The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

building business relationships

If you enter any career with the understanding that relationships are the foundation of business, you will lead a happy and healthy existence. Building those relationships is a huge component in your job success. After all, you spend the majority of the hours of your day with the people you work with. It stands to reason that you need to fit in and be accepted as part of the team.

· Speak to everybody, everywhere, all the time. This isn’t brown-nosing the boss or sucking up to the media room clerk so you get your copies quicker. This is being personable and engaging. It’s rude to walk down the hall or through the lobby without acknowledging other people. All it takes is a smile and a wave and you will have “spoken”.

· Speak to everyone in the same manner. Don’t save your heartiest and warmest affections for the boss. That is sucking up. Others will question your validity on a whole host of issues if they see you put on such a false bravado. At the same time, offer a genuine greeting to the meekest of associates. Reaching to the bottom of the totem pole is viewed as a confident and mature move.

· Accept diversity with ease. People are different. Don’t make jokes or use nicknames related to ethnic differences. It is passe, short-sighted and a sign of ignorance. Do you think you will be asked to travel internationally when you do such a good job of offending those on your own doorstep?

· Know when it’s time to apologize. Accidents happen either by the tongue or the hand. And, when an accident happens, an apology is usually in order. Let’s say you spill your coffee on your cube-mate’s briefcase. Certainly, clean up the mess, but don’t let that stand as the apology. Consider writing a note expressing your regret. This makes the mishap much easier to tolerate. If you inadvertently offend someone with a snide remark or off-color joke, a verbal apology is required immediately. Don’t wait a few days. Express your remorse within the hour.

· Give credit where it’s due. Stealing someone’s thunder and/or ideas is unethical. If you are serious about your career path and the longevity of your brand, you will not do this.

Savvy Suggestion Consider the line of business you are in and the people you work with. Now, think of strategies to connect with them in ways that will promote them and your company. Expressing appreciation with a hand-written note or a phone call is quick, effective and always well-received. And, it’s just nice.

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