Unwritten Rules to Mastering the Basics of Social Grace

Unwritten Rules to Mastering the Basics of Social Grace
Photo by Priscilla Du Preez 🇨🇦 / Unsplash

In today's fast-paced world, it's important to remember the basic code of polite behavior in society. Whether in a corporate setting, at a business meeting, or during a lunch or dinner meeting, it's crucial to exhibit good manners and show respect to others.

Corporate etiquette involves dressing appropriately for the workplace, being punctual, and using polite language while communicating with colleagues and superiors. It's also important to be mindful of personal space and avoid invading other people's privacy.

Meeting etiquette includes being prepared, actively listening to others, and avoiding distractions such as mobile phones or laptops. It's also important to show appreciation for others' ideas and opinions, and to avoid interrupting or talking over others.

Basic manners during lunch and dinner meetings involve using utensils appropriately, being polite to waitstaff, and avoiding discussing controversial or sensitive topics. It's also important to be mindful of others' dietary restrictions and preferences.

Elevator etiquette involves being patient and allowing others to exit before entering, avoiding overcrowding, and refraining from using mobile phones or engaging in loud conversations.

By following these simple yet important guidelines, we can create a more respectful and courteous society.

What are the different steps involved in following corporate etiquette?

Customer Etiquette

When it comes to dealing with customers, it's crucial to have a clear understanding of what's important. While there are a few key steps to follow, the most critical factor is to have patience. This means taking the time to listen carefully to your customer's concerns, questions, or complaints, and responding with empathy and understanding.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is to avoid taking any comments or insults personally. Customers may be frustrated or upset, but it's essential to maintain a professional demeanor and not let it affect you.

Another key point is to avoid interrupting your customer. Allow them to finish speaking before you respond. This shows that you respect their opinion and are interested in helping them.

It's also important to stay focused on your product. This means having a good understanding of its features, benefits, and limitations so that you can answer any questions or concerns your customer may have.

Showing empathy towards your customer is another crucial aspect of dealing with customers effectively. This means understanding their needs, feelings, and frustrations and responding in a way that is supportive and helpful.

If you make a mistake, take responsibility for it. It's essential to acknowledge your errors, apologize, and take steps to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.

Finally, use three golden words frequently: Sorry, Welcome, and Thank You. These words can go a long way in showing your customer that you care about their experience and are committed to providing excellent service.

Phone Etiquette

It is best to avoid talking while eating as the person on the other end of the line can hear your chewing sounds. Moreover, taking the phone to the washroom is not advisable as your phone’s microphone can pick up the sounds there. Also, it is recommended to avoid using the speakerphone as it can compromise privacy.

When you speak to a customer, it is always good to identify yourself and tell them where you are calling from. After that, ask them, “How may I help you?” If you miss a call and need to return it, but the person on the other end does not pick up the phone, do not call repeatedly. Instead, leave a message. This is especially important when you are trying to get in touch with a customer, client, or your boss.

Email Etiquette

Please keep in mind the following tips for writing effective emails:

1. Write a clear and specific subject line that identifies the main topic of your email.

2. Use polite language, even if you are upset or unhappy with a product or service.

3. Address the recipient by their name or title (e.g. Dear Mr. Garg, Miss Bhatia, Sir/Madam).

4. Avoid grammar and spelling mistakes by proofreading your email before sending it.

5. End your email appropriately with a closing such as Thank You, Yours Faithfully, Regards, Best, etc.

6. Keep your email simple and easy to understand. Don't confuse the reader with complex language or jargon.

7. Use short paragraphs (2-3 sentences) to break up your email and make it easier to read.

8. Always review your email before hitting the Send button to ensure that it is clear, concise, and error-free.

Business Dress

It is recommended to wear formal attire that is both comfortable and professional-looking. Avoid dressing in a way that appears unprofessional.

Cubical Etiquette

When sharing a workspace, it is important to be mindful of others around you. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  1. Knock before entering: Always knock and wait for a response before entering someone else's workspace. This shows respect for their privacy and allows them to prepare for your arrival.
  2. Don't interrupt: If someone is on the phone or engrossed in their work, wait for a natural break before starting a conversation. Interrupting them could cause them to lose their train of thought or become frustrated.
  3. Don't peek or peep: Avoid looking over someone's shoulder or trying to see what they are working on. This can be seen as invasive and disrespectful.
  4. Speak quietly: Keep your voice down to avoid disturbing your colleagues. If you need to have a conversation, speak in a low tone or move to a private area.
  5. Use an earpiece for phone calls: If you need to make or take a call, use an earpiece or headset to keep your conversation private and avoid disturbing others around you.

