Etiquettes: Meaning and Types02/06/2020
Etiquette in simpler words is defined as good behaviour which distinguishes human beings from animals.
Etiquette is the set of conventional rules of personal behaviour in polite society, usually in the form of an ethical code that delineates the expected and accepted social behaviors that accord with the conventions and norms observed by a society, a social class, or a social group. In modern English usage, the French word étiquette (ticket) dates from the year 1750.
Human Being is a social animal and it is really important for him to behave in an appropriate way. Etiquette refers to behaving in a socially responsible way.
Etiquette refers to guidelines which control the way a responsible individual should behave in the society.
Need for Etiquette
- Etiquette makes you a cultured individual who leaves his mark wherever he goes.
- Etiquette teaches you the way to talk, walk and most importantly behave in the society.
- Etiquette is essential for an everlasting first impression. The way you interact with your superiors, parents, fellow workers, friends speak a lot about your personality and up- bringing.
- Etiquette enables the individuals to earn respect and appreciation in the society. No one would feel like talking to a person who does not know how to speak or behave in the society. Etiquette inculcates a feeling of trust and loyalty in the individuals. One becomes more responsible and mature. Etiquette helps individuals to value relationships.
Types of Etiquette
Social Etiquette- Social etiquette is important for an individual as it teaches him how to behave in the society.
Bathroom Etiquette: Bathroom etiquette refers to the set of rules which an individual needs to follow while using public restrooms or office toilets. Make sure you leave the restroom clean and tidy for the other person.
Corporate Etiquette: Corporate Etiquette refers to how an individual should behave while he is at work. Each one needs to maintain the decorum of the organization. Don’t loiter around unnecessary or peep into other’s cubicles.
Wedding Etiquette: Wedding is a special event in every one’s life. Individuals should ensure they behave sensibly at weddings. Never be late to weddings or drink uncontrollably.
Meeting Etiquette: Meeting Etiquette refers to styles one need to adopt when he is attending any meeting, seminar, presentation and so on. Listen to what the other person has to say. Never enter meeting room without a notepad and pen. It is important to jot down important points for future reference.
Telephone Etiquette: It is essential to learn how one should interact with the other person over the phone. Telephone etiquette refers to the way an individual should speak on the phone. Never put the other person on long holds. Make sure you greet the other person. Take care of your pitch and tone.
Eating Etiquette: Individuals must follow certain decorum while eating in public. Don’t make noise while eating. One should not leave the table unless and until everyone has finished eating.
Business Etiquette: Business Etiquette includes ways to conduct a certain business. Don’t ever cheat customers. It is simply unethical.
To conclude, etiquette transforms a man into a gentleman.
Business etiquette also goes by the moniker business etiquettes. However, English language does not stipulate any plural form for the word. Hence, the term etiquette is generally taken as correct.
Online Business Dictionary defines business etiquette as “Expected behaviors and expectations for individual actions within society, group or class. Within a place of business, it involves treating coworkers and employer with respect and courtesy in a way that creates a pleasant work environment for everyone.”
Further, business etiquette is also defined as a set of manners that are needed or practiced in profession. Sometimes, they are vaguely termed customs or traditions.
Every person following that trade or profession is expected to follow these manners. Indeed, violating accepted manners or customs is considered uncivilized. Additionally, such violations can cause loss of business.
However, the term business etiquette is often considered vague: While it does imply how you deal with your customers, associates and others, it is also useful within the office.
Business etiquette helps foster responsible and respectful behavior among staff and also sets pace for better communications. This translates into higher productivity and efficiency.
Business etiquette makes everyone feel comfortable. It helps forge relationships and builds loyalty. In fact, business etiquette is extremely vital for your business, regardless of its size. Success or failure of your business depends heavily upon etiquette you and others display to one-another and to others.
Business etiquette and corporate culture
Business etiquette is integral part of corporate culture. Rather, it is considered the very foundation of corporate culture. Understandably, corporate culture sans business etiquette is ersatz.
Business etiquette and corporate culture are braided. Meaning, one cannot exist without the other.
