What is etiquette, and is it still important in today’s society?

Etiquette simply means polite behavior and the answer is a resounding yes!.

It is important for individuals in their personal and professional lives and in business. Many have forgotten its importance and do not adhere to basic principles of courtesy, manners and acceptable behavior. One of the reasons is the increased use of electronic devices and social media. However, basically it goes back to individuals and whether they pay attention to protocols and the need for good conduct.

Social media tips

  • Don’t post offensive material on Facebook or other sites.
  • Don’t be offensive with your iPhone camera.
  • Ensure your ringtones are appropriate for anywhere they may sound.
  • Don’t leave voicemails over 30 seconds long.
  • Keep your communication with business contacts professional.
  • Turn your cellphone off or change to silent when in meetings.
  • Re-read your email or text before hitting “send.”

Business tips

  • Listen to others when they are talking and don’t interrupt.
  • Do not be late for meetings.
  • Do not be late for meetings.  I said that one twice; it’s that important!
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Introduce yourself to others in the room.
  • Always say “please” and “thank you.”
  • True etiquette is a practice that comes as a fundamental quality from within the individual, and it encompasses a consideration for all with whom you come in contact. It includes kindness, empathy, courtesy and manners. In other words, it’s treating everyone as you’d like to be treated, even if you disagree with them. It goes beyond knowing which fork to use at a formal table setting but does include introductions, greetings, sending acknowledgements and thank-you notes, just to name a few.

Personal situations

  • Respect people’s names. Pay attention when introduced.
  • Be aware of seating arrangements at events.
  • Tip appropriately at restaurants and with other services.
  • When traveling do not ask people where they are staying.
  • Be cautious with hugging people. It can be offensive to others.
  • Do not interrupt others when they are speaking.
  • Do not use foul language when speaking or in writing.
  • Follow up on letters, emails and texts.
  • Send thank-you notes for gifts and other actions of kindness to you.
  • Don’t gossip or listen to others gossiping.
  • Don’t eavesdrop.

Unprofessional behavior can result in loss of your job, relationships and customers. Business etiquette and business ethics go hand in hand. Proper etiquette can help people land jobs, get promotions and establish excellent relationships with others. This is an important skill to develop and use in presenting yourself both personally and professionally. It matters and will assist you in getting ahead.