Consider work place holy
Premasara Epasinghe (B.A. (Cey), Dip in Ed, Dip in Mktg, Lecturer in
Marketing, Internationally Reputed Cricket Commentator, Recipient of a
Medal from ICC for the services rendered to SLC)
The manners defined as the form, which are established by convention
as acceptable as required in social relations, profession, or in
official life can be called Etiquettes. Having or showing, that one has
good manners and consideration for other people, formal rules of correct
and polite behaviour in society or among professionals also can be
considered Etiquette. The conduct or procedure required by good breeding
or prescribed by authority to be observed in social or official life,
can also be called Etiquette. These can be called as a set of norms,
usually referred to as codes of ethics and conduct.
The Royal Court was known as the natural home of etiquette. Even in
Sri Lankan culture, the mannerism that we learned under our elders is
the foundation of our behaviour patterns. Sri Lankans are well-known for
their courtesy, etiquette and the warm hospitality.
By mid 20th century, polite conduct was no longer confined to a the
realms of social Elite. Good manners for ordinary people in situations
was the order of the day. In this background, today, Business Etiquettes
and Social Behaviour, is a vital ingredient necessary in the world of
What are the basics in Business Etiquette and social behaviour?
We can introduce them briefly as courteous, respectful, thoughtful.
Further, you must always consider others’ feelings and address conflict
as situation related. Professional communication upholds the credibility
and dignity of their profession by practising honest, candid and timely
communication. This is part and parcel of Etiquette.
Business and Etiquettes are all about people. Talk to them nicely, be
dutiful. Always arrive early to appointments, keep notes on people and
individuals, send cards or e-mails continuously, maintains very cordial
relationship with your workers and colleagues.
You must always consider your work place as a “Holy Place”. Your
office is your honour, never ever run down your organisation that you
work. Never criticize your firm or company or your work place with
With my experience as a senior person who held positions in
Mercantile and Government sectors and with an experience of more than
four decades, I have found at least 35 to 40% of new managers, fall in
Management positions due to the lack of Business Etiquette and inability
to work with Peers, and Subordinates.
Who is a PEER? A person who is equal to another in rank, status or
Lower in rank or in position and a person of lesser importance is
called a Subordinate.
A Golden rule that you must always adopt is always pay respect and
appreciate both parties – Peers as well as subordinates. Maintain a high
level of public relations throughout your career.
Why Etiquette is so important in Business today?
At least 25 to 30% or more of your time is spend at your job. It
takes at least one third of your entire life. If you are dissatisfied,
feel Miserable and Unhappy at your job – the best thing that you can do
is to find out another place to work.
Punctuality and courtesy are most important aspects of business
etiquettes. For example, prompt acknowledgment of the receipts of a
letter is always appreciated. The Phone Etiquettes are vital. Always
return phone calls. Identify yourself and the basic nature of the call.
Always check to see whether your phone is working.
Now let us deal with – Office Etiquettes
Your company or your place of work expect a higher degree of honesty
and integrity in your work place.
Be productive on your job and learn about your company, its products
and people. Avoid absentism. There is a saying “Perception is Reality”.
Never run down other people's opinions.
To be successful in business etiquettes, you must be thorough about
your organisation. Talk to your clients with clarity and brevity, and
develop a Business Image for your Company.
Always, try to avoid interruptions at meetings or discussions. Keep
your Mobile Phone off or in silent mode. In the event of an emergency,
apologize and leave the room, if there is an urgent call to answer.
Dress neatly. It reflect that you are organised and precise.
In some foreign countries, in your invitation it may mention – Black
tie or White Tie or full dress the dress-code. This means it is a
Festive Event after six, to which ladies will be wearing formal clothes.
White Tie or Full Dress means it is a Very Special Occasion. Your
attire should be Traditional Full Dress.
Social Etiquettes are important in social settings – Dinner Parties,
luncheons, formal dinner/dance. Remember to carry your Business Cards.
Mix with the guests.
With my experience, I have seen often that some does not follow Table
Etiquettes. In America and most European countries, Fork goes on the
left. (Outer-Inner Rule), often on the left, pass to the right, drinks
to the right, bread plate to the left.
Pre–meal mingle occasionally where you get the opportunity of casual
conversation. Ladies should be seated first. At a dinner, place your
Napkin in your lap. If you leave the table, napkin may be placed on your
chair. Always remember – solids on left – liquids on right.
At dinners or luncheons, usually they serve soup and salad. Use
utensils from outside to inside. Wait until all are served before
eating. The bread, pass to the right. The soup – stir, to cool and scoop
away from yourself. If you have finished your main course, place your
fork and spoon as an X, if you must leave the table. In taking your
dessert, follow the cue of your hosts. Be careful, don't spill food on
you, or on the table.
Sometimes in functions we have seen “Proposing a Toast” is an all
important item. You must follow the Toasting steps.
(a) Address the Chairperson or the Chief Guest and mention at the
introduction that the speech is a Tribute or Honour.
(b) Give Reason why you are toasting that person and what makes him
worthy of a Toast.
© Invite the audience to fill their glasses and rise and mention the
names of the person you are Toasting.
(d) Finally wind-up with a short declaration.