Etiquette

Telephone Etiquette 101

Answering calls may seem like a less important matter to pay attention to. In reality – however – many companies have flourished because of their effective communication techniques. Today, one of the most important means of communication is the telephone. It is suggested that every worker in a company be taught how to manage calls efficiently. Here is a guide to get you started.

Department Calls

Calls come in various departments inside an office. Wherever you are assigned, it is important to follow the steps listed below:

1. Answer calls before the third ring. Prompt answers always make individuals satisfied of your services.

2. Before hurrying to pick up the receiver, drop any activity or conversation with another party. It is essential that you remain focused on your task.

3. Speak distinctly in a pleasant tone of voice.

4. Be courteous at all times. If a caller has mistaken your department for another one, offer him help and it’ll be much appreciated.

5. First impressions last. The caller will always be reminded of the call he / she made.

6. When transferring calls, remind the caller of what you are about to do and where you’re going to transfer the line.

7. If there is a need for you to leave the line, be reminded to press the “hold” button so the caller cannot hear noises on the other end of the line.

The Right Responses

There may be times when the called party is not in or may not be available to take the call. In such cases, the following responses should be given:

1. When the caller is out
“He is not here at the moment. Would you like me to leave a message for you?”

2. The receptionist does not know the location of the individual being called by
“He went out of the office for a moment. Would you like to leave a message?”

3. Individual being called by is on a holiday / day-off
“He is out of the office for a holiday / for the day. Can someone else help with your queries?”

4. Person being called by is late
“He hasn’t come in yet, but I am expecting him very shortly.”

5. Individual does not want to be disturbed or is busy
“He is unavailable at the moment. You can leave a message on his voicemail instead.”

How to Properly Take Messages

There are many instances when you have to take messages from the caller. Here is how to properly do it.

1. Always have a pen and paper on your desk.

2. When the caller prefers to leave a message, be sure to ask for the following:

- the caller’s name and its proper spelling
- the caller’s contact number including the area code

3. Ensure that you’ve taken the right message by repeating it to the caller

4. Note down the time and date of the message and sign the paper with your initials

5. Place the piece of paper on top of the called party’s table.

6. You may also transfer the caller to the voicemail. Remember to ask the caller where he / she wants to leave the message.

How to Handle Rude Callers

A receptionist can sometimes encounter rude or impatient calls from another party. If you come across such situation, be reminded to do the following:

1. Keep yourself calm. Remain polite and diplomatic despite the rude behavior of your caller.

2. Show that you eager to solve the problem by helping him out and by answering the queries politely.

3. Remember that the caller’s concern may be a very important matter.

If you do the steps listed above, you are sure to keep the line of communication effective between callers. You will also provide the best customer services to your clients.

Telephone Etiquette – Tips To Remember

Although instant messaging and email have become a standard form of office communication, the telephone still plays a vital role in the industry. Telephone calls should follow certain rules of etiquette to help make the experience a productive and pleasant one for the people involved.

Presenting a professional image to your caller is of utmost importance inside the office. Making your customers well-informed makes them feel taken care of by the entire organization. The following tips will help establish better communication with your clientele.

Being Prepared

Preparation is necessary when taking calls. You have to be mentally and physically prepared at work so you can listen and communicate more effectively.

It is important that you have a strong start to better establish a rapport with the caller. Greeting in an impressive tone can help put you to a good start and can make things right all throughout the conversation.

Techniques may be used to build a better rapport with callers. Read on several techniques and apply them at work each day.

Effective Techniques to Use

On hold techniques are available to maintain a polite conversation with clients. One of the commonly used sentences in the office today is, “May I put you on hold?”

When transferring calls, it is important that you inform the caller of what you are about to do. Remember to tell the caller where you are going to transfer or redirect the call.

How to Speak

There are certain tips that help achieve better communication. Here are some few important things to remember:

• Speak clearly – Enunciate the words clearly and distinctly.

