Manners in the workplace do matter!
Many studies have shown that rudeness in the workplace creates tension and stress in all types of office environments. Business etiquette encompasses much more than saying “please,” “thank you,” “hello,” and “goodbye” to co-workers, although these common courtesies help.
Test your knowledge of etiquette. How would you handle these situations? I’m willing to bet you could use a refresher course in basic business manners. Are your manners good? Take this quiz and find out.
1. The following is a suitable introduction: “Miss Chief, I would like you to meet our client, Mr. Smith.” (True or false)
Fake. First mention the name of the person of greatest authority or importance. Gender or age is not the deciding factor. When a customer is involved, it should be mentioned first. A proper business introduction should mention the first and last name: “Bill Smith …”
2. If someone forgets to introduce you, it is appropriate to continue the conversation without saying anything. (True or false)
Fake. You should say something like, “My name is _______, I don’t think we’ve met.” Now, “I am __________, Joe’s wife, and you are?”
3. If YOU forget someone’s name, don’t worry. Keep talking. (True or false)
Fake. It’s okay to admit that you can’t remember. Say something like: “Your face is familiar to me, please help me with your name.” Now, “My mind went blank, is your name?” Or say, “I’m Marjorie Brody”; then the other person usually says his name.
4. When shaking hands, a man should wait for a woman to extend her hand. (True or false)
Fake. With more women in the workforce, business etiquette has become gender neutral. Women need not hesitate to offer their hands first.
5. Who goes through the revolving door first?
For. Host. That allows you to be ready on the other side to take the guest to the place where they are meeting.
6. It’s okay to have private conversations in office bathrooms, elevators, and other public spaces. (True or false)
Fake. The saying “Walls have ears” is true. You never know who might be listening to intimate details of your life or business transaction / conversation. And, at best, it is inconsiderate that you are invading these public areas making noise.
7. You should always carry a drink in your left hand at a cocktail party. (True or false)
True. This will allow you to properly greet someone with a handshake without having to juggle your drink.
8. What percentage of the message you communicate to someone is conveyed through your visual appearance?
B. 55% Remember, your package does count, that means your wardrobe must fit and be appropriate for the environment, and you must be well-groomed. Also pay attention to your body language and don’t forget to smile.
9. When two businessmen communicate, the average visual distance is:
For. 1 1/2 feet
B. 3 feet
vs. 7 feet
B. 3 feet If it gets any closer, it could be invading your personal space. A little more and you would have to scream. This distance will vary by country. It is important to understand cultural differences before doing business in foreign countries.
10. It is appropriate to tell a business associate that your fly is open. (True or false)
True. Otherwise, you will be embarrassed when you find out. Why let others see him in this state, if you can take him aside and subtly tell him to zip it up? Imagine how you would feel if no one told you!
11. It is appropriate for women to wear sexy outfits at a company cocktail party. (True or false)
Fake. The keyword here is “company”. This is still a business event, so women should dress appropriately and professionally.
12. Women should wear stockings and men should wear socks for attractive “business casuals.” (True or false)
True. Bare feet are NEVER acceptable in any work-related environment. The only exception: if your company retreat or business trip is on a beach or pool and everyone else is wearing flip flops or sandals. “Business casual” does not mean “dress casually”.
13. Your glasses of water and wine are placed on the right side of your stage. (True or false)
Certain The water and wine glasses go on the right side on the plate. Remember, the glass has five letters, just like the word “correct.”
14. To indicate that you do not want wine, turn your wine glass upside down. (True or false)
Fake All you have to do is wave your hand over it when asked or say, “No thanks.” Most waiters or waitresses won’t ask again.
15. The bread should be cut into small pieces with a knife. (True or false)
Fake Break the small pieces by hand to make butter, then eat them.
16. The host, the one who invites, pays for lunch. (True or false)
Certain Learn about your company’s policies BEFORE inviting customers to lunch. Be selective about the restaurant and make sure it is within your budget.
17. You place your napkin on the chair when you finish dinner and when you get up from the table. (True or false)
Fake The napkin (cloth or linen) is placed on the table, to the left of the plate when you finish eating.
18. If you are disconnected, it is the caller’s responsibility to redial. (True or false)
Certain You initiated the call; you have to redial if something happens to the connection. It doesn’t matter how it happened.
19. When using a speakerphone, you must announce if someone else is present before a conversation begins. (True or false)
Certain If you must use a speakerphone (something I recommend avoiding unless it is a group call), it is rude not to inform all parties involved in the conversation that they are present.
20. If you are out of the office, it is important that you change your voicemail message. (True or false)
Certain You should record a greeting that says something like, “I’m out of the office today, April 12. If you need help, please contact _________ at extension 12.” Now say, “I’m leaving today, April 12, but I’ll be back on ___________.”
21. It is okay to send confidential information and large attachments in a
Email. (True or false)
Fake First, there is no such thing as private email. Even after you think you’ve deleted a message, any competent IT professional can retrieve it from your hard drive. And the message also travels to other mail servers throughout the messaging process. Rule of thumb: NEVER send confidential or private information. Second: never send a large attachment. Consider using traditional mail methods (USPS, UPS, FedEx), because the recipient may have trouble downloading the file (taking up too much time or space on their hard drive).
22. Important mail must be answered within:
For. 48 hours
B. 4 days
vs. One week
For. 48 hours Follow-up is essential in business. Anything over two days is unprofessional and will likely cost you a client or business deal.
23. “Dear Sir / Madam.” should be avoided as a greeting. (True or false)
Certain It shows that you didn’t take the time to come up with a name and shows no respect for the recipient.
24. Thank you notes should be typed. (True or false)
Fake A well-handwritten thank you note works wonders – the recipient feels special and appreciates the fact that they took the time to personalize the note by handwriting it.
25. During a meeting, it is okay to leave your cell phone on in case you are expecting a call. (True or false)
Fake It’s rude to fellow attendees and speakers if your cell phone rings during a meeting. Turn it off or put it in vibrate mode.
26. If you overhear a colleague’s conversation in a cubicle, that’s fine.
comment on what you just heard. (True or false)
Fake. Discretion is advised in this situation. In general, try not to eavesdrop on your cubicle mates. But sometimes you hear information. This is the time to pretend you didn’t. Of course, there are always exceptions.
0-8 correct – Uh oh! You’re probably one of those people who forget to fill the copier with paper and steal paper clips from a coworker’s desk. Tsk tsk. I bet your co-workers don’t think much of you. I also doubt that you will get that coveted promotion. Buy a book of etiquette or consider hiring a coach to help you polish up your professionalism, before it’s too late.
9-17 correct – Occasionally you forget which fork to use for your salad during a business lunch, and you may also forget that sweat pants are not appropriate when the dress code is “business casual”. Still, there is hope for you. Find a role model / mentor and promise to improve workplace etiquette.
18-26 correct – Nothing bad. You probably remembered to send a thank you note to the customer you met last week. It’s also probably safe to assume that you will never forget to call your office if you expect to be late. However, don’t act too cocky with others. The consummate professional never gloats, but tries to help others improve and work efficiently as a team.