Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success

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Who says nice guys finish last? In today's competitive business environment, good sense and everyday manners can make the difference between getting ahead and being left behind. In The Etiquette Advantage in Business etiquette authorities Peggy Post and Peter Post show you how to meet the challenges of the business world with the kind of self-confidence and poise that will propel you to the top.

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Overview

Who says nice guys finish last? In today's competitive business environment, good sense and everyday manners can make the difference between getting ahead and being left behind. In The Etiquette Advantage in Business etiquette authorities Peggy Post and Peter Post show you how to meet the challenges of the business world with the kind of self-confidence and poise that will propel you to the top.

Written for business people across the board, from the junior and mid-level range to upper management, from the home office worker to the overseas traveler, this comprehensive resource addresses all of the pressing issues in today's workplace. The Posts show you how to use personal skills to manage workers more effectively, make longer lasting contacts, win clients, and close deals—everything you need to know to get ahead in your career. In addition, they offer up-to-the-minute advice on such hot button issues as sex in the workplace, worker privacy, hiring and firing, and the relaxed standards on formality that are sweeping across many industries.

You'll also find practical advice on everything from writing persuasive business memos, letters, and e-mails to choosing the appropriate dress for both casual and formal offices; from planning and leading productive meetings to getting results at conventions and trade shows. There are tips on interviewing and conducting successful job searches; guidelines for business entertaining, from the company picnic to formal dinner parties; advice on using the latest technologies effectively—and courteously—and much more, including a detailed primer on the social customs you need to know when doing business abroad.

The CEO interview. the sales presentation to the board of directors. Dinner with the boss. Your assistant's annual review. The company picnic. The first meeting with a new client the start-up of your own business. The gift for your overseas host.

No matter the situation in which you find yourself, The Etiquette Advantage in Business will help you face the challenges of the corporate world with confidence. As today's workplace becomes increasingly more competitive, personal skills can make all the difference. Peggy Post and Peter Post will show you how to use everyday manners to get the results you want—and put yourself on the road to success.



No matter the situation in which you find yourself, The Etiquette Advantage in Business will help you face the challenges of the corporate world with confidence. As today's workplace becomes increasingly more competitive, personal skills can make all the difference.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Peggy Post, the third generation of Post etiquette experts, and brother-in-law Peter Post have run a marketing-PR firm for 15 years. Here, they offer tips on interviewing and office courtesy; good telephone, e-mail, and correspondence manners; trade-show conduct; running a productive meeting; business entertaining; and doing business in a variety of countries. The authors also discuss a manager's obligations and responsibilities and address business clothing for men and women in separate chapters. The chapters are organized so that users can quickly turn to their areas of interest. Because of its thoroughness, this title would be very useful as a reference source. For the circulating collection, get Susan Morem's How To Gain the Professional Edge (Better Bks., 1997).--Susan C. Awe, Univ. of New Mexico Lib., Albuquerque Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062736727
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 11/1/1999
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 592
  • Product dimensions: 7.37 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 1.73 (d)

Meet the Author

Peggy Post represents the third generation of Post authors, the recognized authorities on etiquette. Peggy has provided etiquette advice to some of America's top corporations, drawing on a thirty-year career that has included work in the travel, banking, and relocation management indus-tries. She writes monthly etiquette columns in Good Housekeeping and Parents, and has appeared on syndicated programs, including The Oprah Winfrey Show. She is married to Emily's great-grandson Allen, and the couple resides in Florida.

Peter Post has owned his own successful business, PostScript, Inc, a marketing and public relations firm in Burlington, Vermont, for fifteen years. One of Emily's four great-grandchildren, he serves as an officer of The Emily Post Institute, which continues her work. His diverse background in marketing, education, and Journalism spans more than twenty-five years. He has a master's degree in fine art and resides in Charlotte, Vermont, with his wife and two daughters.

