On March 4, 2010 the YOU! section 20/40/60 question was asking if “manners are passe? ” I loved Lille-Beth’s answer regarding “The Associated Press Stylebook.” If you missed it, she talks about journalistic consistency in writing that allows one to concentrate upon what is being said, rather than focusing on spelling or grammatical errors that detract from the story. She applies this same consistency to manners. ”If you have good manners, even if they go unnoticed, people can enjoy your company without a negative distraction. ”
The use of the word “distraction” or lack thereof in regards to etiquette, was used by the Queen of Etiquette, Emily Post. She notes that good etiquette allows one to be comfortable in another’s presence. When we know what to expect from each other we are comfortable, allowing each person to focus upon the goal of the meeting. Could it be a potential client, your future in-laws or a job interview? We are all selling something to someone, so why not give yourself the best shot at the sale?
I have been writing about George Washington and his 110 “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour.” Many of his “rules” are about being distracting with your hands, feet, humming and nail biting. I am amazed that those issues were alive in early business. Many times during business meals I become distracted by someone blowing their nose at the table, loudly stabbing their lettuce or playing with their hair. When those things are happening, I simply cannot focus on the purpose of the meeting. Honestly, the H1N1 germ scare makes these habits even more distracting! For example, at an evening business meeting, I walked up to shake a man’s hand just as he sneezed into his right hand. I didn’t even hear his name because I could only think about washing my hand. Bingo – distracted! If you sneeze, do it in the left hand, not the one you use to shake.
In this economic downturn, when competition is high, we all need to be at our best in the business world. Please take a few minutes and contemplate what things you might be doing that are distracting others from seeing you in top form.Best regards,