I’ve always been intrigued with what people consider the “lost arts”. I was grandma chic before the influencers picked it up, and I’m not talking about wearing cable knit sweaters and loafers. I’m more of your rocker grandma who still wears her original Stevie Nicks concert tee and gives everyone the peace sign.
Likewise, it is sad to think of what “arts” may have been lost through the pandemic. Have our connections to one another become a lost art?
Business etiquette is a skill and artform that has built strong relationships for decades, even centuries. Etiquette is much more than table manners and much less than snobbery. Etiquette sets the foundation to build prosperous relationships. When we are confident in a variety of situations, we spend less time anxious about the correct way of doing something and allow more mental capacity for the real connection.
Over the years, professionals have perfected these arts, and what a shame for them to be lost. I’m on a personal mission to keep the Art of Etiquette alive, sharing with you the skills, practices and basics of treating others with respect, consideration and graciousness.
Here are four simple skills you can sharpen daily to strengthen yourself as a professional.
1. Polish your appearance. Business professional workwear isn’t about fashion, it is about appropriateness. Etiquette always equals appropriateness. Pressed clothing, modesty and work heels (yes, they are a thing – buy a pair) make a show-stopping difference in your appearance.
2. Use your words. Words have power, and we must become intentional about what we say and how we say it. Begin using the polite words we learned as children. Please, thank you and you’re welcome don’t cost a single penny, yet are golden coins of a rich company culture.
3. Give your full attention. Make the commitment to disconnect from your electronics while engaging with someone. Staying constantly synced keeps you over-stimulated and results in only giving a fraction of your attention to those sharing their time with you. Present company is always the priority.
4. Order personalized stationery. A handwritten note card is the hallmark of etiquette. Nothing compares to receiving a nice piece of mail, communicating that time, effort and consideration were given to this special message.
Etiquette gives you the skills of proper behavior, and you have the power to make them art.
Having built her career in higher education as both faculty and administrator, Dr. Veronica Guinn has recently returned to her passion of teaching in the classroom at Arkansas State University. She teaches courses focused on leadership development and critical thinking for the Nontraditional Studies Department in A-State's University College, and is currently working toward her business etiquette certification through the Emily Post Institute. Guinn will also speak at the Women’s Leadership Summit on Oct. 11 in Jonesboro.