by Lyudmila Bloch, Multicultural Business Etquette Expert New York
A major challenge for effective workplace manners is managing differing expectations about personal and professional interactions. These varying standards of etiquette stem from a number of sources, including culture, industry, and age, but one of the most fundamental divisions across all cultures and walks of life is between introverts and extroverts. Extroverts and introverts process social interactions differently, and there are distinct business etiquette coach recommended strategies for optimizing interactions with each type of person.
To succeed in dealing with people in a professional setting, one must understand and respect their perspective. Introverts and extroverts manage their professional presence in fundamentally different ways. By understanding how an introvert or extrovert is feeling and reacting in a professional context, a coworker, supervisor, or subordinate can adapt their workplace manners to elicit the best response.
Extroverts in the Workplace
About 3 in 4 people fall on the "extroverted" side of the spectrum. Extroverts share several common traits:
- Extroverts find group interaction energizing. They enjoy and are comfortable with talking to large groups of new people, making small talk or exchanging ideas.
Extroverts should remember: Don't overwhelm others, interrupt, or finish another person's sentences.
- Extroverts think out loud. They process ideas and problems by talking them through with others, using feedback to generate new avenues to explore. They often take a broader view, jumping easily from topic to topic as the conversation shifts.
Extroverts should remember: Respect for others and for the business at hand is paramount. Stay on task and minimize off-topic distractions.
- Extroverts are comfortable diving right in. Often unafraid of new ideas or situations, they embrace novel opportunities, relying on charisma and agile thinking.
Extroverts should remember: Making assumptions and jumping in too quickly can lead to costly mistakes.
When interacting with an extrovert, it's good workplace etiquette to let them talk things out, even if they stray slightly from the main topic; it helps them synthesize their ideas with those of the group. As they work better with more input, managers and coworkers should be open with extroverts, not leave them guessing.
Introverts in the Workplace
Introverts comprise roughly 25 percent of the population; though some people write off introverts as "shy," "insecure," or "arrogant," one-on-one business etiquette coaching reveals that introverts just process their thoughts and interactions differently.
- Introverts find large groups draining, and recharge best alone. While they can be social and enjoy group interactions, introverts process their ideas by themselves through introspection and private brainstorming.
- Introverts think before they speak. They carefully collect their thoughts and formulate exactly what they mean before beginning. They often prefer electronic communication like text or email over "real-time" interaction, as they can compose their ideas more easily.
- Introverts are deep thinkers. They prefer going to the root of an issue, exploring all the details to gain a better understanding of the subject. They want to understand as much as possible about a new situation before diving in.
Good workplace manners for interacting with introverted peers and supervisors involve giving them the space to work through their thoughts rather than pushing them "out of their shell." Don't talk over them or try to fill up space in a conversation. Introverts may listen more than they talk, but when they do speak, they often have something worthwhile to contribute.
Neither personality type is inherently "better" in a professional setting. Extroverts are ideally suited for some tasks while introverts excel at others, but both types of personalities can acquire the professional presence that will help them succeed in almost any position; an introvert need not "turn into" an extrovert or vice-versa to achieve success.
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by Dr. A. Zimmerman
"It is very important to understand that emotional intelligence is not the opposite of intelligence. It is not the triumph of heart over head. It is the unique intersection of both."
-- David Caruso
Dr. Alan Zimmerman's Personal Commentary:
Fashions change. What was "in style" a few years ago is probably "out of style" now. In fact, the differences in fashion and style can be so dramatic that you can watch a movie ... and within two minutes ... you can say with certainty if that movie was set in the 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, or some other period.
Of course, just because a certain fashion is no longer "in style" does not necessarily make that fashion bad. The clothing in the 1950's probably served its purpose just as well as clothing does in the 2010's. People simply like the look of something new, fresh, and different.
As an author and speaker who focuses on transforming the people side of business, I've noticed a similar trend in my industry. The so-called "in" topics are often nothing more than re-fashioned old concepts and practices. What used to be called "stress management" is now commonly referred to as "work-life balance." What used to be called "delegation" is now called "empowerment." And what used to be called Aristotle's "7 keys to success" became Steven Covey's "7 habits of highly effective people."
None of that is bad. A new take on an old, time-tested set of truths and skills can be very useful. For example, I find today's emphasis on "emotional intelligence" to be extremely important ... and perhaps a better, more fitting terminology that what it used to called ... "interpersonal communication."
It's extremely important because ...
1. Emotional intelligence is an accurate predictor of success.
For years, we naively thought if a person was intellectually sharp, if he had a high I.Q., he would undoubtedly become successful in his endeavors. And some of our schools still struggle with this concept, somehow thinking that high grades in school translate to high levels of success at work and at home.
Daniel Goleman debunked that myth in study after study. In one study of Harvard graduates in the fields of law, medicine, education, and business, Goleman found that the scores on their entrance exams ... which is another way of getting at someone's I.Q. ... had no, absolutely no correlation with their eventual career success. Indeed, in many cases, just the opposite was true; the higher their scores on their entrance exams, the lower their levels of professional success later on in life.
When he dug deeper into studies such as that, Goleman found that a person's emotional intelligence ... or their personal and interpersonal skills ... carried much more weight than a person's I.Q. in determining which of the individuals would emerge as leaders. In fact, he concluded that no more than 25% of a person's success could be attributed to I.Q.