• Use the proper tone – A nonverbal component in communication is your tone of voice. Use a soft but firm tone so the caller can understand you better. Such tone will also make a polite answer to the individual. Cell phone calls tend to produce a louder noise. Be sure to lower your voice when answering calls from a mobile phone.

• Effective listening – Drop any activity before taking a call. These activities can be disturbing to you and the caller as well. Listen intently and patiently to the person speaking so you can get the right message imparted by the caller.

Distractions can come from anywhere or from anybody once you are on the phone. It can come from a blinking message on your computer or from an officemate chatting behind. It is essential to avoid these distractions so you can concentrate better on your task.

• Positive speech – Language can make or break a call. Some words can immediately turn off a caller and should therefore be never used.

• The golden rule – Treat the caller in a way that you want to be treated when making a call.

Keeping Matters Private

Some issues are not to be discussed on phone. When taking a private message from a caller, be sure to provide him / her with utmost privacy. Be sure that there is no noise in the background so you can both concentrate on your tasks. If necessary, you can put the individual on hold and wait for the called party to answer the call.

You may also redirect the call to voicemail so the individual can leave the message from there. For many customers, privacy is a delicate and important matter. It is therefore appropriate to provide them with the confidentiality they need.

Social Etiquette And Romantic Date Encounters

Some of the most embarrassing date moments spring from the fact that people tend to make their own social rules and forget that there are protocols to be followed. If you are going out with someone, make sure that you understand the rules perfectly. Get the needed information and prepare everything to have a fun and memorable night. Here are some tried and proven tips from the experts.

Scheduling

Plan ahead when you are going out, how long you will be staying out for and where you are going. You will need to ask permission and let other people know about the plans, so that they can stop worrying. You have to be ready 10 to 15 minutes before the time your date plans to pick you up. Men should be at their date’s house early, but not too early.

You may send a text message or call your date to let her know that you will be on your way. When men pull up in front of their date’s house, never honk the horn and just wait for the girl to enter your car. Get down, knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Meet your date’s parents if they are available. This shows a lot of respect. Also let them know that you will be bringing their daughter back on time. Open the car door for your date as well.

How to Dress and Behave

Where do you intend to go? You have to wear the right clothes for the occasion. If you’re going to a formal dinner, make sure you dress appropriately. Practice some table manners and how to eat in a fine dining restaurant. If you’re going to the beach, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Plan your activities ahead so that you can bring the necessary items.

Make eye contact several times during your date. This makes the other person feel important and the sense that you are listening intently. Let the other person finish talking before you respond. Listen more and ask questions about the other person, instead of just talking about yourself all the time. Make sure you give your date compliments from the moment you see her. Try to make her feel special by saying you like her dress or shoes. Laugh at jokes, even if they’re not very funny. Respond by telling a joke of your own. Jokes have to be decent and clean during dates.

Some Romantic Manners

It is a good idea to shut your cell phone off during the date. Do not answer your phone unless it is very urgent. Do not talk very closely or talk about sensitive stuff until your date opens the topic. Also keep your hands to yourself, especially during the first date. Be a gentleman by offering your jacket or giving your date more choices in the activities.

Keep flirting simple and set limits. Try to gauge and observe your date’s observations. Do not be too forward or aggressive with your statements and questions. Get to know your date more before you move on. Finally, end the night formally by saying you have a nice time and bringing your date home safe and right on schedule.

Restaurant Manners

People need to visit the restaurant once in awhile. However, you need to master a number of etiquette and social manners to fully enjoy the experience and avoid getting embarrassed in front of other guests and the host. You will quickly pick up the rules as you practice these time and again. Here are some more tips on how to look your best while dining.

Basic Rules

Always arrive 5 to 10 minutes early. Never come to an event late. Once seated, position your table napkin neatly on your lap. Place it beside your plate whenever you need to be excused from the table. Instead of passing any item hand to hand, set these on the table. Examples of the items to be passed are the bread basket, salt and pepper shakers and butter plate. Do not intercept a pass. Do not snag a roll out of a bread basket or use a shaker when still en route to another person at the table. Food should be served from the left, while dishes are taken out from the right side of the diner.