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Read an Excerpt

Introduction

If people can arrive at work in jeans without causing a stir, it doesn't mean our grandparents' rules of etiquette are obsolete. Or is it that people have ceased to care? Actually, the answer is "No."Changes in the business world mean that etiquette is more in demand than ever. And there is more than enough evidence that exhibiting social skills in business is its own reward.

In truth, "business etiquette" is little more than common sense coupled with consideration for others. Here's what making it part of your portfolio can enable you to do:

  • Negotiate the tricky ground of a job search
  • Gain confidence in yourself
  • Dress appropriately for the situation, no matter what your professional field
  • Use your people skills to interact effectively with your coworkers and business
  • associates from outside
  • Handle with ease the conflicts inherent to the workplace
  • Get along better with your boss
  • If you're a boss, gain the respect of those you supervise
  • Communicate effectively with people in both speech and writing
  • Acquit yourself well when dining out and when hosting or attending a
  • business party
  • Respect the cultural differences you encounter when traveling overseas
  • Increase your chance of success if you're striking out on your own

What we call the "etiquette advantage" in business doesn't stop there. Many of today's office workers have missed out on learning the basics of manners in an era of dual-income and single-parent families, and their concern about manners is well-founded: Etiquette can make the difference between getting ahead in the workplace or being left behind. To that end, this bookseeks to instill self-confidence by first delineating the basics of good manners. Throughout, the underlying lesson is that the right behavior elicits the right response from those being dealt with in a business transaction of any sort. We also strive to give workers the security to judge for themselves just what constitutes"right behavior" in a given situation -- the kind of self-confidence that contributes to the strong presence that propels people to the top.

Emily Post was concerned with business etiquette from the start. As she wrote in 1922, "To make a pleasant and friendly impression is not only good manners, but equally good business." No doubt she would have eagerly confronted the challenges of today: the job insecurity that megamergers, reengineering, and downsizing have left in their wake; the question of sexual harassment; and the technological advances that have us working and communicating in ways we hardly could have imagined.

Our own professional backgrounds (combined, more than 55 years of experience in finance, service industries, and public relations) gives us a true appreciation of Emily Post's belief that everyday manners and workplace manners are inseparable. Just as people everywhere want to make personal encounters pleasant, so they strive to adhere to standards of behavior that make professional relationships productive -- especially in a business world where the "team" concept has become increasingly important.

WHAT YOU'LL FIND

The Etiquette Advantage in Business serves people across the board -- from those who work from a home office to those who regularly do business overseas. While devoting considerable space to the needs of employees in the junior to mid-level range, the book also advises top management on how to maintain good relations with their employees. Section by section, here's what is in store:

  • THE PATH TO EMPLOYMENT.Four chapters show you bow to use etiquette to your advantage as you apply for a job, prepare or update your resume and cover letter, and withstand the anxieties of job interviews.
  • LIFE AT THE 0FFICE.The topics in these seven chapters include getting along with your coworkers and supervisors; your attitude toward your workspace, be it a cubicle or an office; relations between the sexes; and your personal privacy.
  • BUSINESS DRESS.What clothes are "correct"? The rules governing dress are constantly changing, and in no area of business are the changes more obvious. Two chapters -- one for men, one for women -- show you how to judge what's appropriate to wear in any situation.
  • EXECUTIVE ETIQUETTE.Addressed primarily to those at the managerial level, these three chapters focus on the manager's responsibilities and obligations to the workers he or she supervises, with special attention given to assistants.
  • THE W0RLD 0UTSIDE.Establishing good relations with customers, clients, contractors, and vendors is the subject of the first chapter, with business gifts covered in the second. Rounding out the section are chapters on business travel and behavior at conventions and trade shows.
  • THE SP0KEN W0RD.Three chapters focus respectively on the importance of introductions, the art of conversing well, and the appropriate use of the telephone in its many forms.
  • THE WRITTEN W0RD.These four chapters offer valuable lessons in expressing yourself skillfully in the traditional way (on paper) and the modem way (electronically).
  • THE BUSINESS MEETING.The first of two chapters shows how effectively planning and leading a meeting is a courtesy to everyone concerned. The second concentrates on meeting manners for participants.
  • BUSINESS ENTERTAINMENTS.The practical advice offered in these four chapters helps the businessperson feel confident and at ease when entertaining or being entertained -- whether at a formal or informal business meal, at home, at the theater, or even at a baseball game.
  • D0ING BUSINESS ABR0AD.Three chapters addressed to international travelers stress the importance of cultural understanding, the first step in achieving successful business negotiations overseas.
  • THE H0ME 0FFICE.The practicalities of self-employment and the interaction between home-based workers and their customers, family, and friends are the topics of these three chapters.

