Entertaining and Business Etiquette

By Angela Marshall, 24th Nov 2014
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10.Table lay out2 1024x685 Entertaining and Business Etiquette

Business people regularly entertain clients at lunches, dinners and various social events. How many employees will portray the image of their company’s brand and will their personal image fit in with the brand? Having good social skills enhances your personal and professional image and reputation. It can also give you the edge and stand you out from the crowd.

Hosting

Bus Lunch iStock 000005908817Small2 300x189 Entertaining and Business Etiquette

The fundamental role of a good host is to make sure your guests are comfortable, relaxed and enjoying themselves. Good etiquette creates an environment that allows everyone to feel at ease.

Dress code: As a host or guest it is always advisable to dress on the side of conservative sensibility: dress well and in good taste and observe any rules. As the host, advise your guests any rules, and provide guidance as to appropriate wear as what you may consider is smart may not be what your guests do and vice a versa. For example – Smart Casual e.g. Men – trousers, jacket and no tie, Women – dress, skirt or trousers and top but no jeans.

Host

The demeanour of the event will very much be lead by you as the host and is the ideal time to show your personality, but at the same time remember you will represent the brand of your company.

Tips:

  1. Arrive approximately 30 minutes before your guests.
  2. Planning – check that everything is organised and planned to your requirements.
  3. Greet everyone with a firm, sincere handshake, a friendly smile and direct eye contact.Kissing on the cheeks should be avoided unless you are close friends, as many people find this uncomfortable..
  4. Introductions – formally, you should introduce lower ranking individuals to higher ranking individuals and it is appropriate to include titles (e.g., Dr., Judge, etc.) and name prefix (e.g., Mr., Mrs. Ms.). If you are on first name terms and in a more relaxed atmosphere then you may prefer to use first names only.
  5. Mingle – mingling amongst your guests is very important but can be nerve wracking. Try to find topics of interest you have in common or gain information of ones you don’t e.g.  your guest may well be a keen rower, and understand the rules more than you. Remember, always smile and look happy to your guests.
  6. Relax and smile – be relaxed otherwise your guests will not relax. Make every effort to show you are enjoying yourself but remember you are there to ensure your guests enjoy themselves.
  7. Partner – when partners are included ensure your partner introduces her or himself and uses the same tips.

If you are new at corporate entertaining, remember it gets easier with practise. Observe good hosts when you are entertained.

If in another country or in unfamiliar territory it is best to do some research. Key is to be relaxed and ensure your guests enjoy the event.

Guest

Tips:

  1. Be on time – Don’t arrive too early or be late, arrive within 10 – 15 minutes of the time given.
  2. Conversation – Listen and avoid interruptions, contribute to conversation and pick topics that involve everyone.
  3. Compliments – give and take compliments gracefully.
  4. Drink – wait to be offered a drink and don’t over indulge on alcohol.
  5. Meal – wait for all guests to receive their food and the host starts their meal.
  6. Thank you – email or text if that is your usual way of corresponding but strictly speaking I always think it is best to write a letter of thanks. You will always be remembered and you show your full appreciation.

How to Network when attending an Event

By Angela Marshall, 20th Nov 2014
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shutterstock 180799913 How to Network when attending an Event

Many people feel uncomfortable walking into a room full of strangers and some will avoid it. However, it is something we all must do to broaden our business and personal relationships. Whenever you are invited to an event approach it as a good time to network and get to know new people.

General Tips:

  • Introduce yourself to people – give a firm handshake, a smile and a greeting or remark reassures the other person.
  • Importance of Giving and Receiving – the easiest way to get what you want is to help others get what they want.  In return you will receive advice, knowledge, contacts or information. “Pursue the relationship not the sale”
  • What to Wear - Dress in a style that represents your personality, your company’s brand and your personal brand.
  • Think positively - Know what you want to achieve from the event. Commit the time and make things happen!
  • Walk in with confidence – Good posture, smile, eye contact, firm handshake and don’t stand so close to a person that you invade their personal space.
  • Speak to people you knowTalk to them for a few moments to get a feel of the environment; ask for introductions.
  • Be conscious of others in the room and their awareness.
  • Working the Room - Occasionally you can get a prior list of attendees, identify any people you particularly want to meet, but keep in mind you never know whom other people may know.
  • Introducing Yourself to People – Speak to someone who is on their own and then suggest you join others. Join a group of three or introduce people you know to people you have just met.
  • Ideas of topics to talk about – Think of conversation starters that are simple and interesting and preferably open questions (current affairs, recent news, developments). Be enthusiastic and sound interesting.
  • Description of what you doAlways be prepared with a short sentence to describe what you do. Keep it brief and to the point and try to include the benefits to your clients. Show what you can deliver, be confident, passionate about your work and add some humour.
  • How to remember namesBe the first to introduce yourself and ask the person for their name. Repeat their name back to them; if you are a visual person, imagine their name written down or look at their business card.
  • Where to place a name badgeAlways wear your name badge on your upper right shoulder. Why? When extending your right hand for a handshake the person will automatically be drawn to your right hand side. Position the badge high enough on your right side to give other people the best view of your badge as well as your face. Plus the badge will always lie flat and more secure when it is on the upper part of your chest as this is the flattest.
  • Your Network Style  – You are in control of how and where you network. Use your personality style to suit your approach. Learn what makes you tick and works best for you, but do go out of your comfort zone so that you grow and develop and become a great networker.

