Good manners are essential for everyday life in the workplace and are a vital prerequisite for progressing to the next step on your career path. Staying in control of how we act is not something we are born with and even as adults we must always ensure that politeness, punctuality, friendliness and thoughtfulness are observed at all times. Our 10 tips to guarantee that you will make the perfect impression!
- 1. Politeness is an absolute must
It doesn’t matter how indignant or angry you may be in a situation – make sure that you are utterly polite. Confident, measured behaviour is the most important thing here. An inappropriate show of anger will not work in your favour at all. On the contrary: Neither your superiors nor your fellow colleagues will value your outburst.
- 2. Keep your distance
It may be a sign of trust and cohesion in private conversations but in a professional environment, being too close to somebody is an absolute no-no. Give the person you are talking to an appropriate amount of personal space and ensure that the conversation offers them chances to speak. It could make the person you are talking to feel uncomfortable if you encroach too much on their personal space during the discussion.
- 3. Be careful with criticism
Constructive criticism is vital for career progression: shared goals can only be achieved if the team is strong and open to mutually giving and receiving criticism. But beware: criticism is only appropriate in a one-on-one conversation and should not be voiced in wider group scenarios. Making people look bad in public is to be avoided at all costs because these kinds of faux-pas could have unpleasant consequences for you.
- 4. Greeting people correctly
The person of highest position should always be greeted first, even when one of the people to be greeted is a woman. Furthermore, the following rule applies: older people should be greeted before younger people and women before men.
- 5. Do not leave your visitors on their own
When you are receiving guests it is important that you show them to the designated room rather than sending them on their own through your office. It is also your duty to show them to the door after the meeting has finished.
- 6. Business cards
If you have received a business card, do not simply put it in your pocket. Read it through carefully, as this makes the person giving you the card feel that they are important to you. In return, please always have your own business card to hand so as to show interest in further contact.
- 7. Mobile phones: a no-no!
We all know how impolite it can be to answer a call half way through another conversation. That’s why the following also applies to the working world: Only answer your phone if it is urgent and switch it to silent where possible.
- 8. E-mail communications
Although e-mails can sometimes feel like a relaxed method of communication, please observe a polite style: avoid abbreviations and always choose the politest option for addressing people.
- 9. Punctuality
Please observe strict timekeeping with regard to attending meetings. Punctuality is a sign of being interested and of valuing your colleagues. Always prepare as well as possible for meetings and look at all of the documents beforehand so that you come across as confident and professional.
- 10. Small talk
You will face small talk time and again in the workplace, whether during a short conversation in the lift or at the beginning of the next meeting. The following rule of thumb applies: positive and harmless topics are the best things to talk about, avoiding making political statements or grumbling.
Did you know…? The famous German “Knigge” etiquette rules go back to Adolph Freiherr von Knigge (1752-1796), who was a German Enlightenment thinker. The effects of his most famous work, “On Human Relations”, are still evident today. The book was a success during his own lifetime and it was rewritten and republished many times over the years, now seen as a standard reference book about all things related to manners.