Types of business etiquette
Understandably, this is sufficient to mystify you. There are several types of business etiquette that you need to practice and implement, for having a successful business. Alternatively, great business etiquette can also help you stay ahead of peers and competitors. Broadly, you need to apply business etiquette in five main spheres:
Email business etiquette
Nowadays, emails constitute bulk of every business communications. Hence, it is imperative to inculcate excellent business etiquette while sending or responding to emails. Good business etiquette for email includes
- Avoid mass mailing. Such emails usually end up in spam. Further, they indicate you are only interested in making money, with scant respect for individuals.
- Explicitly mention subject of your email. This leaves no space for ambiguity and clearly informs the recipient, what the email is about.
- Mention the recipient’s full name with appropriate suffix. This personalizes the email. Add Mr., Ms, Mrs., before the name. It is polite. Follow this with ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ according to the receiver.
- Do not write long paragraphs. Remember to limit your paragraphs to two or three sentences only.
- Be concise yet precise in your message. Meaning, do not beat round the bush. Come directly to the point and mention what you wish to say.
- Express gratitude. You could be dealing with a petulant customer or business associate. Do not take umbrage. Instead, thank the sender and acknowledge the email. End by thanking the sender for cooperation and time spent on reading your email. This dents the sender’s fury. Follow this practice for your regular business emails too.
- Never add CC and Bcc unless extremely essential. Every recipient prefers to deal with a single point of contact. Adding more people to an email tends to widen the scope of respondents and can inadvertently confuse the recipient.
- Above all, immediately acknowledge every email you receive. This implies your company is proactive. Further, it builds a great confidence level with the sender.
- Add your digital signature if possible. Also, mention your name, designation and contact details clearly while concluding the email. While mentioning phone numbers, also state timings when you can be called.
- Provide a link to your website, tacitly directing the recipient to explore your company’s offerings.
You can distribute a standard template for official email among your staff. This ensures consistency in email communication across the board.
Social media etiquette
Thanks to proliferation of Facebook and Twitter, an increasing number of companies are now taking to social media. Firstly, Facebook allows you to post fun stuff on your corporate page while Twitter helps reach out to clients and business associates speedily. It also helps companies listen to their customers- both satisfied and unhappy.
- Judicious use of smiley. Meaning, use a smiley that suits the comment. Try to avoid use of ‘Laugh’ or ‘Angry’ smiley since it can offend the person posting the comment. Worse, you may draw ire from the entire community for using inappropriate smiley.
- Respond politely to every adverse comment. Never get into the proverbial ‘tit-for-tat’ mode while handling clients or business associates on Facebook. Similarly, never go all out to appease someone who has made an adverse or negative comment about your offerings. Remember, your comments can go viral within minutes and severely sully your brand.
- Respond at the earliest. This is the secret of staying ahead of competition. Every person who comments wants a response at the earliest. Doing so increases the chances of getting more ‘likes’ for your Facebook page.
- Get genderless. Obviously, you lack the means to known whether a person making comments is female or male. Therefore, respond in a manner that appeals to all genders.
- Never tarnish competitors and rivals. Nor should you allow your ‘friends’ to post negative remarks about them. Delete such comments or posts, as soon as you notice them. You could unwitting fall prey to a tactic by rivals or land in a war of words.
Customer service etiquette
Another integral part of business etiquette is how you deal or interact with customers. Here, it is essential to bear in mind that customer is the core of your business. Admittedly, some customers are cantankerous and hard to please. Yet, that is no reason for showing disrespect.
- Greet all customers with a smile. Guide them to a seat if possible. Offer a drink of water. Such etiquette calms down even the most rancorous visitor.
- Be very patient. Not all customers are there with grievances. Some may have excellent suggestion that can help your business flourish.
- Speak amicably. Meaning, never get into an argument with a customer either on or away from your premises.
- Avoid raising your voice at all costs. The person can feel humiliated and will bay for revenge. You could end up with a lawsuit on your hands. It also sends ugly signals to others, including your staff. Should you encounter a boisterous visitor, lead away to privacy of a room and chat amicably.
- Offer a beverage such as coffee, tea or a soft drink. Invariably, this tact cools down even the most incensed customer.
