I’m frequently approached by university students after my etiquette sessions who are anxiously preparing for their first job in the professional arena. Their expectations are hopeful and their enthusiasm is inspiring. I enjoy sharing my thoughts on how to thrive in their respective fields.
My advice applies to those who’ve accepted an entry-level position, landed a promotion, or are launching a business of their own. I hope you find these suggestions helpful as you seek to build a successful career.
Here are a few business etiquette tips to keep in your back pocket.
Don’t underestimate the value of office relationships. You may feel your day-to-day work responsibilities aren’t always exciting, but taking the time to learn how to navigate the professional world, regardless of your tasks or title, is essential. Your job often becomes more fulfilling when you have the support of your coworkers.
Make it your business to acknowledge your blind spots. Ask a friend or family member for their unfiltered assessment on areas they feel you need to improve. Their suggestions could range from honing your public speaking skills to better management of your schedule. Seriously consider their input.
Practice self-discipline. Avoid the “want it all now” syndrome. When something is too good to be true, there’s usually a catch. Instead of taking the path of least resistance, choose the long term goal of being diligent and putting in your time, learning about the company from the ground up.
Implement a code of courtesy over technology. Though you may have grown accustomed to checking your cell phone often, in a work environment, you’ll want to keep your technology out of sight and on silent mode when in a business meeting or while dining with a client. The ball is in your court. Put away your phone and make a favorable impression.
Be observant. Take note of how the most successful members of the team conduct themselves. How do they kick off a meeting or lead into a presentation? What can you learn from their approach? Incorporate a few of their skills and techniques into your professional cache.
Develop your professional voice. As a new employee, you are building your image through daily interactions with others. From the way you handle a setback to pitching in to clean up after an office picnic, your actions speak for themselves. Make a positive statement in every aspect of your work routine.
For more of my career tips, read my article Business Etiquette: Making a Strong Introduction, on The Huffington Post.