Everyone has a chance to learn, improve, and build up their skills.
— Tom Peters
It is paramount that business professionals constantly seek the information that will help them with their relationships and bridge the communication gaps that cause so much stress in their lives.
The next nine tips of The 40 Tips of Business Etiquette will hopefully aid in learning, improving and building your communication skills.
21. Crucial to effective communication is: Recognizing different learning styles: visual, auditory and tactile & knowing the 4 basic personality traits.
Visual: The visual learner thinks in pictures and likes to write things down.
Auditory: The auditory learner learns by listening and is usually a great story teller.
Tactile: The kinesthetic or tactile learner likes to move around and learns best when touching and being part of building.
Since most learners are visual learners, you should ensure that your communication is in a written form that they can read in order to understand your plan, idea, or random thoughts.
Besides learning styles, 4 Basic Personality Traits can help you with office interaction.
The Activist: Motivated by appreciation and having a good time.
The Controller: Motivated by “Let’s get it done!” — results driven.
The Consensus Seeker: Motivated by “Let’s get along.”
The Logician: Motivated by “Get it right.” — makes decisions with caution.
22.Use “I” language to avoid defensive responses: Conflict is going to occur in any organization and often it comes down to either a miscommunication of the message or the manner we use to convey the message.
The authors of “Getting To Yes,” by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton, encourage us to separate people from the problem with the following:
“I’ve been over this so often that I might not be coming across clearly. Please let me know if I’ve skipped over any questions you might have had.”
Remember: Giving or receiving feedback requires one basic thing: LISTEN.
23.When talking to your staff, praise in public and criticize in private: In Jack Canfield’s” The Success Principles” he writes: “When you lift up others, they will lift up you.”
The Wharton School of Business report says that the three (3) things employees want are: (1) equity (everyone is treated equally), (2) a sense of achievement, and (3) camaraderie.
You can make your work environment a better place by ensuring this happens!
24. How you present yourself over the telephone is as important as how you present yourself in person: Electronic and wireless communication technology is the way we do business today. About 70 percent of our business is done over the phone, so sound CONFIDENT, IN CONTROL, AND READY TO DO BUSINESS.
A suggestion that always works is: Put a sign on your desk that simply reads “SMILE.” Even though those on the other line cannot see us, a ‘Smile’ affects our intonation and will reflect a positive attitude.
25. Whenever possible place your own calls: The message, “Please hold for Ms. Smith” could be received as, your time is more valuable than the person you are calling. CLIENTS HATE THIS!
26. Use your cellphone in public ONLY when absolutely necessary:
One of the most convenient means of communication causes the most numerous complaints that I hear from clients — cellphones. The public in general does not want to eavesdrop on your conversation, no matter how stimulating you think it is.
You should try not to answer your phone before “creating your own space” by moving at least to arm lengths away from those around you.
27. If you absolutely must keep your phone on during a meeting, explain in advance and have on only the vibrate mode: People will understand if you explain ahead of time that you have to take a call. Keep in mind that a client wants your undivided attention and will be offended if another client appears to have your attention.
28.Your computer is not a safety deposit box: No Flaming (insulting or vulgar messages) and No Spamming (sending junk mail). Many careers have ended because of emails that got in the wrong (or right) hands!
29. Remember: Email is expedient, but NEVER supersedes the rules of good manners: After a breakfast, lunch, dinner or event, you can send an e-mail immediately to your host or hostess, BUT you have to follow up with a thank you note on your stationery.
Always have stationery handy for the times when those who have been generous with their “time or treasure” need to be thanked or for those who need words of condolence, or deserve congratulations.
A handwritten note says, “I care.”
Until the last “Tips” that are about dining etiquette, let me leave you with this thought:
A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them.
Barbara Hickey of Mableton is a community volunteer and owner of The Etiquette School of Atlanta.