Does Business Etiquette Matter?
I sometimes get out my Amy Vanderbilt’s Everyday Etiquette book to see how much etiquette has changed since the book was written in the 1950s. There is a section on when a man should remove his hat and one on where a secretary should put her steno dictation pad when meeting with her boss. While most men don’t wear formal hats, secretaries are now executive assistants and dictation has been replaced by email, those scenarios were about respect and respect is still important for a profitable, happy workplace.
Every day companies lose employees, clients and profits because their employees are rude or unprofessional. A colleague of mine shared that a sales person from another company lost the deal because when he pulled up to my colleague’s business he ignored the visitor parking space, parked in an employee space and flicked his cigarette into the parking lot. Those actions may seem pretty minor, but the sales person, thinking he was not being watched, demonstrated that despite his professional attire he was rude and disrespectful. My colleague’s company didn’t want to do business with someone like that.
On the other end of the spectrum, a client of mine hired me to help them make a good impression at an expo booth they were staffing for the first time. I helped the employees learn to engage and respectfully greet booth visitors, demonstrate professionalism through their body language, eye contact and rapport building and ultimately gain leads and clients. My client reported back that their booth was very busy with visitors while the booths on either side had very little traffic. They came home with several qualified leads and a couple of new clients and they attributed it to how the employees presented themselves.
When employees conduct themselves professionally; are respectful, courteous and kind to others companies prosper and grow. A workplace that tolerates rudeness, unprofessional behavior and disrespect will wither. Given that, do you think business etiquette matters?
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