It may come as a big surprise that more times than not, business people lose their creditability due to lack of proper social skills, rather than their technical skills. I always say, “More careers are lost in the business social scene than in the boardroom.” And so often the business blunder comes in the form of a basic social skill that could be completely avoided by remembering basic principles of life. One, for example: Treat others the way you want to be treated!
Executives have a way of forgetting the fundamentals when they develop self worth that screams “I am entitled to act any way I want, because I am very important.” The person who has this mentality has lost sight of what made them successful in the first place.
Read review the list below and honestly evaluate yourself. If you think you fall into any of these categories, I suggest you “fix it!” If you know someone else who falls into these categories, fearlessly hand this article over to them.
Embarrassing others in public. Never throw someone under the bus and especially in public. Should you find yourself in a business situation where perhaps someone on your team is to blame, make it a point to speak to them about the matter in private. Do not try to make yourself look good by embarrassing others publicly to save face.
Unprofessionalism at a business dinner. A business meal is not the time to “let go”. Remember, the meal can seal the deal! Your interpersonal skills, included your table manners, how you treat the wait staff, and the way you handle alcohol tells a lot about you. Your manners are on display!
Texting and emailing during meetings. Put away the PDA, otherwise it appears you are disinterested in the meeting. One firm lost a huge opportunity because an executive kept checking his iPhone. When the owners found out their company was so close to gaining the account, but lost it to this basic blunder, they asked the executive “why” was he so irresponsible to check emails during this critical meeting? He answered, “I was not checking my email, I was simply looking at the clock and keeping track of the timing in our presentation.” Unfortunately for this group, perception is everything and there are no “do-overs”.
Being late. Everyone’s time is valuable so be respectful of it. Showing up late for meetings and appointments is considered lost time in our culture, which equates to lost revenue. It is just rude to be late! “On time” means 2-5 minutes early, “late” means the exact time or after the meeting is scheduled to begin. It is better to be 30 minutes early than five minutes late. Timeliness shows responsibility.
A weak handshake. We generalize people's competence based on first impressions, and the handshake is an extremely important part of your overall image. The power of a firm handshake (not a bone-crusher) and good eye contact are underestimated. Get it right!
Dress the part. In our “fast-paced, first impressions count” business environment, dressing the part puts you in the game. Those that underdress are starting out behind the starting line in the race to the finish line.
Remember: One basic business blunder can devastate a lifetime of building a successful career.
Joy Weaver is a renowned etiquette expert and author of “Just Ask Joy… How to Be Socially Savvy in All Situations”—a book highly endorsed by Zig Ziglar. Joy represents designer Joseph Ribkoff and is a regular guest on ABC’s Good Morning Texas. She is nationally published and has been featured on ABC’s The View, in the Associated Press, New York Times, USA Today, Southern Living Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and The Dallas Business Journal. Protocol Enterprises/Just Ask Joy is based in Dallas and has served clients across the country since 2000. You can learn more at www.justaskjoy.com.