Tag Archives: cell phone etiquette

Business Etiquette – The Key to Success

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Business etiquette may seem out-dated to the new generation of small business owners and their employees as well as large corporations who don’t see a need for it in this digital age. Those who overlook  the value of business etiquette are losing business everyday.

Perhaps it occurs when the customer walks in and no one bothers to offer a greeting.or an acknowledgement of any sort. It may be that the customer’s name is never used. Perhaps the employees look as if they are dressed for a day at the beach rather than at the office.  Any number of details can either cost you business or win customers over.  In any case there is a direct connection between business etiquette and the bottom line.

Business Etiquette – The Key to Success

We all know that people do business with people they like.Here are some aspects of business etiquette that can improve your credibility and like-ability.

Make a good first impression.  You only get one chance. Smile, make eye contact and ask how you can help. Every customer has the right to expect recognition and courtesy within the first few seconds.

Professional appearance counts.  Clients and colleagues will judge your level of professionalism before you even open your mouth so dress appropriately at all times.  In the business world it is always better to be dressed more conservatively than not. If your organization does not have a dress code, create one. Don’t leave how your people should dress to their imagination.

Work at remembering names. When you are introduced to people, focus on their name, not on what you are going to say next.  If you repeat the name in the form of a question as soon as you meet the person, you will stand a better chance of remembering it the next time. For example when you are introduced to John Doe, reply by asking. “John Doe?” That way you can clarify that you heard the name correctly as well as reinforce it in your memory bank of names.

Be on time. Even being a few minutes late for a meeting is not acceptable. It indicates a lack of respect or importance of the people with whom you are meeting. If you cannot avoid being late, call to let someone know. Don’t send an email message since you can’t  be sure the person you are trying to reach checks email every two minutes.

Pay attention to your social media manners. Don’t mix your personal and professional accounts. Use your own photo  and professional name. By now most people should realize that someone who is considering hiring you or doing business with you will look you up on line. They won’t be impressed with you if you use a cute or racy name and if you post photos of yourself dancing on the table at the New Year’s Eve party.

Anything on the Internet is in the public domain so tread carefully online and in email.  Never say anything that you don’t want the whole world to see. Never write when you are tired, emotional or angry. Consider that email has no tone of voice so for sensitive or complicated matters pick up the phone or walk down the hall. Personal interaction is much more effective in building and maintaining business relationships.

Do not pull out your smart phone or other communication device during a meeting. Keep it off and out of sight. The message you are sending to others in the meeting or presentation is one of disrespect and lack of interest. “Reading under the table,” is more obvious than you think.

There are certain words or topics to avoid in your business communications. Cursing has become almost common place, but it is a sure way to lose business and possibly your job. If you curse, you dilute your message by showing a lack of courtesy and professionalism as well as a limited vocabulary.

Publicizing your political beliefs has no place in business unless you are trying to lose customers. If you have any doubt about that, think of the recent episode with Chick-fil-A.  Ultimately taking a public stance on an issue back-fired.

No matter what business you are in, business etiquette is vital to your success. It starts from the top down so the owner or CEO needs to demonstrate courtesy and respect. There is a definite trickle down effect.  Given a choice, customers and employees will go where they are treated well. Ultimately business etiquette will show up in the bottom line.  Polish builds profits.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

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.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Business Etiquette Resolutions

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January Business Etiquette ResolutionsIt is obvious that the holiday season is finally over. The lines at the mall and the super market are shorter. You can even find a parking space at the mall. The decorations are all down, and most everyone has come off that holiday sugar high. As for those New Year’s resolutions you made on January 1st, have they vanished as well?

Some people take the opportunity of a new year to make changes  in their lives.  Others think it is a waste of time because they rarely manage to keep them. Yet another group of people makes resolutions, but by mid-April can’t remember what they were. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to come up with the list of the top habits that people vow to make or break.  Here are just five:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Exercise more
  3. Stop smoking
  4. Drink less
  5. Spend more time with family and friends

While it is not always easy to keep our pledges to ourselves, it is never a bad idea to work on issues that could improve our health, our happiness and our productivity.  In addition to recommending those resolutions that will affect your personal life, I would like to suggest some that will improve your professional life as well.

