Etiquette tips for college grads entering the corporate world

After completing successful years in the college, gaining a graduate degree, you would be all set to enter the corporate world. The set of rules of socially acceptable behaviour in the corporate world would possibly be quite different from what you have gained from your college.

Here are some etiquette tips that would help you to stand in good stead in the corporate world.

  • Learn the proper protocol of making introduction. In the corporate world there is no gender based introduction protocols.
  • Learn the art of good, firm handshakes. As in the previous case there is no gender based protocols about who initiates a handshake.
  • Dress up properly and professionally. Most of the time the first impression is made based on your appearance. Always make sure that you are well-groomed whenever you are going for an interview or for a business meeting.
  • Learn the most appropriate protocols and etiquettes on using telephones or making business calls using different calling tools.
  • Brush up your written and spoken language skills. Anyone who writes error-free, grammatically correct language will gain tremendous respect from your colleagues and business clients. Whenever you are speaking to anyone in the corporate world, speak in business-like manner.
  • Try to cultivate a strong and clear speaking voice. Never use foul language or off-colour jokes in the corporate world.
  • While using social networking tools in the corporate world, always use professional tone in your conversations and posts.
  • Learn the art of networking. It will not only help you grab a good job, but will also help you too prosper in your profession. Always try and learn names quickly. Nothing more terrible than calling someone a wrong name.
  • Learn table manners. Sometimes an interview will be scheduled as a lunch or as a dinner, so that the employers can watch your table manners. It is a regular practice in the corporate world to have business meetings on a dinner table. So learning dining etiquette will help you in attaining a lot more in the corporate world.
  • Practice good manners. As in the social life, good manners and civility are considered most important in the corporate world as well. Be good to everyone. Giving respect is the best way to earn respect.

Essentials of effective business communication

One of the most important factors for the success of a business is how effective the communication is in that business organisation. No business has ever succeeded without the existence of a robust communication system. An effective business communication will have the following elements.

  • Clarity – The most important element of a good communication system is clarity. All communication going out from your business must be clear. May it be a voice call from your sales team or an email going out from your management team, every communication must be clear. A message that is not clear will have the danger of getting ignored.
  • Structure – The structure of communication is important as it determines how it is absorbed and understood by the receivers of the communication. The structure of communication consists of the opening, the body and the close. Whatever be the type of communication – email, voice call, chat, presentation – every communication measure should have these three elements present in that particular order.
  • Consistency – Your business communication should be consistent and the receivers of your communication should always feel that the position you have taken on any specific subject is consistent all through the life of the message. Consistency must also be there in the language that you use. The tenses that you use in your email or in your business call must be consistent. The consistency in your messages will surely increase your trustworthiness in the eyes of the receivers of your communication.
  • Medium – The medium that you use for communication is a very important factor in deciding the effectiveness of your communication. Based on the particular message you want to deliver you have to choose the medium of communication. If the medium you choose is inefficient then communication gap is bound to happen. Delays in delivering the message will also be fatal to the business. While choosing the medium of message, a business must also consider the cost of the using the medium as well.
  • Relevancy – Perhaps the most important factor in business communication is relevancy. All messages are not meant to be received by all. A business must be very clear about who are the receivers of a particular message before delivering it. Each message must be communicated to only those who want to receive the message or those who will gain on receiving the message. Whether your message is going to enhance the prospects of your business or is going to pull it down will depend on the relevancy of the message.

Gender in business world – things to understand

Equality woman man concept

Gender is an important factor in corporate world. We can take a look at some of the things that are to be taken care of while we consider gender in business world.

  • Use Ms. in spoken and written business communication
  • If a lady wants to be addressed Mrs. she is expected to inform others
  • Introductions not based on gender but on hierarchy
  • Expected to shake hands with all
  • No gender based handshakes – offer a firm handshake
  • No gender based protocol on who initiates a handshake
  • Use gender neutral nouns – chairperson, businessperson
  • Handshakes universally accepted; pat on the back may be acceptable
  • No showering off excessive compliments
  • No cracking off-colour jokes
  • Liberated women don’t expect men to hold open doors for them

How to handle a tough boss

At some point of time in our corporate lives we will have an occasion to handle a tough boss. Bosses who are short tempered or inefficient or are prone to bragging are all tough bosses to handle. Handling such tough bosses could be tricky. Following ideas could help you in handling a tough boss.

  • Understand them – The first step in handling a tough boss is understanding him/her. Some people would be difficult to handle but they would be good at heart. So taking an adversary style position against a tough boss could be counterproductive. Therefore understanding the boss is the most important step in handling him/her
  • Accept them – Accept the boss as it is. There is no point in feeling frustrated about a tough boss, as it will only hurt you and your prospects in a company. Concentrate in your work and give less importance to your frustration on working with a tough boss
  • Show enthusiasm – When you are to handle a tough boss, show more enthusiasm in your work, which could help you in riding over the tough situation at hand, Your boss might change his/her attitude towards you if he/she finds you to be an enthusiastic worker
  • Be punctual to a workaholic boss – A workaholic is tough to handle as well. While you are working with a workaholic boss try to be punctual always
  • Once in a while stay back – Staying back once in a while is a good tactic to handle a tough boss
  • Ignore taunts of bully bosses, if unbearable complain to HR
  • Bragging boss – laugh it off when you are alone

How to deal with your teammates when you are the manager

When you are the manager or the boss you need to assume greater responsibility of making sure that your team enjoys a great working environment that improves their productivity. You need to behave in a friendly way towards your team. Your main aim should be to get maximum results out from your team. The following points will help you in getting the desired result from your team.