Before you eat or spread dips, butter and spreads, transfer these from the serving dish onto your plate first. Do not turn your wine glass upside down just to decline wine. You should allow the wine to pour to avoid drawing any more attention. You can also hold your hand over the wine glass to indicate that you do not wish to be served any more wine. Scoop food away from you at all times. Before you season the food, give it a little taste first. Try a little bit of everything on your plate. If your food is too hot or cold, wait for it to cool off. Do not blow on the food.

More Basic Manners

Keep your elbows off the table at all times. Also keep your left hand on your lap, until you need to use it. Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with it full. Cut only food that is enough for your next mouthful. Eat in small bites slowly. If you’re eating steak, do not cut the meat into several pieces.

Slice one piece at a time then chew. Do not clean up spills using your napkin. Do not touch things that have dropped on the flour. You can use the napkin to keep spills away from you. You can wait for the server to clean up any mess or bring you a replacement of any item that has fallen on the floor.

Switch your cell phone off before entering the restaurant. Never answer your phone during the meal. If it is very important, you can excuse yourself from the table then take the call outside the restaurant. Do not use a toothpick, comb your hair or apply makeup while still seated on the table. When a women leaves the table or comes back to be seated, all men at the same table should stand up. Avoid pushing your dishes away from you once you are done. Do not stack them, but wait for the server to remove these.

Proper Etiquette When Meeting Someone for the First Time

If you’re meeting a person for the first time, it is vital that you show some manners as a form of respect and politeness. This applies whether you are the one visiting a new place or you have new guest to attend to. The objective should be to make the other person as comfortable as possible. You can get ahead by following a few simple guidelines.

Initial Actions

If you are already expecting the person, make sure you do your research. Find out more about the person and get information such as his full name, the place of origin, occupation, reason for visiting and other connections. This will help pave the way for a smoother conversation. Use this information to ask the person and start new discussions. It will make him more comfortable, as well as give the impression that you really were anticipating his arrival.

If you are casually introduced to someone, look the person in the eye, smile, then offer your hand. As you are shaking hands, introduce yourself and get the other person’s name. Repeating the name will help you remember better. Do not forget the person’s name. If you still do, ask a common friend quietly to get you back on track.

When Visiting

If you’re the one coming over a new person’s place, try to bring a little something to show respect, such as flowers, a bottle of wine or a pie. Greet the person warmly as he opens the door. Do not enter the house until you are invited in. Once you are inside, establish your space and wait until you are invited to sit. Do not touch items and other decorations inside the house. Stick to the people you came in with and wait for the perfect time to mingle.

When dining, always practice good table manners. Do not eat until the new person or host has started to eat or insisted that you begin first. You can share jokes and tell stories at the table, as long as you consider these appropriate and decent. Avoid green jokes and other offensive remarks when meeting someone for the first time. Keep some of your opinions to yourself. You should think and review your possible comment before blurting it out.

If you want to move around the house or check out the space, always ask permission. If you need to go to the bathroom, ask for directions. Remember to keep the bathroom clean at all times. Feel free to ask about photos and other items that can be a good topic for conversation. If you land upon a sensitive topic, such as the death of a friend, give your sincerest apologies then move on.

The Way to Behave

If you meet someone for the first time, it is a good idea to keep topics light and open-ended. This way, you can gauge if the person may react positively or otherwise towards certain topics. Do not gossip with the person or you might get the impression of being someone not to be trusted. When it is time to leave, give you warmest thanks and say that it has been a pleasure getting to know him. Shake hands and look the person in the eye again as you bid farewell.

Internet Etiquette

The internet has become common ground for millions of people all over the world to communicate. It is equally important to know that there have been rules and etiquette established to ensure that the online world continues to be safe and fun for everyone to hang around in. Internet etiquette or « netiquette » is very easy to learn, provided you have the right background and manners for it.