Do you want to grow your business this year, attract more customers, keep your current ones and increase your bottom line?

If you answered “yes” to any of those, here are my top ten business etiquette recommendations for you:

  1. Be on time for meetings, presentations, workshops and networking events. People who habitually arrive late  send a clear message that their time is more important than everyone else’s.  They develop a poor reputation, and they miss out on information and opportunity. Keep in mind that if you are not five minutes early, you’re late.
  2. Pay more attention to your professional attire. Resolve to dress like the polished business person you are.  People do judge you by your appearance. Your 9-5 wardrobe should be different from your after five clothing.
  3. Send more handwritten notes.  Take a few extra minutes when someone does something nice for you and write a thank you note.  You can send an email message of appreciation, but follow it with the written one. You’ll stand out from the crowd of your competitors.
  4. Be more tolerant of people from other cultures.  Our business world is shrinking, and we find ourselves connecting with people from all over the globe.  Take time to read up on international etiquette so you can understand and appreciate cultural differences.
  5. Call people by name. Using names in conversation makes others feel valued and acknowledged. However, make sure you are addressing them correctly. Don’t assume that “William” wants to be called “Bill” or that your new business client wants to be addressed by first name. Wait until Ms. Brown asks you to call her Mary. Until she does, use her title and last name.
  6. Resolve to use the phone more often. We live in a world of email. Some people think that it is the only way to communicate. Email is intended to transmit information quickly and efficiently. It does not build relationships.  Make sure you take the time to talk to your customers, particularly about complicated or sensitive issues.
  7. Be dependable.  Say what you will do and do what you said.  Your credibility will go right down the tube if you promise but don’t deliver. The same goes for deadlines. If you promise to have the project done by Monday, do it. If you find there are obstacles to meeting that deadline, alert the other person.
  8. Use your cell phone with courtesy and respect for others. By now everyone should know to turn that phone off in meetings or at least put it on silent ringer and never take a call during a meeting. Even those people who consider themselves to be polite because they leave the meeting to take the call are clearly sending a message that they have other more important business than the meeting.  Continually coming and going is insulting to the meeting leader, workshop presenter and other attendees.
  9. Pay attention to your cubicle etiquette.  Not everyone has an office with a door these days so keep your voice down, turn off the ringer on your phone while you are away and don’t eat noisy or smelly foods at your desk.
  10. Take time to be nice.  Everyone is stressed and overworked, but we shouldn’t be so busy that we can’t take time to be kinder to others.  I have heard too many people say lately, “I don’t have time to be nice.” If you don’t have time to practice good manners and follow the rules of business etiquette in the workplace, you soon may find yourself without customers, clients and colleagues. In today’s economy it pays to be nice more than ever.

So finish that yogurt, pick up your copy of Manners that Sell, get on the treadmill, read, walk  and envision the profits that will come from adding polish.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

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.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Ignoring Cell Phone Etiquette Can Cost You Business

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Mobility conceptDid you know that July is National Cell Phone Month? It was founded as a means to market cell phone etiquette, not as a way to promote the sale of mobile phones.  Selling those little hand-held communication devices does not seem to be a problem.  They are more common than the house fly and spreading like the plague.  It’s the proper and polite way to use them that is the issue. In fact, whenever I write the words “cell phone etiquette”, it occurs to me that the term is something of an oxymoron. Cell phones and good manners do not seem to go hand in hand.

When the portable handset was invented by Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, neither he nor his rival, Joel Engel, head of research at Bell Labs could have imagined that today, 37 years later, mobile phones would dominate the world. It is estimated that 4,239,956 people around the globe are having a cell phone conversation at any given second. Most people today do not seem to go anywhere without carrying their phones. Nowhere are they more important than in the shrinking global business world where more and more people are ‘on message’ 24-7.

Cell phones are a blessing to business people on the move, but when they are not used appropriately, they can be annoying and disruptive. Good etiquette is important in terms of what you should and shouldn’t do when using cell phones in the workplace. Rude or improper use of a cell phone can cost you considerably in the business world.