The goals of The Etiquette Advantage in Business are many: to bring a level of comfort to the businessperson who never had the chance to learn the basics of etiquette; to provide a refresher course for those who did; to equate good manners with good business sense; and to instill the self-confidence that sets you on the road to success. We hope our book will make a difference for employees and executives everywhere, a helpmate that grounds people in the timeless fundamentals as they work their way through a fast-changing world.

PEGGY POST
PETER POST
October 1999

The Etiquette Advantage in Business. Copyright © by Peggy Post. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction ix

I. The Path to Employment 1
1. The Real You 3
2. The Job Search 7
3. Resumes and Application Letters 21
4. The Interview 34

II. Life at the Office 49
5. You and Your Coworkers 51
6. In Your Workspace 82
7. Around the Floor 93
8. You and Your Supervisors 104
9. Women and Men Together 126
10. Your Personal Privacy 135
11. Office Building Etiquette 140

III. Business Dress 147
12. Business Clothes for Men 149
13. Business Clothes for Women 165

IV. Executive Etiquette 181
14. The Manager's Responsibilities 183
15. The Manager's Obligations 200
16. Your Support Staff 213

V. The World Outside 221
17. Pleasing the Customer 223
18. Business Gifts 236
19. The Thoughtful Traveler 244
20. At Conventions and Trade Shows 257

VI. The Spoken Word 265
21. How Do You Do?" 267
22. The Smart Conversationalist 275
23. On the Telephone 288

VII. The Written Word 303
24. The Good Writer 305
25. Effective Business Letters 314
26. Types of Correspondence 336
27. Communicating Electronically 356

VIII. The Business Meeting 363
28. The Almost Perfect Meeting 365
29. When You Attend 380

IX. Business Entertainments 389
30. Business Meals 391
31. Other Entertainments 419
32. At Corporate Events 428
33. Entertaining at Home 442

X. Doing Business Abroad 459
34. Before You Go 461
35. Language and Other Matters 468
36. Adjusting Your Cultural Lens 479

XI. The Home Office 527
37. A Special Opportunity 529
38. Your Business Relationships 540
39. Family and Friends 550

Bibliography 557
Index 561

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First Chapter

The Real You

A saying sprang to life in the mid-Twentieth century: "You are what you eat." It could as well have been "You are where you work." It's hardly a surprise that your sense of self is tied to how you earn a living. The arrival of electronic commuting notwithstanding, the great majority of people spend more time at work than they do at home-and that means striking a balance between holding on to your identity while becoming part of a larger whole.

Whether he or she is a first-time job hunter or a worker who is looking for a change (or has no choice but to make one), the smart job seeker is going to approach this important task with eyes wide open both to personal needs and to the business world as it exists today. This means going about finding your dream job with enthusiasm and drive but, at the same time, accepting that a measure of compromise is sometimes necessary.

The Right Fit

When you look for a job, you're looking for a fit: a fit for your talents, your skills, your interests. But there's something more. No doubt you're hoping your job will be meaningful -- that you'll be one of those few who can honestly say, "I love my job so much I can't believe I get paid for it." Another concern may beremaining true to yourself. "Selling out" became a buzzword thirty-odd years ago because people who joined "the establishment" were seen by some as putting money and ambition before integrity and principle.

If you're lucky enough to gain such intangible rewards, congratulations. But it is your attitude and behavior toward your coworkers, your bosses, and your business associates from outside that will make the difference -- an essential part of how contented and successful you'll become.

