Are your manners business class?

While browsing through the bookstore this weekend, I came across Jacqueline Whitmore’s ‘Business Class – etiquette essentials for success at work.’ At 192 pages it’s an easily-digestible, whistle-stop tour of business manners.

Most of us, I’m sure, pride ourselves on our deportment, polite conversation, appearance and general demeanor. You don’t get far in PR if you don’t show up on time, speak eloquently, dress appropriately and conduct yourself well. But even if you are a seasoned pro, it’s always good to double-check. People rarely tell you if you have unconsciously offended them, particularly clients and partners, but it can have a dramatic effect on your professional and personal reputation.

For instance, I have noticed since moving to the Valley that on occasion even senior marketing staff do not shake hands at the conclusion of a meeting. Is this a time-saving move? A sign of informality? Or poor manners? It can easily cause an unintended sleight to others with different business mores.

So Business Class is one of those books that if you read it and learn nothing, then you can bask in the warm glow of what a fine, upstanding bastion of etiquette you are; or if you read it and learn a few extra tips, that’s one or two fewer people you may offend in future. Either way, it’s time well spent.

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