 


The Importance of Networking

By Angela Marshall, 13th Nov 2014
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shutterstock 159929105 The Importance of Networking

The Importance of Networking

Whether in our business or personal life it is important to network with other people. Why? It is an ideal way of obtaining information & connecting to others, as well as increasing your understnading of other people and your knowledge in general.

What is Networking?

It is an easy way to build mutually beneficial business relationships through meeting people, sharing ideas, gaining information and resources and making new friends. Whether it is for business or your personal life. It increases your contacts locally and throughout the world; very experienced ‘networkers’ claim they can speak to anyone in the world within 6 interactions.

Why Network?

It is a way of establishing new relationships and is not about selling. It is an opportunity to advertise yourself, plus increase your knowledge and share ideas. The world has become smaller and life has become fast-paced, therefore strong relationships are more important than ever. We are all in the business of selling and how well we connect with other people will form the basis of our success. “People buy people” and they will interact with people they like and trust. Customers must have confidence in your ability to meet their needs. Decisions in a company are made by people not computers therefore your success and the success of your company will rely on how well you communicate and interact with other people. Conversation is a skill and like most things it improves with experience and practice. Listening is important and a good listener is the one that will inspire others. Don’t stay with the same person, move on, but do it in a polite way. For example say that you need to speak or find someone else or say ” I mustn’t keep you from meeting other people.”

Quote:

“Nothing worthwhile ever happens quickly and easily. You achieve only as you are determined to achieve… and as you keep at it until you have achieved”. Robert H Lauer


Being Thoughtful to Others

By Angela Marshall, 6th Nov 2014
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welcoming guest Being Thoughtful to Others

Our lives are very busy and we are often rushing around. We can all be guilty of focusing on ourselves and it is something we need to do from time to time to achieve what needs to be done in our lives. However, it is also important to be thoughtful and considerate to others and to have a thought for other people’s desires and wishes. Being thoughtful is more than just being polite, it is helping to make the world a better place to live in. It is about doing things that you would like others to do for you.

It only takes a moment to be thoughtful to others.  It doesn’t have to cost money e.g. opening a door for a lady with a pushchair or a man carrying a heavy parcel or saying “please” and “thank you” to a waiter when you order your meal or a coffee. It is not only polite, it also makes it a more pleasant experience for the waiter and it can make you feel better too.

Just doing little things for people you know can make big differences in their lives. Consider phoning a friend or member of the family who lives on their own and say a quick hello. If you know someone is going through a bad time ring them or send a note or card with a message you are thinking of them.

Being thoughtful is effortless and easy for everyone to do and if everyone does it, the world will be a much brighter place.

Things to remember:

  1. Be humble – think about others as well as yourself
  2. Do good deeds for others and don’t expect anything in returngo out of your way to make someone’s day a bit brighter. Do to others as you would wish done to you.
  3. Take time to think about the things you say or dotaking responsibility for our actions and considering how it might affect other people.
  4. Make a person feel special – give them some time, listen and show interest.
  5. Smile – go out of your way to smile at everyone.
  6. Pay Attention to what is going on around you – notice what a difference you can make and take action.
  7. Benefits – with practice we gain experience and learn the joys and benefits of helping others  and it improves our own life as well.

To sum it up if we all learn to be thoughtful, we will all grow as individuals and our world will become a better place. There will be fewer problems as we take care of each other rather than being selfishly motivated.


The Art of Effective Listening Skills

By Angela Marshall, 3rd Nov 2014
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Depositphotos 19208853 xs The Art of Effective Listening Skills

“God gave us two ears and one mouth so that we listen more and talk less”.

I regularly notice how presenters on television interrupt the person they are interviewing, especially with politicians. They ask a question but do not wait for the person to complete the answer before they interrupt and even raise their voice to them.  However,  there are some who have a great way of interrupting to get an answer to the question without being rude. This is a great skill that takes some practise and experience, Eamonn Holmes on Sunrise Sky news and Vanessa  Feltz on BBC London 94.9 are very good at this. On the other hand, politicians can be the worst, especially on “BBC Question Time”. They constantly interrupt one another.

