Etiquette is almost like a set of unspoken behaviours displayed during our personal and professional interactions. These can be dependant on the situation and or company for example, you may act differently with family at home. It is a way for us to demonstrate respect and consideration to others and makes others feel appreciated. Some say a lack of these would result in a more aggressiveness “every man for himself” attitude. Personally, I’m not entirely sure whether I agree with that as in business both can coexist.
One thing I have recently found is how many people aren’t aware of some of these. As someone who had a firm upbringing, sometimes I find myself feeling a little put out if I do see some of these behaviours when initially meeting someone. It would be interesting whether you feel the same about any of these too.
There are some basics etiquette rules which are easy to implement and work all the time. Since the basics are not as commonly observed anymore this can be quite challenging to learn. This can result in some people becoming offendended without your knowledge or worse, ruin your intended good first impression. There are a huge volume of so etiquette tips so I’ve collated 12 which you can implement in most situations. Hopefully this will help you feel confident about saying yes to that next social gathering whether it’s in a personal or professional capacity.
As I mentioned earlier there are certain acceptable social behaviours which can be applied in every situation. You should be able to implement these with ease as generally they’re common sense:
Be on time – Personal time is precious and so if you want people to treat it this way then you must set an example by being on time yourself. Should it be completely out of your control then remember to notify the person who is waiting without hesitation. People are more forgiving when they are made aware and can adjust their expectations accordingly.
Please & thank you – Cost free ways to show kindness and respect to whoever you’re interacting with. To avoid appearing passive aggressive, it is important to use these correctly.
Interrupting – Generally when people are speaking, interrupting their conversation is considered rude and shows a lack of respect for who you are interrupting. This is particularly so if the person walks over to discuss their unrealted, non-urgent matter whilst you’re in the middle of something. Should you urgently need to interrupt then be sure this is politely done.
Small talk – It’s a skill which some hate however small talk is great light conversation which helps to put people at ease. It’s important to ensure this is inclusive of all involved and doesn’t make anyone feel interrogated.
Avoid gossip – Generally talking about others behind their back should be avoided no matter how juicy the gossip is. Some may wish to do this with their closest friends however as a rule, it’s better to avoid spreading gossip with others.
Give compliments – This is an interesting one as generally you should avoid complimenting someone’s physical appearance to avoid them feeling self-conscious. At work, try and keep it work task based for example “that piece on (x) was really informative”. If it is in a social setting, then select an item over appearance “that bracelet you’re wearing is gorgeous”.
Introductions – Sometimes people we haven’t seen pop up however don’t forget the person you’re with. Introduce them so they feel included and be sure to use their given name. Some people prefer nick names to be reserved for close friends. If you happen not to be introduced yourself then be sure to ensure you make one before everyone says their goodbyes. Generally, the only times people aren’t introduced by some is when they don’t wish for them to know one another (they don’t like one of the people).
Spatial awareness – Pay attention to people’s body language. If someone pulls back when you step towards them then give them some space. No one likes to feel like their personal space is being invaded as it makes them uncomfortable.
Personal calls – Be sure to leave the room should you need to take a personal call. Be aware that the other person may not wish others to hear your conversation so keep you voice out of hearing distance of others and don’t place someone on speaker without telling them first.
Yelling between rooms – Similar to personal calls, everyone likes their business to remain private and so yelling doesn’t achieve this. If you’re in the same house then yelling is typically what’s done to locate someone. However the person yelling should then go to them in order to have the conversation not continue to yell accross the house.
Knock before entering or speaking through closed doors – Some people will push up or close doors for privacy. Therefore, it is important to knock and checking if they are free before starting a conversation or entering. Depending on the situation, they may have done this to protect your privacy as much as their own.
Reading over someone shoulder – Whether it’s newspaper, book, phone, or computer screen, reading over someone’s shoulder is a big no. It’s perceived as an intrusion of privacy. As a basic rule if you don’t think the person would show you if you asked then avoid temptation.
Bonus Noticeable Things – Holding the door/life open for someone behind you, giving way whilst driving are small things that are all noticeable.
Would you agree with these basic etiquette tips?
Let me know in the comments below if you feel there are any I’ve missed.
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