August 2, 2017
Professional etiquette is rarely explicitly taught, but it can have a big impact on your career. Whether you are working at an internship, starting somewhere new, or are well into your professional career, workplace etiquette can positively influence your reception by your coworkers. In AGU Pathfinder’s most recent Professional Development webinar, Professional Etiquette: Do’s and Don’t’s, Patricia Simpson of Game Changing Etiquette teaches us how to put our best foot forward through different applications of business etiquette.
Patricia’s presentation revolves around the central concept that etiquette is about treating others with respect and courtesy. All applications of etiquette stem from this, whether it be first impressions, networking, telephone/email etiquette, or handling your mistakes. Keeping this in mind during your daily interactions in the workplace will put you ahead in terms of your public perception and consistent courteousness and professionalism can build a buffer of forgiveness when problems occur. Patricia talks in length about the importance of a good first impression, which is made in two stages: an immediate, subconscious response and a more thorough, thoughtful reflection after the first interaction has ended. It is important to give a positive first impression, although it is possible to ameliorate a bad one with repeated positive interactions after the fact. Simple gestures of standing, smiling, a firm handshake, and being attentive to the person you are meeting are all key in making that first impression a lasting one.
Her presentation also provides tips for networking. She encourages viewers to approach those that are standing alone in a networking event as they are the most likely to welcome conversation. Reading people’s body language is also important as these are subconscious signals of how a person is feeling. If a group is closed off and squarely facing each other, it might not be the best group to approach. For those that have difficulty speaking to new people she suggests setting a goal for how many people to talk to during an event and when you meet them and asking open-ended questions to keep the conversation flowing.
In the Q&A portion of the webinar, Patricia addresses questions such as:
- What should I do when people do not follow up after a networking event?
- What do I do if someone in a senior position consistently calls me the wrong name?
- When is the appropriate time in a first interaction to exchange business cards?
For answers to these questions and further advice on workplace professionalism, watch the recording of the webinar, available here.
Cecilia Hurtado is a summer intern at the American Geophysical Union. She recently graduated from the Department of Geology at the College of William and Mary.