Common Courtesy

Always be respectful and courteous to others when chatting inside a chatroom or sending an email. Include the words, « Please », « Thank you » and « Good morning » when writing. The internet will become a friendlier environment if you practiced politeness more. Use emoticons to convey your expressions, since people usually cannot see your face when communicating. There are plenty of emoticons available to help you share your feelings and expressions.

Informative and Brief

Keep your messages short, especially when chatting or writing an email. Try to cut your message into several short paragraphs, so that these can be easy to follow. Use acronyms and other online abbreviations to help others understand your message faster. If you’re speaking to a friend or a online beginner, you can make messages longer, provided that you stick to the topic at hand, so as not to confuse the other person.

Shouting and Flooding

Writing in all capital letters is shouting in the virtual world. This can be considered very rude by a lot of people. You can capitalize proper nouns and a word or two to emphasize your point. Also avoid flooding or following up one thread or post after the next. Other people can no longer type in their messages if you occupy all the spaces available. This is also considered to be very rude. Spamming is another invasive and rude action wherein you get into a person’s email and send too many messages, clogging the entire inbox.

Never speak in inappropriate or profane language when inside chatrooms. You can get banned or kicked out temporarily if a moderator discovers your rude manners. If you are talking to people from other countries, be sensitive about some of their language and try to help them understand you better by using the right language, tools and emoticons.

Privacy Matters

Never post personal information in the wrong location to avoid online predators. Always watch your kids if they are on the internet, since they can divulge useful information for dangerous individuals. Always obey copyright laws. Cyberbullying is existent online so you have to watch out for your kids carefully. Report any offensive action to moderators and web site owners.

Do not pose outrageous photos of yourself or other individuals on the internet. You can be charged with libel or slander by spreading gossip and other offensive remarks about another person online. Always be courteous and hold your tongue even when getting into fights online. The best thing to do would be to report to the right authorities and not getting in contact with the offensive party by deleting the account or cutting any links.

How to Behave in a Date

Some people have had their most embarrassing moments during a date, simply because they weren’t following instructions. If you are going out with someone, make sure that you understand the rules perfectly. Get the needed information and prepare everything to have a fun and memorable night. Here are some tried and proven tips from the experts.

Scheduling

Plan ahead when you are going out, how long you will be staying out for and where you are going. You will need to ask permission and let other people know about the plans, so that they can stop worrying. You have to be ready 10 to 15 minutes before the time your date plans to pick you up. Men should be at their date’s house early, but not too early.

You may send a text message or call your date to let her know that you will be on your way. When men pull up in front of their date’s house, never honk the horn and just wait for the girl to enter your car. Get down, knock on the door or ring the doorbell. Meet your date’s parents if they are available. This shows a lot of respect. Also let them know that you will be bringing their daughter back on time. Open the car door for your date as well.

How to Dress and Behave

Where do you intend to go? You have to wear the right clothes for the occasion. If you’re going to a formal dinner, make sure you dress appropriately. Practice some table manners and how to eat in a fine dining restaurant. If you’re going to the beach, make sure you wear comfortable shoes. Plan your activities ahead so that you can bring the necessary items.

Make eye contact several times during your date. This makes the other person feel important and the sense that you are listening intently. Let the other person finish talking before you respond. Listen more and ask questions about the other person, instead of just talking about yourself all the time. Make sure you give your date compliments from the moment you see her. Try to make her feel special by saying you like her dress or shoes. Laugh at jokes, even if they’re not very funny. Respond by telling a joke of your own. Jokes have to be decent and clean during dates.

Some Romantic Manners

It is a good idea to shut your cell phone off during the date. Do not answer your phone unless it is very urgent. Do not talk very closely or talk about sensitive stuff until your date opens the topic. Also keep your hands to yourself, especially during the first date. Be a gentleman by offering your jacket or giving your date more choices in the activities.