Cell phones have become a serious issue in business meetings. Consider these rules of cell phone etiquette during meetings:

1.   If you are in a meeting, make sure your phone is turned off or put on silent ringer. Putting it on vibrate can be just as annoying or offensive to those around you as hearing your phone ring.

2.   Don’t answer your phone, make calls, text or respond to texts during a meeting.

3.   Ask yourself if you really need to take your phone into the meeting. I know for many of you that is an unconscionable thought. It’s much like asking yourself if you need to wear your clothes to the meeting.

4.   Don’t put your phone on the table during a meeting. It sends a message that you are not fully present or engaged.  Doing so could cost you the client or the business.

5.   Use the voice mail feature on your phone just as you do your out of office reply for your e-mail. Let people know that you are in a meeting and unable to take their call; but don’t forget to let them know when they can expect to hear back from you.

6.   If you have to take a call during a meeting, be courteous and explain to the other attendees that you need to be available for a call and ask their permission to leave your phone on.

7.   When the all important call comes, excuse yourself from the meeting to answer it and converse.

8.   Watch the clock while you are on the call and away from the meeting. It would be rude to stay out of the room for a lengthy period of time.

9.   The business lunch or dinner is the same as the business meeting so all of the above rules of cell phone etiquette apply.

Your cell phone should be used to connect with clients, not disconnect.

Here’s to cell phone courtesy!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

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.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Cell Phone Manners

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Last week I accompanied a friend to a doctor’s office. The waiting room was packed. People were sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall and slumped over furniture. A few of the lucky ones had chairs. Everyone looked miserable. For the most part the only sounds were moaning, sniffling and coughing. I must admit that I was questioning my decision to drive my ailing friend to her appointment. I dug into my handbag for a vitamin or anything that might boost my immune system instantly.

Suddenly the near quiet room was shattered by a male voice, yelling, “Hey Bubba, whatcha doing?” It only took a second for most of us to realize that we were in the company of one more rude cell phone user. What followed was an explanation of where the caller was, his reason for being there (the last thing anyone wanted to know), when he thought he would be leaving and which bar he and Bubba should meet in when he was finished.

Clearly, this inconsiderate being had no idea that this month, July, is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. No doubt, he has never heard of courtesy, let alone cell phone courtesy.

Have you noticed that he is not in a class by himself? As the number of cell phone users rises, the horror stories about them increase. We all have not just one unbelievably rude cell phone incident to relate, we have dozens.

Don’t you wish that along with those bizarre directions on how to set up and use your phone-the ones written by the people who designed the phones and therefore already know how to use them-there were also instructions for cell phone conduct? Rules like:

1. Keep it private. No one else wants or needs to hear your phone conversation. If you feel compelled to make or receive a call on your cell phone, find a private spot away from other people.

2. Ask permission first. When you think that you may be receiving an important call, let others know and ask their permission to leave your phone on and to take the call.

3. Excuse yourself. When the all-important call comes, excuse yourself and find that secluded spot.

4. Turn your cell phone off. Whether you are attending personal or professional functions, just turn off the phone. You can check your messages later. Few of us are so indispensable that we cannot be out of contact for a few minutes or hours.

5. Use the silent ringer or vibrate function appropriately. When you are in the presence of others, it is just as inconsiderate to check the incoming call as it is to answer it. If your phone vibrates, excuse yourself to check the call, or better yet, check it later. How discounting is it to have someone with whom you are speaking suddenly say, “Do you mind if I check my phone and see who this is?” You almost hold your breath waiting to see who will win the attention of your companion, you or the caller?

6. Keep your voice down. You don’t need to be like Bubba’s friend in the waiting room and yell. The phone may look tiny, but it picks up sound perfectly well.

7. Remember the phone booth. It was not constructed for the sole purpose of allowing Superman to change his clothes. Its’ original function was to afford people private access to a public phone. Seems like a whacky concept today.

8. People are the problem, not the phones. Pass it on.

Wishing you cell phone civility this month and throughout the year!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

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.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.