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It’s National Etiquette Week--May 11-15

This week is a time to raise awareness of courtesy, civility, kindness and manners, a time to rally more people to act with good manners in their everyday lives.

Etiquette is a code of conduct. It has a practical purpose. It puts you and those you interact with at ease in social and business settings. It’s being polite and considerate of others. It is often common sense.

Etiquette evolves over time and varies from community to community, particularly by different cultures so it’s important to observe the etiquette in a particular setting. Some etiquette is written; some is unwritten.

This week, I’m going to focus on office etiquette in the United States. Office etiquette can cover interaction within an office or interactions with external contacts such as customers and suppliers. Workplace etiquette is being professional and recognizing you are in a public place. It is being less intrusive and more considerate of those you work with.

So what should I cover under this broad topic?
Cell phones, desk phones, cubicles, meetings, conversations, Internet use including email, food and drink in the office, dress code, what and how to communicate. I’m sure there are more.

You tell me. I’m scheduled to give a talk on office etiquette in October.

What good manners and bad manners do you observe in the workplace today? What do others do that is considerate and you come away thinking---that was really nice? And conversely, what interrupts your work day and seems intrusive?


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Cell phone use during work hours for personal business seems to have become common. There is no dress code - anything goes.
On the plus side I really appreciate the person who greets me at the front desk or on the phone who is cheerful, professional and ready to assist me.

Here is a question I have always had...When someone sneezes hard in a meeting, should you say "God Bless You" or does that just draw more attention to the sneezing co-worker??? If someone sitting next to you falls asleep, during a long meeting, should you nudge them or just leave them alone??

I like the Disney philosophy. All employees are "cast members" and are part of the "show." What a difference it would make if we all thought of our jobs in that way - or all of our lives. How can we improve someone else's experience?

Any tips on email etiquette? I feel like I am either writing too much or coming across "snippy."

In any office where there is food, the issue of clean-up usually arises. Who cleans up? And what happens when they don't?

Perhaps more importantly, is there a policy -- written ot unwritten -- about food and beverage in the office?

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