Business associate etiquette
Generally, this means the entire system of how you deal with your business associates. Of course, no businessman or executive will treat a business associate shabbily. However, modern businesses require a chic, proactive approach. Here is some vital business etiquette essential nowadays
- Fix meetings at mutually convenient venues, date and time.
- Be present at the venue well in advance.
- If you are playing host, ensure that stationery, water bottles and cups as well as other essentials are in place.
- Ensure that all files and documents relevant for the meeting are available at the venue.
- Have someone meet, greet and escort your business associates to the meeting room. If possible, do so yourself. Greet your associates with a bouquet.
- Never keep your business associates waiting.
- Ensure you are not disturbed by phone calls.
- If a business associate drops by uninformed, ensure you meet them without much delay.
Charity, education and all the good stuff starts at home. So does workplace etiquette. Unless your staff and you have excellent workplace etiquette, you cannot enforce them effectively for business. Workplace etiquette stems from office decorum. Here are few things you can do for improving workplace etiquette:
- Inform all staff about ‘do’s’ and ‘don’ts’ at the office. This means, strict ban on cuss and swear words.
- Encourage a system of greeting one-another, especially when one arrives for work or leaves for the day.
- Create an atmosphere of confidence, where employees at all echelons can share views openly, without fears of retribution.
- Nip unhealthy gossip.
- Maintain a proper dress code. Smart attire is fine but also ensure your staff do not arrive in sagging clothes that stink of stale sweat.
- Promote avenues for healthy interaction. Never allow personal disputes to erupt into verbal duels at workplace
A telephone is important extension of your business. It allows people from afar to connect immediately. The advent and booming popularity of mobile phones has not diminished the significance of a landline phone. Every major company has landline phones where business associates and customers can contact.
Usually, your telephone operator will come well versed in etiquette. However, the problem begins once the call gets passed.
- Ensure the call is handled promptly, even if the called person is not on desk.
- Apologize for the called person’s absence but ask if the caller requires any assistance.
- Wherever possible, ask the caller’s name and contact number and assure the called person will respond back at the earliest.
- Find if you can be of any assistance or whether the call can be diverted to another staff who could help.
- Always answer with a polite ‘hello’ instead of a curt ‘hi’ or other word.
- Be very selective in use of your words. Sometimes, it could be your boss calling for some work.
Visitors to your office need not necessarily be your business associates or customers. Mailman, delivery staff, maintenance crew and motley other people also visit your office almost daily.
These visitors are equally vital for your business as the millionaire banker. Often, some such visitors may lack proper etiquette or manners while dealing with some senior executive. This is no reason to fly off your rocker. Instead, here are things you can do:
- Have the visitor led to a person concerned with these works.
- Make the visitor feel welcome to your office by offering a seat and a drink of water, if possible.
- Engage such visitor in small talk for a minute or so. Remember, such talk greatly serves to relieve the stress of a mailman or electrician.
- Never dismiss such visitors as menial. Instead, accord them the same welcome as you would a business associate.
- Never admonish a worker for some work left incomplete or wrong repairs. Hurting their ego will not serve your purpose. Au contraire, it can prove counterproductive.
Business party etiquette
Once again, this includes a list of do’s and don’ts, whether you are playing host or attending a business party. Interestingly, lots more work gets done informally during business parties rather than routine meetings.
To make your attendance or hosting a success, here is some good etiquette:
- Always send an RSVP if invited for a business party, regardless of whether you attend.
- Ask for RSVP when sending business party invitations.
- Business party invitations usually stipulate a dress code. Ensure that you adhere to this dress code if invited. Specifically mention the dress code if you are playing host.
- Ensure you mention whether the invitation is for your business associate only or includes the spouse. This will save embarrassment to both, host and guests.
- Invite people who share common interests and can provide life to your party. Calling people with diverse interests causes formation of small groups. This leaves some guests feeling lonely or in wrong company.
- Have a very affable staff watch over your bar and buffet. This is not to watch over your guests but ensure that drinks and food flow is well maintained and smooth. A staff with condescending looks, however effusive, can be a deterrent to enjoyment.
- Never segregate staff based on their positions, during a party. This is a clear signal that your firm discriminates between high and low rung employees. Such feelings can adversely impact your organization’s image. It is party time and everyone has right to enjoy.