Naturally, doing your job well is vital. But answering to other people (even the CEO answers to the board of directors) and interacting every day with a diverse group of coworkers necessitates keeping your social skills in excellent working order -- " etiquette" being a crucial advantage on the way to both personal and financial fulfillment. First, though, let's put things in perspective.

New Attitudes

The workplace has undergone tremendous changes in the last two decades. For one thing, it is moving away from hierarchy and individualism toward a structure of teamwork and collaboration. There's also a trend toward shorter workweeks, longer vacations, and more focus on life outside of work. Increasingly, people place less emphasis on the monetary rewards of working for someone else and more on thinking of and for themselves.

It's no surprise, then, that there is a boom in entrepreneurship, especially among the young, from whose lips the word "entrepreneur" falls as regularly as 11 peace and love" did from their baby-boomer parents'. The last decade has seen a sharp rise in the number of small-business start-ups, fueled by the success stories of people who have yet to see thirty making fortunes by selling everything from software to soda pop. But even the person who successfully strikes out on her own has to play by the rules: While she has the freedom to make her own decisions, she still has to answer to the world outside, and do it with civility and grace. Worthy in its own right, the simple act of being considerate to others is integral to getting ahead.

A Willingness To Bend

Short of starting your own business, the first thing to decide before taking a job is how much you're willing to bend -- not only once you're employed but while you're in the process of becoming so.

Today the business world is far less uniform, with standards differing according to each company's unique culture. A prime example: A growing slice of the labor force works in information technology, where the degree of individuality in dress and behavior is miles away from what is often expected in more traditional businesses. But no matter how free-spirited the individual and the field he or she seeks to enter, certain standards of behavior apply: that you take your relationships with people seriously; that you treat them respectfully; that you are even-tempered and fair; and that you abide by the company's rules so long as they remain ethical and aboveboard.

Making An Impression

Despite what some people think, a concerted effort to make a good impression doesn't have to mean putting on airs, playing games, betraying yourself, or compromising your integrity, Phoniness and pretentiousness are one thing; observing rules of behavior that have evolved over time to serve the common good is quite another. Good manners are based not on elitism but on simple common sense: The more considerate business people are to one another, the better their relationships with coworkers, employees, customers, and suppliers. Manners grease the wheels of social interaction. And who could object to that? It's not a stretch to say that what we now call "etiquette" might have played a role in how we evolved, with those who saw to the needs of others favored over those who did not.

Conforming to certain customs and principles hardly means forsaking who you are. You may not like some of the things expected of you -- whether changing from what you normally wear or being expected to start work at nine o'clock sharp -- but pragmatism dictates that you must. Only the most rigid of individualists won't make some accommodation to the demands of the workplace -- and in most companies, refusing to do so means, as they say, cutting off your nose to spite your face. With that fundamental precept in mind, begin your search for employment armed with the knowledge that being willing to adapt makes the difference between getting a job or doing without one -- and between keeping a job or being fired.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2003

    Excellent Book!

    I bought this book for the free on line Business Etiquette class. This is an excellent book and it was a fantastic class. Anyone who is in management level or intends to move up should take this class and read this book. I am self-employed and it will help me with business dress, interviews with potential clients, written and verbal skills, business lunches, dealing with annoying clients, etc.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2002

    For anyone who wants to win!

    If you ask me to define this book in three words, i would say: Precise, Outstanding, Extremely Useful This book explains how we uncounciously express our inner selves with our behaviour and why we have to hear: SORRY after the job interview. the authors has done a good job explaining common pitfalls in business and how to minimize them to earn maximum revenue. Although, this book says its for business people, i strongly think its for anyone who wants to make a remarkable first impressional. I found this book immensly useful in my day to day life specially in everyday communication and public interaction!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2001

    Etiquette is an advantage to succeed in life!

    I thought personally that this subject is very important because its something we use in our daily lives. In the bussiness world its extremely important to have those etiquette skills. I would definetly reccomend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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