There’s a widely held belief that fundamental etiquette in the workplace has been in a steady decline for many years. While many companies have targeted specific inappropriate behaviors such as harassment and abuse, it’s hard to argue with the evidence that basic good conduct and protocol continues to slip. It’s unfortunate, because regardless of one’s position and occupation, the benefits of adhering to appropriate etiquette are irrefutable.

For this issue, I’ve turned to the experts at Image International, the world-class consulting and training company specializing in Business Etiquette, International Business Protocol, Cross-Cultural Awareness, Dining Tutorials, and Dress. Here are three critical tips from President Linda Allan:

Tips to Keep You and Your Company On Top

You may possess the highest credentials, be extremely skilled and look your best but your career could be stalled by an untimely slip in manners. You’ll be easy to spot if you’re sloppy, unorganized or ill-mannered. We are being observed all the time, and when it comes to manners, the person with the highest standards wins.

1. Clean up after yourself

After using your meeting room, boardroom, kitchen, or lunchroom – make sure you leave it in a state that you’d be proud to show your top customer. Throw out garbage, push chairs in, take your belongings with you, straighten items that were handled, refill things, etc. Do it quietly, efficiently, and every time. That’s class!

2. Be reserved

Don’t be too eager to grab the spotlight. Ambition is fine, but no one likes a show-off. Modesty will get you more attention in the long run than loud, expressive, rude or offending behavior. I’m not saying you should downplay or ignore your achievements, just don’t boast when you do speak of them.

3. Keep your cool

A true professional is one who keeps a cool head when others do not. But don’t confuse keeping a cool head with a relaxed or ‘don’t care’ attitude. Stay engaged, and be very careful of what you say and how you say it. You also need to manage your body language. A sigh, a roll of your eyes, rigid posture, or closing your eyes with your head back to show boredom is childish and has no place in business.

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