The holidays present opportunities and challenges. These seven holiday tips for the polished professional will guide you through the season.
1. Holiday Greeting Cards When you send out greeting cards, sign each one personally and write a short note. . Even if you have preprinted information on the card, your handwritten signature and a personal message will add warmth to your greeting.
2. Sending E-cards In today’s high-tech world, the question about sending your holiday greetings by email always comes up. It is not rude to send e-cards, but they are not as effective as those sent by old-fashioned snail mail. Your cute and clever electronic message with singing Santas and dancing trees is a fleeting greeting. The recipient will click on the URL, download the card, read it, smile and, in all probability, delete it.
3. The Office Party Attendance is mandatory. Don’t even consider NOT going unless you have a justifiable conflict. Show up even if the thought of spending your precious off hours with co-workers and colleagues is less than appealing. The office party is part of your job so put on your best professional attitude and go.
4. Minding Your Table Manners During the holiday season there will be the usual round of business/social events including cocktail receptions, luncheons and dinners. Now might be a good time to brush up on your dining etiquette. Whether you are eating in a restaurant, the corporate dining hall or in someone’s home (like the boss’s), your table manners will be an indication of your professionalism and your polish. It really does matter which fork you use, how you eat your bread and where you put your napkin.
5. Business Entertaining Over Meals The holidays are a good time to invite your clients and customers out for a meal. Because this is a festive occasion, it is not a time when you want to dwell on business. It is more of a time to work on building relationships. Entertaining your client over a meal requires that you have good conversational skills, confidence in social settings and first-rate table manners.
6. Corporate Gift-Giving Follow the corporate guidelines. Some companies have strict policies about what kinds of gifts, if any, their employees may receive. If you have any doubt, ask your clients or check with their personnel department. Be creative. Look for items that are distinctive and different. Make your gift stand out just as you want your company to stand out.
7. Exchanging gifts with colleagues and co-workers Inner office gift-giving can often cause problems and confusion although it is well-intended. Everyone in the office or department should be in agreement as to how this will be done. Will each person be expected to have a gift for everyone else? Will there be a drawing for names so that only one gift needs to be purchased? Will a price range identified? In difficult financial times, consideration should be given to each individual’s circumstances. No one should be made to feel embarrassed if it is not the best time to enter the office pool.
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.