Times may have changed, but courtesy never goes out of style. In today's world sometimes it's complicated to figure out how to do the right thing. Local etiquette expert Karen Hickman answers your questions or helps solve your dilemmas on Fridays in The News-Sentinel and at news-sentinel.com.
Q. Karen, what do you consider to be the essentials that every professional should know?
A. The term “professional” takes on many meanings depending on the venue in which you work. However, there are certain things that those who strives to be at the top of their game should know. Here is a list of questions to ask yourself to see how you rate. If you miss one or two, you are probably doing fairly well, but if you miss more than three, you might consider brushing up on your business etiquette.
1. Do you know how to introduce yourself and others properly?
2. Do you make appropriate eye contact in conversation with others?
3. Do you understand the power of a smile and pleasant demeanor?
4. Do you (men and women) know how to offer a firm, confident handshake?
5. Do you stand for introductions?
6. Do you know proper business card etiquette?
7. Do you know how to make small talk?
8. Do you observe Internet courtesy?
9. Do you use personal technology courteously?
10. Do you have stationery that includes correspondence cards for handwritten thank-you notes?
11. Do you navigate dining situations for business and pleasure with ease?
12. Do you have the ability to work a room and network effectively?
13. Do you dress for success in all situations?
If you are not confident in all these areas, you may be damaging your chances for getting a job and, possibly, keeping it or advancing in it. We are judged much more on our social skills than our other talents.
These are life skills. It is never too early to start teaching them to your children.