Have you ever been in a situation that found you either a) uttering that phrase silently to yourself or b) exclaiming it to a colleague? Embarrassing, right? Almost everyone has committed a business blooper (or ten) which could have been easily avoided with a little planning and consideration. Read on for some vital tips and tricks to avoid further faux pas in business etiquette and communication.
It is recommended that all emails be responded to within 24 hours to assure senders that their concerns are being heard and their needs attended to. When dealing with customers, if their concerns are negative or powerfully expressed, a phone call may be a more appropriate response than a return email. A call implies you consider the matter too important for an electronic response and just hearing a human voice can help clients feel respected. In addition to timely and appropriate responses, here are some rules of engagement to help ensure smooth email communication:
Returning phone calls used to be considered a common business courtesy, but modern technology begs the question: What if you miss the call and the caller doesn’t leave a voicemail? Waiting for a text directive might be ok in personal communication, but in business, it is best practice to return the missed call as quickly as possible. Sometimes the caller will have already sent an email to deliver the message, in which case it is appropriate to bypass a return call and simply respond. In situations where a message has been left, always return phone calls if a return call has been promised or requested. If a time frame was given the recipient must make every attempt to return the call as quickly as possible within that framework. In addition to timely and appropriate responses, here are some rules of engagement to help ensure smooth phone communication:
Bottom line: Be flexible and adhere to the form of communication your clients prefer. If your office or company uses an advanced technology or app that the client must partake in, keep in mind that they likely have not been exposed to it, and offer to coach them in best practices.
Raise your hand if you’ve ever walked into an office kitchen and seen a sign above the sink that says, “Your mama doesn’t live here. Clean up after yourself!” Believe it or not, lunch in the office doesn’t have to be so passive-aggressive, nor do business dinners have to bring on an anxiety attack. Follow these helpful hints for meaningful and mellow mealtimes:
In the Office
At a Restaurant
Hygiene is so important in the workplace, especially when personal space is limited and team meetings are mandatory. Because ‘cleanliness’ means something different to everyone, not to mention the cultural considerations, check out these standards as defined by industry professionals:
Valuable connections begin with a good first impression and well-honed social graces, or the ability to interact politely in business scenarios. Finding out who you don’t know is often just as important as who you do, and leveraging those relationships to build connections is an important skill to add to your arsenal. Additionally, sometimes the most important aspect of communication is hearing what isn’t said, so don’t underestimate the importance of clear, appropriate body language. Developing a strong partnership requires a foundation of mutual trust and respect, and good business etiquette will help open doors and keep them open. Follow these tips to get started:
The speed with which the internet and social media change are mind-boggling, therefore it’s hard to know just how conversations will take place online in the years to come. One thing, however, remains constant: People like to be treated with respect, care, and thoughtfulness online. Don’t make a mistake that will live in screenshot infamy and follow you for the rest of your professional life! Read up on how to stay social media savvy:
The golden rule of social media is this: If you don’t plan to be actively engaged in the platform (see #10 above), it is better not to be there at all. There is nothing more off-putting to a potential customer than a barren or outdated social media account! Many businesses report significant benefits of having a bustling social media presence, but if you don’t have the time to commit, hire a professional PR & Communications firm to get the job done for you!