The power of good manners is not to be underestimated. In a world where everyone is racing against time, taking a few minutes out to extend some courtesy goes a long way. Championing the cause of good manners and etiquette is grooming expert Rukshana Eisa who shows how good manners come in handy in everyday life. In our exclusive four-part series, Eisa takes you through the code of conduct that you should be following in your professional, social and romantic life. We kick off the first part of the series with her guide on how to behave in different professional situations.
Part 1: CAREER
1. During a job interview
Introducing yourself: Ideally, you could stand up when the interviewer enters the room. This will also facilitate initiating the handshake while introducing yourself.
Handshake: Since the handshake is gender neutral, it can be initiated by either person. Your body language sends out a message so make sure to keep it firm but not bone-crunching as that would indicate an aggressive person. On the other hand, a fairly limp handshake would not have the desired impact, so, make sure that the pressure is just right. Good hand shakers are seen as being more extroverted and therefore more worthy of being hired. Also, bear in mind that a good handshake should last about three seconds, after which you need to withdraw your hand moreso with a new acquaintance.
Body language: Studies have shown that 70% of our communication is achieved non-verbally. So, even while speaking through the interview, pay close attention to your body language. While being interviewed, maintain eye contact and give the person your full attention. Try to give short, to-the-point responses without launching into long tirades.
Dressing: Dressing appropriately is of the utmost importance. Make sure your clothes are properly cleaned, ironed, and well-fitted. What we wear speaks volumes in just a few seconds. Dressing to impress is really not needed, but you always have to be well put-together.
2. Writing a formal email
Salutations: When writing formal emails certain rules need to be followed. To start with, use an official email address with a professional sound to it and keep a separate one for personal use. Salutations on work-based emails should be more formal avoiding expressions like ‘Hi’ or ‘Hey’. The closing phrases would similarly be something like ‘Best Regards,’ ‘Sincerely’ or ‘Thank you.’ Even if the sender is casual, always reply in a formal manner.
Grammar and proofing: Pay attention to spelling mistakes and grammar and spell people’s names correctly. Always use a subject line, so the person receiving the mail can get an idea at a glance. Also, avoid using too much humour or funny anecdotes while corresponding for work and last, but most importantly, enter the receiver’s email address once you have finished writing and proofing the message. This could save you the embarrassment of sending an incomplete email or to a wrong address.
3. During an office party
General conduct: While it may be a party, you still have to keep in mind that these are your work colleagues and therefore it is very important to strike the right balance between professionalism and enjoyment. The rules that apply in the office will still hold true outside it and cannot be as relaxed as a purely social setting.
Dressing: Dressing for the evening is equally important. Women may not be in corporate attire but still have to follow certain guidelines in order to send out the correct message. So ultra- short hemlines and deep cleavages are a big no-no. Attractive, yet elegant and understated would be the way to go. Men should stick to collared shirts and trousers with moccasins or oxfords for a more relaxed look.
To drink or not to drink: Drinking is totally acceptable and let’s not forget, it is a party, after all! Having said that, you should drink in moderation. So, limit the intake of alcohol and do not get carried away. Being the life of the party is good as long as you do not make a complete fool of yourself in front of your work colleagues, because come Monday morning that drunken revelry will turn into embarrassment!
Rukshana Eisa is the founder and Managing Director of Image Inc, the Grooming and Etiquette school and author of THE GOLDEN CODE: Mastering The Art Of Social Success. She has been one of the official grooming and etiquette instructors at the Miss India training program for over a decade and worked with brand like IL&FS,Citibank, JP Morgan Chase, KPMG, Star TV, ITC group of hotels and L’Oreal among others.
Watch out for the second part of this series to read about the etiquette that should be followed when you’re on a date.