Maintaining Manners: Business Etiquette and You

Posted May 17, 2012 by Marcy Twete in Networking Buzz

I recently read Kelly Eggers’ recent article for from the Wall Street Journal called “The Young Professional’s Guide to Workplace Etiquette.” The entire article is absolutely worth a read, but most importantly, what I found in the article was an incredible section on manners.

Too often in today’s business culture, especially for young people, we are good at looking good and presenting ourselves well, but sometimes neglect the smallest and simplest things – manners! Below is an excerpt on manners from Kelly’s article. Read the full article now by clicking here.

Maintaining Manners

If you reach out to someone and they provide you with any kind of assistance, you should send them a thank-you note. “The world is busy, people are busy,” says Williams, which is why it is important to be gracious when people take a few minutes to assist you. Imagine if you turned your back on someone and walked away without a word after they’ve answered your question or provided you with help of some kind. “Just because you’re asking via keyboard doesn’t mean you should lose the nuances of human relationships,” she says.

For Jodi Glickman, author of “Great on the Job” and founder of a career consultancy by the same name, one of the biggest rules young professionals need to follow is being considerate of other people’s time. “If you are stopping by someone’s office or picking up the phone to call them, first ask if they have a moment to speak, or if you are catching them at a bad time,” she says. It’s a small, easy-to-forget courtesy, but one that goes a long way, Glickman says.

There is also no shortage of complaints these days that young people act “entitled” in the workplace. You aren’t entitled to much as a young worker, and you need to show a level of respect for people who may, quite frankly, not show a lot of respect for you.

Williams recalls one young woman who told the owner of a company that she was “meddling” in a project she didn’t need to be involved in. “There is an arrogance, like ‘I know best, and the rules don’t apply to me,'” Williams says. “That’s wrong. There may be very few instances where you get respect for that sort of thing, but by and large that will work against you.”

The same goes for criticizing existing systems before you understand them. The young assistant described above by the magazine industry professional made a faux pas by going to her boss about a very senior colleague who she believed was being difficult. “It erupted in a screaming match” between the three of them, the more senior colleague explains. “Her mistake wasn’t playing a neutral role until she knew the workplace.”


About the Author

Marcy Twete

Marcy Twete is a career fundraiser turned corporate responsibility executive, a career and networking expert and the author of the book "You Know Everybody! A Career Girl’s Guide to Building a Network That Works."