By following these guidelines, you can help create a comfortable and respectful workspace for everyone.

Interview Etiquette

Please ensure that you arrive on time for your interview, at least 15 minutes earlier, and avoid repeatedly asking, "How long will this take?" It's important to not rush, and to allocate ample time for your interview. Before the interview, make sure to update your resume and familiarize yourself with its contents. Dress professionally and ensure that your hair is neat and tidy. Knock before entering the interview room and greet everyone. Finally, remember to say "Thank You" before leaving.

Please take note of the following key point: Meeting Etiquette.

Meetings are a common occurrence in every office. In some offices, the day begins with a meeting where everyone observes how each person talks and behaves, including the boss, participants, and the person recording the minutes of the meeting. Therefore, everyone has a role to play. However, a meeting has specific rules that must be followed, which include:

  1. Be punctual: Do not follow the "Indian Standard Time" or any other tardy behavior. Nobody appreciates latecomers, regardless of seniority. If you are unavoidably late, quietly enter the meeting room and apologize for your tardiness. Then, focus on the meeting.
  2. Be well-groomed: Always be neat and tidy. Follow the dress code for the meeting, whether formal or casual. For instance, a family meeting can be casual. This generates a positive impression.
  3. No mobile phones: Turn off your mobile phone for the duration of the meeting or put it on silent mode. Do not chat or check social media messages.
  4. Be prepared: Be well-versed with the meeting's agenda. Do all the necessary paperwork in advance so that you are ready for all possible questions.
  5. Avoid interrupting the speaker: If you do not agree with something the speaker is saying, wait until they finish speaking. Then, politely express your thoughts. A meeting is a discussion, so do not turn it into an argument.
  6. Stay on topic: Do not deviate from the meeting's agenda. Meetings are time-bound, so do not raise any issues that are not on the agenda.

Basic Manners during Lunch and Dinner Meetings

In the iconic Bollywood movie, Satte Pe Satta, there is a memorable scene where the seven siblings are gathered around a dinner table, eagerly and fiercely attacking the food. Although it is an entertaining and lighthearted moment in the film, it is definitely not something we would want to replicate in real life! It is important to remember the importance of enjoying a meal in a civilized and respectful manner, rather than engaging in a chaotic frenzy. After all, good table manners are an essential part of social etiquette and can make the dining experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Please take note of the following key point: Table Manners

Table manners are a set of guidelines that can help you appear more polite and refined while dining. Although they are not strict rules, they can make a difference in how you are perceived by others. Here are some tips on table manners:

  1. Avoid "phubbing": It's impolite to be on your phone while dining with others. Keep your phone on silent and avoid using it during the meal.
  2. Seating etiquette: Wait for the host to sit down first, along with the ladies. Then, spread your napkin on your knee and start a conversation with others.
  3. Body language: It is okay to keep your elbows on the table before the food arrives and you begin eating. Sit straight and try to avoid slouching.
  4. Follow the B-D formula: Remember that your bread is on the left and your drink is on the right. Make "b" and "d" with your fingers to help you remember this. Don't pick up someone else's glass or chapati as you eat and are engrossed in conversation. Ask others to pass dishes that are kept far from you and avoid extending your arms to pick them up.
  5. Maintain hygiene: Wash your hands before and after a meal.
  6. No talking while eating: Avoid speaking while you are chewing food.
  7. Wait for the host: Wait for the host to signal to you that you should start eating. Always appreciate the food and compliment the host on the meal.
  8. Fork vs. Hand Culture: If you are unsure which way to eat, observe the culture of the region you are in. In a five-star hotel or restaurant, it's generally safer to adopt western customs such as eating with a fork or knife.
  9. Excuse yourself: If you need to use the washroom or take an urgent phone call, a simple "Excuse Me" is enough, rather than explaining what you have to do.
  10. Ending: When you have finished eating, place your knife and fork in the five positions to indicate to the waiters that you have finished and they can pick up your plate.

Elevator/Lift Etiquette.

It is important to remember that even using the lift is an opportunity to interact with people and to be considerate of others. When leaving your professional space, such as your office, it is essential to maintain good manners.

For instance, always let other people who are waiting for the lift go in before you, even if it means waiting for the next lift. Offer assistance to older people who may require help to enter the lift. Remember to give priority to ladies and elders.

Hold the lift door open by pressing the right button so that everyone can enter comfortably. Only press the button for the floor you are going to. Keep your distance from others and avoid pushing or trying to rush out of the lift.

When exiting the lift, say "Excuse me" and make your way outside. If you are blocking someone's exit route, step out of the lift, let the person walk out, and then re-enter the lift.

Remember that good manners are always important and can leave a positive impression on others.