There are two sides to communication, listening and conveying our opinions, and a good communicator always listens to other people’s opinions, needs and wants. Only by using our listening skills do we develop and learn and understand other people’s views and ideas.

We can all be guilty of interrupting someone when we are excited, totally disagree with another person’s point of view or don’t get the answer to our question. Our opinion will be taken on board much more when we listen first and then answer afterwards. When a person doesn’t allow us to voice an opinion then it is more difficult, but if we are polite and ask them to allow us to speak we will have more chance of our opinion been listened to and valued.

To be a better listener we must use both ears, watch and maintain eye contact, give undivided attention, and finally be understanding. We are then engaging in active listening!

Tips:

  1. Stay Silent-  When we are silent and listen to the person we are more likely to notice the tone of their voice, their body language and what the meaning behind the words they are saying is. It will help us to remember and recall what they said.
  2. Avoid Interruptions – It’s often difficult not to want to interrupt but when we allow the person to express their views and ideas there are fewer misunderstandings and we learn and appreciate their comments better.
  3. Give Good Eye Contact – People communicate at least as much with their body language as they do with their words. By giving good eye contact it helps to observe the meaning of their words as they express and show their feelings. It also shows you are listening.
  4. Show Active Signs of Listening – Give active signs of listening – nod or comment e.g. ah, oh or mm. Ask questions to ensure that you understand.
  5. Pauses  – When pauses occur in the natural flow of the conversation, don’t feel that you must instantly fill the void. Silence is ok. Usually it is there because people are digesting what has been said before, or because the topic has been exhausted.
  6. Seek to understand before you seek to be understood – When we enter into conversation, our main aim is to be better understood. We need to remember to collect information before we circulate it.
  7. Effective Listening is a Matter of Attitude – Effective listening is more than just skill; it’s also a matter of attitude.

Being quiet and listening more is proven to be beneficial and the results will all be worthwhile. When we speak less, we do more, as our focus switches from talking to doing.

It is something we can all practise to do better!


Making a Positive First Impression

By Angela Marshall, 30th Oct 2014
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good manners Making a Positive First Impression

It only takes a few seconds for someone to assess you when you meet for the first time. Make it a positive one! In this short time, the other person forms an opinion about you based firstly on your appearance (the way you are dressed, your body language, your behaviour and, your mannerisms). Followed by the way you sound (pitch, accent and tone of voice) and finally the words you say.

First impressions are extremely important as they set the tone for your relationship in the future with that person.

Whether you are meeting someone for the first time in a social or business environment it’s important to know how to create a good first impression.

7 Tips for a Positive First Impression:

  1. Good Appearance

Dress appropriately for the occasion whether it is formal business, casual or evening social but express your personality that represents you and your business.  Ensure your clothes are well pressed and that they fit you well. Have good grooming by being neat, tidy and presentable, including your nails, hair and shoes. If you look and feel the part you feel more confident and have better self-esteem.

  1. Good Body Language

Have good posture, eye contact, give a good handshake (if appropriate, especially in business), give active signs of listening (nod or comment) when they are talking and remember to smile. It creates good will and is a sign of friendship.

  1. Be on Time

Plan to be on time in fact it is better to be a few minutes early and allow for some flexibility.

  1. Be Yourself, Be Calm and Relaxed

Appear confident even if you feel a bit on edge. Almost everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time. The more you meet people and practice the easier it will become.

  1. Small Talk and Network

Think of topics you can discuss and find out as best you can some common interests e.g. football, tennis, and music. In the UK it is always easy to start with the weather as it changes so often and can be different in different areas.

  1. Be Polite

Making a good impression includes being polite and courteous to the other person. Remember to turn off your mobile phone especially once you have met. However, you may need it to buzz if you are waiting for them!

  1. Be Positive

Be positive and enthusiastic as your attitude will show through unless you are a good actor.


Say Thank You When You Receive a Gift

By Angela Marshall, 23rd Oct 2014
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iStock 000013838726Small  Say Thank You When You Receive a Gift

Receiving a Gift

When a person has gone to the trouble of giving you a gift it is only polite to say thank you. We should appreciate the act of giving and the time it took to think of the gift, buy it and possibly wrap it. If a person has arranged for it to be sent it is even more important to thank, so they know you have received it.

If it is a personal friend a written note is still the best but at least a text, email or phone call is better than nothing. So often people forget or never get around to it.  It isn’t necessary to go overboard in expressing our gratitude; it doesn’t have to be long and complicated, but it is most important it is done.

If we do not express gratitude, our relationship might change because we are giving the impression that we don’t care about the other person.

Gifts can be accepted in different ways

In the western world gifts are generally opened at once unless it is for a specific day in the future. However, if you take a bottle of wine to your host they may well not open it as they have already gone to the trouble to arrange the meal with appropriate wines.

