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Manners Matter: Tips for Assistants to Be Polished in Their Graces

Manners at work

Recently I touched on the importance of showing up to work with a polished appearance (see Presenting Yourself with Polish for more details), so I wanted to follow up by addressing that manners also matter.

Simple courtesy is an important a skill as anything else. As one article in The Nest states, "good manners facilitate mutual respect and inspire confidence in employees." Using manners not only make your teammates feel valued but help to build a positive work environment as well.

I came across the following list on Forbes that I recommend taking a peek at:

  • Stay at home when you’re sick.

  • Always show up on time for meetings. If you’re usually running late, try scheduling meetings in 45-minute increments to allow enough time to get to your next one.

  • Keep meetings to the scheduled amount of time. Don’t force the next group to stand in the hallway outside the conference room waiting for you and your group to finish.

  • Put your cell phone on vibrate mode to prevent disturbing others.

  • Pay attention during meetings and avoid multi-tasking, such as scrolling through emails on your smartphone or computer.

  • Don’t hold meetings in your cubicle and distract those sitting close nearby. For meetings with three or more people, go to a conference room or a break area.

  • Eat lunch in the cafeteria or break room. Avoid eating smelly food at your desk.

  • Be aware of how loud you speak on the telephone if you work in a cubicle environment.

  • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne at work.

  • Ladies – don’t wear revealing clothing. Let others see your skills, not private body parts.

  • Respect your co-worker’s property (and company property).

  • Don’t take things from others without asking. Refrigerator lunch food stealers – that also means you!

  • Don’t yell and scream at others. Compassion and empathy will serve you much better to earn respect.

Below are a few more tips to add as well:

  • Keep interruptions to a minimum, and be sure to apologize when doing so. This includes interrupting conversations and interrupting someone who is focused on a task.

  • Knock before entering an office. It shows respect for another's workspace and time. In addition, I recommend asking something such as "Is this a good time?" or "Do you have a couple minutes?" Even though someone is there doesn't mean they are available.

  • Remember to use your "please" and "thank you's." It shows appreciation and courteousness.

  • Take responsibility for your mistakes and apologize when necessary. Mistakes can be wonderful learning opportunities. Brainstorm possible solutions and figure out ways to avoid the same errors moving forward. Never blame others.

  • Turn your head when you cough or sneeze if no tissues are available. I recommend the "vampire sneeze," which is turning and sneezing into your inner elbow.

  • Keep your work area tidy and clean. It can actually improve efficiency, productivity and shows respect for others (source: Kodiak Industrial).

  • Do respect people's personal space while on the phone. A ‘safe cell distance' is considered to be 10 feet. (Source: Reuters).

While not only helping your work environment to be more positive and allowing your peers to feel appreciated, manners will help to further you in your career. As Clarence Thomas once said, "Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot" (source: AZ Quotes). Distinguish yourself at work by being polished in your graces and watch the positive impact it will have on your future.

Did you find these tips helpful? Please spread the word on your favorite social media platform below!

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