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Mind your manners!

John Heckers //April 7, 2010//

Mind your manners!

John Heckers //April 7, 2010//

I was in the elevator and she shoved me aside to get in. When I said “Please wait until someone gets out of the elevator to get in,” she gave me a well known hand sign usually reserved for the highway. The lack of manners in our society and in the business world is a pandemic.

Unfortunately, a lack of manners can cost you a customer, a job or a promotion. Here are some things I’ve seen that you should definitely not do:

1). Interrupting. This is especially an issue with East or West Coasters. Let someone finish their thought before you open your mouth and barge in with your opinion or thought. In case your mommy didn’t tell you, interrupting is rude, crude and socially unacceptable.

2). Crude language. When we’re with people we know well and trust, many of us use some vulgarities. But when you’re trying to sell something, make a presentation or in a business meeting, these things are rarely appropriate. Unfortunately, these words will slip out of your mouth if you use them all the time in other settings. Cut down their use in all settings.

3). Blasphemy. Nobody thinks much about using the name of a deity as an expletive anymore. But this can be incredibly offensive to people who deeply believe in that particular deity and practice their faith. You never know when a prospect, a prospective employer, or your new boss is a person of faith. Cut out the blasphemy or you might just get struck by career lightning.

4). Shoving past people. Pushing past someone who is getting out of a elevator or walking more slowly than you would like shows you were born in a barn. You really can slow yourself down for a few seconds. If you simply must stride past someone, gently place your hand on the person’s arm and say “excuse me please” in a very nice tone, as you pass. Getting to your oh-so-important meeting 10 seconds later won’t kill you.

5). Talking loudly on cell phones in a restaurant. If you simply must take a phone call, pick up the phone, inform the caller you’re in a restaurant and need to get to a quiet place, politely excuse yourself from the table and go someplace (like outside) where your loud voice on the phone isn’t going to disturb other diners. You aren’t the only person in the restaurant, you know.

6). Texting while at meetings or in restaurants. Texting while meetings are going on or while you’re eating with others in the height of rudeness. You really can be out of touch with your BFFs for an hour or so. Listen to and actually interact with real people.

7). Checking e-mail or surfing the Net while in a meeting. We all have our laptops with us in meetings. The temptation is to e-mail or surf while the meeting is going on. If you’re trying to find info for the meeting, that’s fine. If you’re entertaining yourself or working on another project, this can get you in deep trouble.

8). Not knowing the restaurant meeting rules. Don’t order an alcoholic beverage unless the most important person at the table (like a boss or customer) orders one. Don’t order the most outrageously expensive thing on the menu. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Don’t wolf down your food. Know your spoons and forks, and so on. If you don’t know how to eat properly, ask someone to tutor you in proper restaurant etiquette so you don’t make a complete fool of yourself at a job interview or business meeting.

9). Discounting what a superior has just said. One woman I know didn’t get a job because she was rude and halfway through what the interviewer was trying to convey to her, said very impatiently “I get it, I get it” to shut up the interviewer. Curb your impatience and narcissistic reactions to others.

10). Reeking. I don’t care if you reek of smoke, perfume or cologne, it is incredibly rude. ‘Others may have allergies to your perfume or cologne, or it just might stink. Save the perfume or cologne for a date, and, if you really want to get ahead, find ways to stop smoking.

Poor manners is a sign of both the general narcissism and crudity that exist in our society. Take the focus off of yourself and think about how others perceive you in various settings. Then mind your manners!

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