Keep flirting simple and set limits. Try to gauge and observe your date’s observations. Do not be too forward or aggressive with your statements and questions. Get to know your date more before you move on. Finally, end the night formally by saying you have a nice time and bringing your date home safe and right on schedule.

How Does Business Phone Etiquette Affect Your Business Performance?

Before and During the Call

It is important for someone to constantly practice their tone before making an actual phone call to ensure that they can achieve the right pitch, volume and tone of voice when speaking over the phone. This will help the listener over at the other end to interpret what is actually being said beyond the verbal cues.

When you make your phone call for business matters, always begin by identifying yourself, your position, and what company you belong to. Then, indicate the name of the specific person you wish to talk to. But take note that you have to be polite when requesting to speak to that person because you’ll never know when they might be busy attending to something equally important.

On the other hand, if you are the one answering a phone call, make sure to assume a professional but pleasant tone. As when you are the one calling, identify yourself and your business organization. This straightforward approach of phone communication is preferred in the business setting wherein almost everyone works at a rapid pace.

Answering or Responding to Phone Calls

Another important etiquette feature in a business phone system is the hold feature. This particular feature produces dual results such that it will enable you to attend to urgent cases and still be able to maintain your communication with the person on the other line. However, there is a specific way to do this right to avoid offending the other person on the phone and to avoid wasting their precious time.

If you are about to put someone on hold, make sure to ask them first if they would allow to be kept on hold for a short while. Wait for their answer before you leave and attend to an urgent task, leaving them with no idea where you just went.

If they are indefinite about being kept on hold, calmly and clearly explain to them the necessity of attending to another matter while you are talking on the phone. Make them feel that this does not render them unimportant, but that there is a sense of urgency about this other matter. If you are going to cause inconvenience to the person you are speaking to, make sure that you explain it to them fully. However, make sure to not keep them waiting beyond 30 seconds and be quick when addressing the urgent matter that you promised to respond to while you keep the other person on the line waiting.

Leaving Voice Mail or Messages

The voice mail option is available for most business phone systems, which enables one to leave a message to someone informing them of what you are up to such that you are not available to answer the call. Hence, it informs the caller instead of trying to guess why the call is not being responded by the person on the other hand. This is especially useful in a business setting wherein people you are communicating with lead a hectic schedule such that they cannot waste even a few minutes trying to connect to you via phone call.

When you leave a voice mail message though, keep it brief and straight to the point. Make sure you speak the words clearly for the person on the other line to understand the message clearly. If you have a playback feature when recording your voice mail, you can play it again to see for yourself whether it is clear enough. Any business professional will appreciate getting a return message to let them know you cannot respond within the time needed.

Good Bathroom Etiquette

If you’re sharing a bathroom with colleagues or housemates, it is important that you also practice good hygiene and proper etiquette. Cleanliness is very important so that you keep the environment conducive for living or working. The general rule is that you need to leave the bathroom the same way it was when you entered. Here are some quick and easy tips.

For Starters

Do not gossip in the restroom. You will never know if your boss or the person you’re talking about is just inside one of the stalls. Never talk about other people in the restroom. The objective is to relieve yourself and clean up. You can engage in small conversations provided that it there’s no malice or other consequences.

Check a stall first before attempting to push the door in. First, check the lock sign or other indications that another person might be using the stall at the moment. Some locks do not work properly, so you will have to check a second time by viewing the open space beneath stall doors as you enter the bathroom and ensure that there is no one else using it.

When opening bathroom stall doors, push gently, instead of banging it in. This will allow the person inside to react with some time to spare, should the locks be dysfunctional. If someone reacts as you open the door, simply give your apologies then look for the next vacant stall. If you and a friend are using two stalls at the same time, do not talk to each other.

