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15 Work Etiquette Rules That Will Make You Look More Professional

15 Work Etiquette Rules That Will Make You Look More Professional

Work etiquette is key to maintaining a pleasant and effective office. All workplaces are different, but basic work etiquette is pretty universal within a country. (Of course, once you start doing business with people from other countries, you might want to brush up on their etiquette rules. For example, in China it’s considered rude if you don’t take a business card with both hands.)

So for those of you doing business in the US, here are 15 basic work etiquette tips for making your professional life enjoyable.

1. Don’t fidget in meetings

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    Tapping your foot, jiggling your leg, drumming your fingers: this is all stuff you should avoid doing. If you’re fidgeting, it makes you seem nervous or bored. Don’t send the message that you’d rather not be there.

    2. Put your phone on silent

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      Cell phones going off in the middle of a meeting? Never good. Put your phone on silent. If you find you’re still tempted to look at it, consider leaving your cell at your desk before the meeting.

      3. Eat your own food

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        This is a problem in many communal settings, from college dorms to corporate office buildings. If you didn’t bring it, or if it doesn’t have a sign that’s telling you to help yourself, leave it alone.

        4. Know what you’re going to say

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          “Um” and “Uh” have no place in the office. Whether you’re talking to a colleague or speaking to a potential client, try to keep the stammering to a minimum. Saying “um” a lot implies that you don’t really know what you’re talking about and are stalling for time.

          5. Pay at restaurants

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            If you’ve set up a lunch meeting with someone, pay for his or her meal. As the host, it’s your job to be accommodating and polite.

            6. Respect others’ space

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              Cubicles don’t make for much of a sound or smell barrier, so be mindful of those around you. Don’t eat at your desk if you can help it, and try to speak in a lower voice when on the phone.

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              7. Give a good handshake.

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                The first impression that most people get of others in work settings is through a handshake. Make sure to keep it firm and brief. This makes you seem confident without overdoing it.

                8. Offer to take out-of-towners around

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                  When people come in from another city or state for a meeting, offer to show them around town. Maybe that just means a short driving tour, or perhaps a trip to a restaurant. This makes you and your company seem more likable and friendly.

                  9. Show up on time

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                    Sometimes it’s hard to get out of bed and get going—we’ve all been there. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a valid excuse for being late to work. It won’t be the end of the world if you don’t make it on time, but don’t make it a habit. Being late makes you seem unprofessional.

                    10. Introduce yourself using your first and last names

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                      In some settings, it’s fine to just introduce yourself by your first name. But in business settings, you should always introduce yourself by your first and last names. After all, you want people to know who you are.

                      11. Don’t stray off topic

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                        When speaking to people in a work setting, try to limit yourself to work topics. This is not the time to start talking about your latest vacation, your new dog, or your family. Keep all conversations about work only. If you’re friends with your coworkers, use your lunch break to talk about non work-related topics.

                        12. Know others’ titles

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                          If you don’t know what title someone holds (i.e., Doctor), do some research and find out. It’s unprofessional to send someone an email using “Ms.” when it should be “Dr.” LinkedIn is a good place to look for this information.

                          13. Remain professional outside of work

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                            And yes, this includes the company holiday party. Even if you’re not at work, your personal life reflects on your company. Think twice before doing anything that could make you look bad at work.

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                            14. Dress appropriately

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                              If your work is business casual, that’s what you should be wearing. If something requires you to wear a three piece suit, make sure you show up wearing one. Appropriate clothing is key to maintaining professionalism.

                              15. Respect workplace boundaries

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                                It’s great if you’re friends with your boss, but don’t take it too far. Being friendly is a lot different than expecting preferential treatment. Keep it professional and try to separate your work relationships from your personal ones (even if they’re with the same person).

                                Featured photo credit: Jacob Barss-Bailey via flickr.com

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                                Maggie Heath

                                Maggie is a passionate writer who blogs about communication and lifestyle on Lifehack.

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                                1 What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success) 2 11 Tips on How to Resolve (Almost) Any Conflict in the Workplace 3 Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Overcome It) 4 How to Run an Effective Meeting: 10 Simple Ways 5 10 Habits Of People Who Are Highly Successful At Work

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                                Last Updated on May 20, 2020

                                What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

                                What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

                                Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

                                These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

                                What Are Analytical Skills?

                                According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

                                “Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

                                Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

                                Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

                                Visualization

                                Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

                                Critical Thinking

                                Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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                                As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

                                Computing

                                Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

                                In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

                                Problem-Solving

                                Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

                                Resource Management

                                Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

                                For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

                                Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

                                For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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                                The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

                                Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

                                There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

                                For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

                                If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

                                What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

                                Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

                                6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

                                There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

                                Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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                                But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

                                Below are a few strategies to get you started:

                                1. Ideate Business Ideas

                                Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

                                You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

                                2. Leverage Analytical Tools

                                Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

                                3. Have a Personal Learning Library

                                Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

                                Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

                                For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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                                4. Participate in Online Communities

                                The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

                                For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

                                5. Seek Mental Stimulation

                                To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

                                6. Keep a Personal Journal

                                Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

                                Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

                                Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

                                Bottom Line

                                As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

                                More Success Skillset

                                Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
                                [2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
                                [3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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