  • Gauge body language signals – As a manager it is quite impiortant to guage the body language signal of your teammates and act accordingly. Not everyone will be btrave enough to present their opinions to their managers. It is your responsibility as a manager to understand their grievances and act to find solutions
  • Give people a chance to speak – As a manager you need to give everyone a chance to speak and to give their opinions and sugggestions. You should encourage your teammates to speak out; you never know from whom an inspirational idea might come up
  • Use simple language – Gain confidence of your teammates by speaking their language, a language not filled with complex jargon, but rather a simple one
  • It is called a ‘dialogue’ – Your conversation with your team is called dialogue, ie., it should not be a one man affair, where you are always speaking and others are listening. A dialogue, where ideas and suggestions are exchanged between the manager and the teammates is what enhances the productivity of the team
  • Focus on ‘you’ and not ‘I’ – The focus of a manager dialogue with his team should not be on you the manager, but it should be about the team and its members
  • A smile helps – When you are the manager, a smile always helps to put the team at ease with you.

Things to remember when you do voice calls

Beautiful customer representative with headset smiling during a telephone conversation

Voice call etiquette is a very important subject when you are working in a corporate environment. There are certain things that are to be kept in mind while you are making voice calls.

  • Speak clearly
  • When you start a call smile and speak
  • Do not allow the phone to ring more than thrice
  • Always use a pleasant, congenial and friendly tone
  • Never interrupt the person while he/she is talking to you
  • Never engage in an argument with a caller
  • Do not use slang words
  • If you are not getting the accent, request the person to speak slowly
  • Do not give the impression that you are rushed. It is better to return the call if you are busy
  • It is not about speaking fast, it is about speaking clear

Things to remember while doing business chat using messenger tools

In a business environment you will get many occasions where you will have to chat with your clients, managers and colleagues. While doing such business chats using messenger tools there are many things that are to be kept in mind.

  • Create an identity – You need to create an identity in the chat tool with your name and an image. Creating a genuine identity is important to generate trust in those with whom you will have to chat
  • Add a photo – The best practice to follow is to add your own photo instead of any other representative image
  • Introduce yourself – When you are chatting with someone for the first time, you need to introduce yourself
  • Messages to the point – Business chats are generally very serious affairs and hence messages must be to the point
  • Availability status feature – Most chat tools will have the feature to set your availability statius. So while you are away from your seat you need to put the status as ‘away’
  • Think before you hit enter – Before you hit the enter button and thereby sending the message, think. Read again, make sure that what you have typed is logically and grammatically correct
  • Listen and pay attention – Give complete attention to what you say and what you hear while in a business chat
  • Be polite – As always in your social life, you need to be polite during your business chats as well
  • Font, text and colour – The messages that you send should be professional in its appearance as well. You need to use professional font, text and colours. Never use flambouyant fonts and styles for your business chats
  • Language and tone – Language and tone of your chat should be professional. You are chatting in a business environment, not to your friends or relatives
  • Jargon, slang, abbreviations – You have to be careful about the jargons, slangs and abbreviations that you use while chatting. May be the person at the other end is unaware of the slangs and abbreviations that you use
  • Give enough time to respond – You should always give the other person enough time to respond to your messages
  • Humour with caution – Humour is a double edged sword and you need to be extremely careful while you use humour in a business chat. We will speak about it in detail in other post

Things to keep in mind while attending business meetings

In corporate life attending meetings is as certain as death and taxes. While attending business meetings you should keep in mind the following things.

  • Be punctual – punctual for a meeting means arriving 5 minutes early – for an interview, arrive 10 minutes early
  • Dress well
  • When a meeting runs late and you need to be somewhere else, always be prepared to explain why
  • Do your home work and go prepared
  • Do not interrupt people
  • If there is an established seating pattern, accept it. If you are unsure, ask
  • Meeting not a place for confrontation
  • When you speak, be brief and to the point
  • At the end thank the person who organised the meeting
  • Switch off your mobile phone

Respecting privacy and personal space in office

In the previous post we mentioned about the importance of respecting the personal space of others in the a office. In this post we will see what are the things that are to be kept in mind while working in a corporate environment vis-a-vis other’s personal space and privacy.

  • Seek permission before visiting a colleague
  • Respect privacy of others, resist urge to eavesdrop
  • No borrowing or lending – you are not school kids
  • Keep your desks locked when away
  • Use non verbal signs to politely get rid of ‘intruders’
  • Loud cell phone users intrude personal space
  • In India, generally more space is maintained between men and women, less between members of the same gender