More Bathroom Manners

Do not engage in cell phone conversations in the bathroom. Do not broadcast personal matters with other people you do not know. Never argue with anyone inside the bathroom. Do not block the sinks or keep others from accessing it, just because you are putting your makeup on. Always shut the faucet after use. Do not leave anything on the sink. Always look after flushing. Always check to see if all waste is gone after flushing. In some cases, you may need to flush a second time.

Use just enough toilet paper. You may use these to open faucets and door knobs. Throw these in the waste bin after use. Skip the perfumes and other free products. It will be advisable if you bring your own soap, unless the bathroom has liquid hand soap available. Do not just spray the space around you trying to get rid of bad smell. Some people can be allergic to perfume.

Keeping It Clean

Never litter inside the bathroom. If the place needs some cleaning, call the maintenance personnel for the benefit of everyone. If the lights were already on when you entered, keep these on. Establishments usually keep the bathroom lights on. Do not take up too much time at the sink if there are others who need to use it. Never use the opposite sex’s bathroom if yours is occupied.

If you find things left in the bathroom, call to see if anyone has lost anything. Empty the sink if you filled it with water initially. Make sure there are no traces of dirt and other wastes left when you’re done. Also keep the mirrors clean at all times.

Four Basic Rules To Proper Instant Messenger Etiquette

Instant messaging has risen in popularity with the boom of the internet industry. It is indeed a reliable and cost-efficient way to communicate with friends as compared to making phone calls or send text messages.

The exponential growth of the internet messaging system has sadly led several users to abuse its use. The sense of immediacy has created this illusion of casual communication such that one completely neglects all forms of ethical concern when communicating via IM. If you are one of those who frequently use internet messaging devices such as Yahoo! Messenger, AOL, or Skype, here are some basic guidelines to proper etiquette when using IM for communication purposes.

Understand IM Limits

Again, the immediacy and the casual sense of communication that the IM environment creates establish this idea amongst IM users that everyone is willing to chat with anyone. However, this is a common myth that one must realize isn’t true. If you have free time and would be willing to spend 30 minutes each day chatting with your online friends, then you need to understand that not everyone has that luxury. When you start a conversation with someone and they do not respond quickly, avoid “buzzing” them. They could be busy doing other works, or they might not even be in front of the computer!

Therefore, try to be more sensitive with your IM sessions. Learn to understand what others’ priorities are. And even when you are free to chat online, you have to understand that these friends of yours probably aren’t. You have to be specially sensitive when chatting with someone who is at the office as it could have serious repercussions at work.

Crosstalk is a Major No-No

During to the casual nature of instant messaging, it is a common practice for IM users to respond or engage in more than one conversations at the same time. During this conversation, you have ideas that you want to share to your ‘friend’ but your fingers are not as quick to type them in as these thoughts arise. Hence, a common practice among online users would be to chop up their sentences such that they appear on your chat box as phrases.

A tendency for most users would be to readily assume or conclude what they see appear on the box without being aware of what the rest of the statement is about. Hence, several friends end up arguing due to miscommunication during online chat. Hence, you must avoid sending out potentially offending statements, especially if you are unsure about how the other person would respond.

Be Careful When Chatting with Strangers on IM

IM accounts are often public, thus giving strangers the opportunity to send you messages on the spot. Just as you would when handing out e-mail addresses, you need to be extra careful when responding to complete strangers. However, do not readily assume that they have bad intentions or trying to spam you. If a stranger starts a conversation, politely ask them what their intent is. And if they do respond politely, carry on with the conversation in a polite manner.

But if they start to flood you with messages and begin sending out offensive comments, there is a “Report Spam” or “Block” option in most IM windows that you can use to prevent them from sending future IM messages to your account.

Read and Respect IM Status

This is the most basic IM etiquette that most users fail to practice. When another user indicated “Busy” or “DND” on their IM profiles, you need to respect that. It simply indicates that they do not want to be disturbed with impromptu IM chat sessions. In some cases, others would post a custom status message, saying “Busy but you can leave a message”, then you can certainly drop them a quick message. However, do this only when you have something really important to say.