Business Etiquette Series, Part 3

Welcome back, readers! I hope you’re enjoying this series as much as I am. I’ve had a lot of feedback from business owners, so today I really want to focus on Business Owner Etiquette. This is just as much for employees of businesses, though, so even if you don’t own a business, keep reading!

The most important part of business etiquette is consistency. The reason Starbuck’s and other chains do so well is that people know they can go there and get the same thing in Dallas as they can in Chicago. Even if you’re a one-location operation, make sure your customers know they will get what they expect. This extends so far beyond food, though.

Keep your hours consistent. The number one complaint I get about small businesses is that customers say they never really know when they’re open. If you have “ish” following a number that is intended to indicate when you’re open, I highly recommend you lose the “ish.” It isn’t cute. It’s confusing. If someone takes the time to drive to your place of business, and you’re not there when they expect you to be there, they likely will find an alternative.

Particularly with small businesses, the profit margin is small. However, sending home employees at 2pm when you’re scheduled to stay open until 4pm because things are slower than you’d like will lose you future business.

Staying on the path of consistency, make sure what you offer remains consistent. Especially as a parent, it’s very frustrating when I order something for my child expecting, say, a sandwich, fruit and chips (because that’s what I’ve received before when I ordered the same thing), and you bring only a sandwich and chips. If you bring something extra, make sure you state it’s extra. Otherwise, it becomes expected.

It takes time for people to adapt to change. Don’t be too quick to pull the trigger when trying out new hours or menu items. Make sure you advertise it well before simply deciding that change doesn’t work. People don’t know what they don’t know.

Keep in mind that your employees are your living, breathing brand. Choose them wisely. Employees should be willing to help and engaging with the customers.

No matter what type of business you run, if you rely on customers, you are in the service industry. Treating your customers with respect and dignity will always give you an edge on your competition.

 

Business Etiquette Series, Part 1

I rarely do series posts here because I tend to get a little scatterbrained. However, I really want to emphasize business etiquette, particularly as it’s the time of year the school year is winding down and many college graduates are job hunting.

Etiquette is particularly important in the business world, which is a fairly conservative environment. I hope this series will be of benefit to you! As always, please let me know if you have specific questions you’d like answered, and I’ll make sure I respond.

Just like in any other area of etiquette, understanding what is expected of you will help put you ahead in the game. I hope this series helps you grow more confident in your job/job hunting!

To begin, let’s start with a few basic business do’s and don’t’s.

Do:

(1) Offer a firm handshake accompanied by eye contact when greeting someone
(2) Dress appropriately for your job (we’ll cover more of this later)
(3) Treat the person in person with you with priority over email or the telephone
(4) Show up 5-10 minutes early for an interview or meeting
(5) Keep your resume up-to-date

Don’t:

(1) Use casual nicknames, such as sweetie, in a professional environment
(2) Carbon copy (CC) someone onto an email response without the prior consent
(3) Use your phone during meetings or business luncheons
(4) Use the title of Doctor socially unless you are a medical doctor
(5) Chew gum while with customers or during an interview

 

Do you have anything you’d like to add to the list?

 

Hats Off To You!

Once upon a time in a land far, far away, men removed their hats in buildings. Regardless of the man’s age, this no longer seems to occur like it should, so I’d like to explain why it would be wonderful if we brought this back.

I’m sure many of you have heard the expression, “hats off to you.” The removal of one’s hat is a gesture of respect, which is the core reasoning behind men removing their hats inside of a building. It is respectful to those around you. A man’s hat, unlike a lady’s hat, is generally utilitarian in nature. It serves a purpose, whereas a lady’s hat is often a part of her outfit. That being said, if a lady is wearing a baseball cap or a utilitarian-style cap, she, too, should remove it when indoors.

Back when gloves were common, gloves were considered a slightly utilitarian part of the woman’s outfit, which is why she would remove her gloves prior to eating. Many things that are considered “fancy” now, such as an inner envelope of a wedding invitation had a “work” purpose when they first came into practice. In that case, the exterior envelope was a protectant layer to the actual envelope of the invitation and would be removed prior to delivery. Similarly, a man’s hat protects his head from the cold and/or sun. A lady’s hat most often does not. A lady’s hat is meant to be part of her outfit, which is why hers may remain on.

