Workplace Civility Quiz
We've gotten through our meeting. Let's talk about more general workplace behavior, more general office behavior. I wanna start with a little etiquette true/false quiz. I'm gonna ask a question, and go ahead and just call out the answer, and do it as quickly as possible. Give me a true/false response, your first impression when I ask the question. Manners change with time, true or false? True, absolutely, we all know that manners change and evolve. They change with time, they change from one situation to another. The principles of good etiquette, consideration, respect, and honesty, stay remarkably consistent. But obviously, the way we show those things changes. Having manners means you have good business etiquette skills, true or false? False, absolutely, I just gave it away with the last explanation. Clearly, you also need the principles of good etiquette in order to have good etiquette. Cubicles are so small that it isn't necessary to stand to greet a person who enters your cubicle?
I'm gonna say false too, it's nice to stand up, meet people eye to eye, particularly if you're gonna shake their hand, if it's a first meeting, a first encounter. This is also a tactic or a strategy, if you want people to leave more quickly, stand up every time they come in. It might seem a little counterintuitive, boy that's a lot of work to do, every time I've got to stand up, have you stand up and honor or formalize that engagement or that encounter, it makes it harder for someone just to linger and keep talking to you. It's okay to chew gum at your desk, true or false? I want to say true, but it feels like false. How might we navigate this in-between territory? What would make it okay? I'm sitting at the next desk, and I can't hear it. What would make it not okay? The inverse, it's bothering the people around me. It's grossing someone out, it's distracting someone. Personal space, about 18 inches is a safe distance? I ask as I back away. True, 18 inches is a pretty comfortable conversational distance for most people operating in an American business or social context. It's a really easy distance to keep track of, it's about an arm's length. It's about a foot and a half. Test this one out, do you know a close talker? Someone who gets a little closer than feels comfortable when they talk to you? You notice it, you notice it very quickly. Try getting a little closer than 18 inches, the next time you're talking to someone, and watch them retreat. Don't try it at work, maybe just do it as a social experiment. Calling older workers by their titles and last names is passe? Depends, false, I'm gonna say false. I think it's a nice tool to have in your toolbox. Often times, we operate in an increasingly casual and informal world, where calling people by a first name is a way to participate, and participate well, in an informal business culture. I work for a family business, the Emily Post, it's a five-generation family business. I call my cousin Lizzie Post Lizzie, I call my uncle Peter Post Peter. My mother calls her brother Pierre. I don't know anyone else who calls him Pierre. I kinda get away with calling him Pierre. And I do it every once in a while, kind of for fun, because my mother is my mother and she's his older sister, she calls him Pierre. No one calls him Pete, I definitely never call him Pete. He doesn't like that at all. So I honor and respect that. I also call him Mr. Post occasionally. Not all the time, but every once in a while, I say, "Good morning, Mr. Post. "Mr. Post, I was wondering about something." Does he want me to call him Mr. Post all the time, no. Is it a nice tool to have in my toolbox, is it a way that I can choose to show respect, is it a way I can honor someone's experience, someone's seniority? In age and in experience within the business, absolutely. So it might not apply every time, but I think it's a nice tool to have in your toolbox. And I definitely think, even though it can feel old-fashioned, I don't think it is. All this talk about corporate cultures is a myth, true or false? Absolutely false. So easy to think about. Here we are in Seattle, very different corporate culture than other places. I've heard that that winter raincoat jacket called the Seattle business suit? My honor, my nod to Seattle workplace culture, I'm not presenting in a suit today, when I'm here with you. I'm telling you, 99% of the time, I'm presenting in a suit. I started to get nervous, thinking about this presentation, being aware that I might make the choice not to bring a suit. I brought a suit, it's like a security blanket, it's at home in my hotel room. I didn't want it too far away from me, in case I decided at the last minute, I just couldn't, couldn't, couldn't stand it. It's absolutely not a myth. You have to understand the situations and context that you're operating in, they change all the time. You should leave your number at the end of every voice mail message. Bonus points if you leave it at the start of the message. I love this voice to text transcription. This makes this point less relevant today. I'm now getting voice mail messages that come to my office as emails, they convert to text. You can send them as emails, send them as text, I love the world of modern technology. It's remarkable, it makes life so much easier. If you're actually going back and re-listening to voice mail messages, it's nice if someone leaves their number at the beginning of the message. Hi, this is Dan, I'm calling from the Emily Post Institute, 802-860-1814. I'm calling about duh-duh-duh. That way, if they decide at the end of the message that they actually care enough to give me a call back, they can re-listen to the message, get the number right at the start. Bonus points if you leave it at the start. Leave it at the end, doesn't hurt to leave it twice, makes it easier on them.