Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Business etiquette pointers for PR students
Some key points from her discussion:
- Business lunches and dinners are not about the meal but about the conversation. Order simple foods and don’t feel you have to finish them; don’t order a drink, but if pressed to do so, accept graciously and sip one drink all evening. Shelby has seen too many people do too many stupid things after drinking. She spent a lot of time going over specific issues (problem foods, which fork to use, the dreaded gristle) and for fun we watched this.
- Always err on the side of being too formal, whether in attire or in calling someone by their title (Dr. or Ms. for example) rather than their first name.
- Keep your personal life and professional life as separate as possible. Of course you’re going to make friends at the workplace, but don’t send that mass e-mail selling stuff for your club, requesting money for somebody’s birthday gift, or telling everyone about your weekend.
- In professional settings, Shelby says the traditional forbidden conversation topics are politics, religion and children. But she adds personal life (such as who you’re dating or not dating) and money to that list.
- Be direct with people who interrupt work with chit-chat, and let them know that you will talk with them when you’ve finished the project you’re working on. And don’t be that person who interrupts someone else.
In general, she suggests observing the culture of the workplace and adapting to it--whether it’s choosing clothes, bringing food to meetings, or celebrating holidays.
Update: here's a student's take on it.