When we embrace differences, we create culture.

I understand that it’s popular in today’s world to think that men and women should be treated absolutely the same regardless of what differences may be there. However, I’ve yet to see a hat a man has worn that would be considered part of his outfit. Something I think is important to keep is mind that different does not mean one must be superior to the other.

I hope this post has explained the “why” behind a man removing his hat inside, and I hope it will encourage the men readers to do so going forward. Thank you for reading!

Upcoming Gilmore Girls Garden Tea

On June 3rd this year I’ll have the opportunity to combine two of my all-time favorite things – Gilmore Girls and tea!! This tea will be more interactive and will target a different demographic than most of my other teas.

When I first started Etiquette By Emily, I wanted to bring opportunites to our small town that we wouldn’t otherwise have. In addition to cotillion, teas were another activity we lacked in this area. When I had EBE’s first tea, I only had about a dozen people come. Many later messaged me and said they just had no idea what to expect, such as if there would be food, if men were allowed, etc.

At your standard tea, there is food (and plenty of it), tea with stir ins, relaxed conversatioon, usually some music, etc. Most afternoon teas include three types of food: finger sandwiches, scones and bite-size desserts. While you should never overload your plate, you’re welcome to refill it as often as you’d like.

Teas are meant to be a way of relaxing and socializing with friends and acquaintances.

In today’s fast-paced world, we rarely get together without having a goal for that time spent together, whether it’s to raise money or volunteer. Clearly, those are both wonderful and needed traits. However, I strongly believe that humans are social creatures who need that social interaction. We learn empathy and respect by being around others. We improve our communication skills, and we fill a vital need.

Teas allow for the time together for no other reason than simply being together. Thankfully, I’ve had many successful teas since my inagural tea.

Now, for the Gilmore Girls part. Gilmore Girls is truly one of my favorite shows. I could probably quote most it, and I love every character – even Taylor Doose. I think each of the Gilmore girls (Emily, Lorelai and Rory) have a uniquely special bond with each other, and I loved seeing how each relationship developed. Each one truly loved the other, though it was shown in very different ways.

When I noticed that June 3rd was on a weekend, I couldn’t think of a better date to have this tea! June 3rd, for those of you who don’t know, is the date that Lorelai and Luke (another primary character) were to be married. When she began planning their wedding, everything fell into place for that date except for Luke.

This tea will be inspired strongly by the Gilmore Girls series, including the food and decor, which will lean towards coffee (their drink of preference). There will a nod to each character throughout the afternoon. I truly hope you’ll consider joining us on Sunday, June 3rd for a special treat at The Oaks Bed and Breakfast at 2pm. There will be plenty of prizes along the way, too!

Also, just to whet your whistle, check out this precious Luke’s mug I found! I just love it!

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The Differences In Etiquette Books

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I’m often asked which etiquette book is my favorite. To be 100% honest, most from the 1920s-1950s hit the nail on the head, in my opinion. I love The Amy Vanderbilt Complete Book of Etiquette, 50th Anniversay Edition. This is not the exact one that I have. Mine is much older, but from what I’ve reasearched, a lot of the “older” etiquette remains in this 50th anniversary addition. I feel like Ms. Vandernbilt went into great depth explaining various rules of etiquette. She not only explained the basics – she covered it all.

Another favorite is Emily Post’s Etiquette, 19th Edition: Manners for Today (Emily’s Post’s Etiquette). Now, this is one I’ve really noticed changes in over time. The writers of Emily Post Etiquette have relaxed a lot of the rules, which, being fairly traditional, I don’t love. Overall, though, the bones hold true, and it’s an easily understood etiquette book, which I feel is important. Should etiquette change? Absolutely. I just feel that some of the guidance is a little too casual for certain circumstances and enjoy a sense of formality many seem to miss in the world?

I really enjoy studying how etiquette books have changed and evolved over time. I always teach that etiquette is the culmination of cultural and societal norms. I’ve never seen a more accurate example than that of etiquette books and how they evolve over time. I hope this post helps you find the etiquette book that is best for you! Thank you for reading!