How many of you heard “Mind Your Manners” as a kid? I know I was raised to “mind my manners” in someone else’s home, in church, with family, in public–basically everywhere. Phrases such as please, thank you, you’re welcome, in addition to proper behavior were right up there with the Golden Rule.
In your professional life, “minding your manners” can make the difference between moving forward in your career or staying stagnant. For job seekers, poor manners can keep them from potential jobs and career paths. It’s no secret that many business deals happen over a breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings. Many a business deal has gone sour due to poor manners in dining etiquette. In addition, the simple gesture as a thank you has become such a lost art that it now an exception that actually propels professionals and job seekers into an elite category. Such a simple gesture as saying thank you can make you different. WOW! In today’s world of online job postings and the “black hole” feeling of those who apply for jobs online, I am constantly being asked how to stand out. Can you believe that simply saying thank you can do just that?
Here is a quick list of best practices in joining this elite group of well-mannered business professionals:
1. Always write a thank you note within 24 hours of an interview, business meal, reception, mentoring conversation, etc.
2. In addition to writing a thank you note after a business conversation, always write a thank you note if you receive a gift, scholarship or award.
2. Circle back to people who give you advice in business and keep them updated on your progress based on their recommendations.
3. Say “You’re Welcome” or “My Pleasure” as opposed to “No Problem.” No problem may be a norm in our society, but it is not the appropriate response to someone say thank you.
4. Brush up on basic dining etiquette before attending a business meal or reception of any kind. You have no idea how noticeable and basically gross it is to watch someone use poor table manners. Use your utensils properly, don’t eat with your hands, don’t chew with your mouth open, etc. If others at your table struggles with finishing their meal due to your poor table manners, chances are the business you are hoping to solidify during that meal will not go your way.
5. Treat everyone you meet in business with the utmost respect. Receptionists, executive assistants, and custodial staff are often watching potential candidates and will report on the way they are treated.
There are so many more examples to note, so this short list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface. Please note I am not telling anyone they have to poor over etiquette books, nor am I saying that everyone has to have perfect manners to succeed in business. My point is that you will positively set yourself apart from other job seekers and career managers by exercising basic manners. Be appreciative. Be respectful. Mind Your Business Manners, and you will Be noticed.