conversation with a client. This is even more true if you notice that their on-line status states that they are busy. If your client does not have your Instant Messenger screen name, it is vital that you include a brief and to the point description of who you are when you first make contact.
You will also want to include a polite greeting. You may want to start with something like, “Good morning / Good afternoon, John / Mary or such like,” and then attach your full name and any other vital information. Unless you are talking to a long-time friend, you will not want to start your IM chat with, “Hi there!”
You need to be sensitive. Most people feel it is very annoying when they are trying to get work done and the IM window pops up. Especially if the person sending the Instant Messenger continues to send your messages and never takes the time to find out if you are busy or not. It is even more annoying when a person “buzzes” an IM contact and they fail to respond quickly. However, if a person does not respond, it usually indicates that they are busy or not interested in chatting at present. Be sure to be polite in your approach to the person, this will ensure the person you are contacting shall take the time to let you know if they are interested in chatting or not. It is important not to pressure a person to chat if he/she does not want to.
Define the purpose of the IM Chat
Any time you are chatting about business matters, be sure that your messages have a definite purpose. Be ready to start the chat at the designated time, with everything you need within easy reach. Remember most business personnel have a very busy schedule and do not have time to wait. If it helps, draft an outline of the topics you want to discuss and stick to the schedule, this will cut down on interruptions and ensure a more productive IM Chat. Any time you are sending messages to a client or business associate, be sure your message is as brief and to the point as possible. You have to maximize the limited space and characters you are given in the chat box.
UPPER CASE or Not
It is vital that you don’t send chat messages that are in all UPPER CASE. According to instant messaging etiquette, this is very rude.
Ending a chat message
You would not just put the phone down on a friend or business colleague, so why would you do it on IM chat. The person on the other end of the chat may be expecting a response. With this in mind, be sure the person on the other end understands that you are ready for the conversation to end. If you were having an important discussion, be sure that the person on the other end does not need any further clarifications and that he/she does not have any questions. Any time you need to leave, be sure to explain it to them properly and leave a closing greeting.
By following these proper and easy to implement Instant Messaging etiquette guidelines you will be sure to leave a good impression every time you chat with a customer, client or prospect on line.