Skills and certificates are never enough to maximise your potential and be successful in your career. You also need to know how to behave in a business environment.
Your attitude is just as significant as your skills and abilities. This is why business etiquette is now a crucial part of building a successful career. For fresh graduates, this may sound awkward. Most believe their skills and qualifications are all they need to be absolutely successful at work and that character plays only a small part.
Regardless of how good you are at what you do, you could miss out on a lot of opportunities and promotions if you ignore office etiquette. Interestingly, most office and business etiquettes are simply ethics of civilised social conduct.
So, whether you’re visiting a business environment for a job interview, or you’ve just landed a job, here are practical tips on how to behave in a business environment:
Don’t use slang while communicating
Whether you’re speaking or writing in a business environment, avoid slang in all your communication. Some slang that you find amusing could be offensive to others, while some or even all of your colleagues may not know the meaning of your slang.
Don’t treat customers or clients like old friends
While you should be friendly and approachable to customers and clients you should not become over familiar with them so that you drop your professional guard. Be careful what you say and how you treat your colleagues in front of them. Remember, the reason why the customer (and client) is always right is because they pay your wages.
Don’t interrupt others
Don’t interrupt while someone else is speaking or making a presentation. If you have any comment, observations, or even questions to ask, wait for the appropriate time to do so. Interrupting others can make you seem like a rude person, even if you’re not.
Don’t try to make others look bad
If you notice debris littering the floor of your work environment, don’t ignore it and then go ahead to tell your boss that the office needs cleaning! Rather, pick up the debris yourself. Do positive things for the sake of having a better work environment. Don’t do or say things that will make others look bad and make you look good.
Don’t try to teach people how to do their job
Except it’s your responsibility to do so, don’t try to teach people how to do their job. And if you have to for whatever reason, be as careful as possible. You may think you’re trying to help a colleague, but may end up offending whoever you’re trying to help.
Never speak badly of other employees
Regardless of what you think or assume, people gossip in almost every business environments. This is why employers appreciate employees who speak well of other good workers. If you have nothing good to say about a particular employee, you should keep your opinion or observations to yourself. What you said about a colleague should never be the reason why there’s conflict in your workplace.
Share the credit for an outstanding performance
In a business environment, no one likes a colleague who takes all the credit. Regardless of the amount of time and effort you’ve invested to achieve what you did, acknowledge the contribution of your colleagues that were involved. This is one easy way to boost your reputation.
Do not get involved in religious or political conversations
One of the easiest ways to get into heated arguments in a business environment is to be involved in political and religious conversations. You should consider keeping your religious and political views to yourself at least while you’re in a business environment, unless someone asks you directly. Sometimes, voicing your opinion on current events may also cause heated arguments.
As awkward as it seems, more often, an employee with the right business etiquette is better appreciated that a skilled one without the right attitude. So give yourself an edge, complement your skills and abilities with the right workplace attitude. In whatever you do, learn to respect others, it works like magic.