Different Cultures for Giving and Receiving a Gift

There are cultural differences, so it is important if you are in another country or visiting a country you are aware of these differences.

In the Western world people are fairly relaxed but others can be more formal, it is important to know and understand the culture.

For example:

Japan:

  • Present gift with both hands.
  • Do not open gifts in front of the giver.
  • Acknowledge immediately and in writing.

China:

  • Don’t give a clock. It is a reminder that time is passing.
  • In business, a gift is given to the organization not to the individual.
  • Refuse a gift 3 times, and then accept reluctantly.
  • Avoid white paper.

Mexico:

  • Yellow flowers signify death.
  • Don’t give knives: it means the severing of friendship.

Muslim:

  • Nothing made of pigskin

 Western Europe:

  • Flowers – avoid white lilies as they can signify death.

7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Going for an Interview

By Angela Marshall, 16th Oct 2014
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kozzi businesswoman in an interview with three business people getting positive feedback 884x588 7 Pitfalls to Avoid When Going for an Interview

The first impression you make on a potential employer can make or break your chance of obtaining the job. The first thing an interviewer notices is how you look (your appearance, mannerism and body language), then how you sound (pitch, accent and tone of voice) and finally the words you say. It is always important to look the part for a job interview and when you look the part it helps you to feel the part which in turn gives you confidence. It boosts your self-esteem to achieve a successful interview.

Within the first 3 – 5 seconds people form an opinion about you, so prepare – do your homework.

7 Pitfalls to avoid:

  1. Poor personal appearance
  2. Limp handshake
  3. Poor body language e.g. not smiling and avoiding eye contact
  4. Lack of confidence, showing you are nervous, too submissive
  5. Poor behaviour – arriving late, interrupting, impolite, dining etiquette
  6. Poor communication – unable to express your thoughts, poor grammar or speech
  7. Bad attitude – too aggressive, know-it-all attitude, overbearing or too authoritarian.

Whether you feel the interview has or hasn’t gone well do not let it be the last they hear from you. Follow up afterwards, it will help them to remember who you are. A thank you note is best as it will be noticed, otherwise if you have their email address then sends a short email.

 

 


Tips on Looking Smart in a Casual Office

By Angela Marshall, 9th Oct 2014
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376433 788 37 Tips on Looking Smart in a Casual Office

Dressing business formal is in some ways easier than in business casual, because it’s mainly a matching process. Smart casual is an ill-defined dress code that is generally a neat yet informal attire. There are a variety of interpretations to smart casual and a lot will depend on the type of company you work for and its environment.

Tips to consider:

  1. Wear neutral bottoms such as black, grey, navy, brown or taupe.
  2. Choose an assortment of tops to go with your neutral bottoms .
  3. Learn to mix and match your items so they change your look and you will appear you have more clothes than you do.
  4. Ensure your clothes fit you well.
  5. Wear pattern and colour for less formality.
  6. Always be well groomed – clean shoes, nails, hair, clothes and well pressed.
  7. Ensure your items co-ordinate e.g. shoes and belt, shoes and style of clothes, colours.

Even in a smart casual environment avoid displaying large tattoos or body piercings outside the ears, it may be necessary to slightly adjust your clothing to cover them.


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photo 1 Ryder Cup Teams   Good Style, Good Grooming, Good Etiquette

Ryder Cup Etiquette and Manners

You may notice my logo includes “Good Style, Good Grooming, Good Etiquette”. Last weekend was a great sporting event – The Ryder Cup. It is a wonderful event with great rapport and friendliness from the teams and also enthusiastic engagement from the crowd. It is a fantastic example of how you need to look the part, think the part and play the part.

Both the American and European teams all looked professional in their team kits and were all well groomed. Examples of the teams and crowds good etiquette and manners were:

Team Players

  • Quiet when the player was about to tee off
  • When the game started and finished the players shook hands with their opponent, caddy and referee
  • At completion of the game each player straight away took their caps off before offering their handshakes
  • If the score meant a match finished before the 18th the game was not confirmed as completed until the players shook hands
  • Players on both sides conceded putts to their opponent rather than complete the hole if it was pretty obvious the player would make the shot to win the hole

photo 2 300x187 Ryder Cup Teams   Good Style, Good Grooming, Good Etiquette

The Crowd 

  • The crowds were quiet when a player was about to tee off (except for Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter, who openly encouraged noisy support)
  • Cheered when a player did a great shot, whether it was  an American or European (maybe a bit louder for the home team)
  • Allowed space for players to play when out of bounds
  • Quickly moved and showed where the ball was when it landed near them

It is a true sporting event where players showed respect to their opponents and yet played to win without any hostility or rudeness. Both captains congratulated their counterpart and all the players.

Not many sports are so gracious. It would be welcome to see footballers learn from their example (no more diving!).



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