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5 easy tips on professional etiquette to help you stand out

Are you a new graduate figuring out how to manage not just your work but also professional dynamics? Here are 5 tips.
BY Kavita Mehta |   11-11-2019

BrainGain Magazine

For those of you who have recently entered the world of work, there are many exciting adventures awaiting you. That includes learning to navigate a different set of interactions and picking up new protocols. From interacting with your colleagues and your manager, to understanding the nuances of talking to a client, it’s helpful to know the ground rules when it comes to professional etiquette.

Most of our life experiences depend on how we interact with people. This also applies to our careers. While talent or skill may have helped you land a job, it’s how you function within an organization that sets the tone for success. What helps you stay in the running and rise through the ranks are things like interpersonal skills and an understanding of etiquette, as well as the ability to practically apply both.

Here’s a list you should commit to memory.

  1. Show up on time

    Show up on time

    One of the most important habits to develop is punctuality. Being on time at the office will portray you as a person who respects the time of others and that of the company. And with respect, you slowly build trust. If you need to report to work at 8AM but you regularly show up at 9AM, this will reflect badly on you and may curtail opportunities for interesting projects or assignments.

    It’s best to create a fifteen minute (or whatever makes sense in your case) buffer so that there is a clear advance window during which you must arrive. That allows you to plan your commute accordingly and to build the habit of being punctual. Everyone runs late sometimes –because of unexpected traffic, bad weather or a late Uber driver. While being on time is not always in your control, communicating your situation almost always is. So, if you are running late, call, message, or email with your expected time of arrival.

  2. Good manners are always in style

    Good manners are always in style

    Good manners may be all that separates you from your coworkers and helps you stand out. It is important to be polite, no matter who you are speaking to. Small things like saying please, thank you, hello or offering a hope to meet you again, excuse me, and I’m sorry can make a lasting impression.

    When you are in meetings or are having a conversation with someone, give the person who is speaking your undivided attention. Active listening is important – it helps the person speaking feel heard. And that in turn keeps them engaged an enthusiastic about the topic. This especially holds true for clients as it shows that you are invested in the conversation.

    If you fidget with your phone, allow interruptions or pay attention to other things, you might appear uninterested. Worse yet, your behavior could be interpreted as an insult. It’s best to keep your phone on silent mode and turn it face down when in a meeting.

  3. Get to the point

    Get to the point

    Whenever you have been asked to give a presentation at work or provide inputs on a project presented by a colleague, get to the point in your communication.

    You should always be prepared with what you want to say. Stumbling a little or taking a few pauses is normal; but being too vague can give the sense that you are unsure of your content. The idea is to get your thoughts across to the listeners clearly and coherently. You might want to perfect your communications skills to gain confidence for presentations and active conversations.

    It is also important to stay on topic. For instance, while attempting to convey the reasons of a drop in sales, you end up rushing to a budget request. Without sufficient context and explanation, your stakeholders may not understand the nature of your request.

  4. Put people at the core of communications

    Put people at the core of communications
    A first impression is priceless. As you begin your career, making a good impression depends on factors like tone, body language, eye contact, and non-verbal cues.

    The way you present yourself may differ based on the situation, whom you are dealing with, the urgency of the topic and so forth. How you shake hands (and in what order), your manner of greeting or even draft a simple email conveys information about your position, about a topic, and how you perceive the other party.

    In most cases, your success depends on how you convey your message as well as how the receiver understands it. For instance, if you point out an error in a document to a colleague, try not to sound like you’re trying to embarrass them. Instead, you could say, “I like the way you’ve drafted this letter. It really makes each point stand out. Do you think it would also work if we re-organize the points a bit?” Go from there in terms of helping your colleague modify the text and in the process, rectify their mistake. Remember, we’re all human, so go easy when possible.

  5. Give credit where and when it’s deserved

    Give credit where and when itís deserved
    There are times when you are stumped for ideas and a colleague offers a brilliant one. On such occasions, make sure to credit them for their valuable inputs. Sitting back and taking the credit for yourself without acknowledging others creates resentment. Even though you may not have intended to slight anyone, regularly exhibiting this type of behavior engenders mistrust and threatens to stain your reputation. So, try not to be the person who steals ideas or adds a small point to someone else’s note and claims it to be their own.

    The transition from college life to work life can be confusing. When in doubt, ask someone you trust, like a co-worker or mentor. And, to get on your manager’s radar for new and interesting opportunities, always be ready with a helping hand, an open mind, and a good attitude.


Kavita Mehta is a successful entrepreneur, mentor, and business leader with 25 years' experience in building platforms and products that help change people’s lives. Her latest venture, Lore, opens quality education up to everyone who wants to learn, grow and develop their skills and confidence. Lore provides personalized education solutions, regardless of background, age or any perceived limiting factors.



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