And Goleman may have been generous in his conclusion. According to R. Sternberg in "Successful Intelligence," a more careful analysis suggests the figure may be no greater than 10%, and in some studies only 4%. That means that your I.Q. leaves 75% to 96% of your job success unexplained.
What's the point? If you want to get ahead, if you want to be outrageously successful, having a high I.Q. or just plain being smart won't do it for you. Academic intellect isn't enough. Technical proficiency won't win the prize. You've got to have emotional intelligence. No question about it. So ...
2. What is emotional intelligence?
It has four components. They're very much like the four corners of a building, where each corner represents a different set of skills. If ALL ... not just some ... if all four corners are set right and in good shape, you can make a very sturdy, functional building. And likewise, if you have all four parts of emotional intelligence mastered, chances are you will be a very happy and successful individual ... on and off the job.
- The first corner is Self-Awareness. You're able to figure out your feelings and understand yourself. And many people don't even have this first foundational piece in place. They're like the tombstone epitaph I saw in England that read, "Here lies a man who came into this world and left it without ever knowing who he was."
- The second corner is Self-Management. Even though it's important, as Socrates advised to "know thyself," it's not enough. You have to know what feels good and what feels bad and how to go from bad to good. You have to know how to use your self-awareness so you can manage yourself and conduct yourself appropriately and effectively. It won't work to tell the world, "This is who I am. Take it or leave it." That's not emotional intelligence. That's emotional stupidity. Most people will choose to leave you behind if that's how you behave.
- The third corner is Social Awareness. Face it; almost everything you do is done in a world of people, and almost everything you do well is done when you are "in tune" with the people around you. That takes Social Awareness. In other words, you must be able to read and understand the feelings and reactions of others if you're going to be highly successful.
- The fourth corner is Relationship Management. You must know how to inspire, influence, encourage and develop others to work with you rather than against you. Like all the other corners of Emotional Intelligence, this is a set of skills you can learn.
Because our space is limited in the "Tuesday Tip," let me briefly highlight the first corner of Emotional Intelligence.
3. How do I start to enhance my Self-Awareness?
It should be fairly simple, as Rachel Burkholder shared in her story. She talked about the time her parish priest was leaving for a new assignment. The day before he was to leave, a little girl ran up to him and tearfully threw her arms around him in a good-bye embrace. The priest consoled the child, kissing her cheeks, while cheerfully saying, "And where did you get those cute rosy cheeks?" The little girl replied, "Oh, that's poison ivy!"
Yes, Self-Awareness should be fairly simple, but some people spend a whole lifetime and never get to know themselves. It's a pity, because it truly hinders the development of their Emotional Intelligence and thereby their effectiveness in everything they do.
To increase your Self-Awareness, start asking yourself a number of "Brave Questions" and do some thinking about your answers. You might even get a copy of my book on "Brave Questions" by going to http://drzimmerman.com/estore/building-better-relationships.php.
Here are a few questions to get you started.
*What are your gifts and talents?
Everyone is born with talent. You may be unaware of your unique talents, simply because your talents are so much a part of you that they often seem hardly worth mentioning. Begin the process by asking yourself ... What have you always been able to do with very little effort? What do your friends and family continually ask you to do over everyone else? What activities are you consistently drawn to?
*What fascinates you?
What subject do you never tire of discussing? What topics cause your ears to perk up when someone across the room begins to discuss one or more of those topics? What causes you to stop your channel surfing when you see it come across your television screen? Do you read a number of books all focused on a particular subject? What do you find to be of perennial interest?
*What's your passion?
Everyone has a fire burning inside them, even though for some people the fires have never been encouraged to do more than smolder. What is it that would flare up and burn brightly in you if you gave it the slightest opportunity? Is it a cause, a vocation, a book you want to write, or picture you want to paint? What do you find yourself daydreaming about?
You can be more effective in EVERY part of your life ... if you increase your Emotional Intelligence. That's why every keynote I deliver and every seminar I give teaches people how they can transform themselves, their relationships, and their organizations. Life and work are just too important to not get it right.
Take five minutes each day this week to get to know yourself better ... to increase your self-awareness.
About the author:
As a best-selling author and Hall of Fame professional speaker, Dr. Alan Zimmerman is focused on "transforming the people side of business." His keynotes and seminars are noted for high content, high energy, and high involvement that transform people's lives and the companies where they work. To learn more about his programs and products, or to receive a free subscription to his weekly Internet newsletter, go to http://www.DrZimmerman.com.
by Lyudmila Bloch, Multicultural Business Etiquette Expert New York
Photo credit: Google Images
It's often said that “actions speak louder than words.” While the phrase is usually employed as an admonition against hypocrisy, it's also true when referring to nonverbal communication. A surprising amount of interpersonal communication actually takes place through gesture, expression, and body language, rather than through words. The first piece of advice that a multicultural etiquette expert will offer to business executives and world travelers is that learning the language of an international business partner shows respect and facilitates communication. However, it's just as important to learn the nonverbal language cues of that business partner's culture, because hand gestures around the globe can vary dramatically in meaning. Surprisingly often, a gesture that is perfectly innocuous or even friendly in one culture can cause tremendous offense in another country. Avoiding these pitfalls is critical to cultivating a successful business relationship.
One of the most well-known differences in body language across cultures involves the gesture known as the "peace sign" or "V for victory" in the United States, wherein the index and middle fingers are extended. Typically this gesture is made with the palm of the hand facing the viewer, and is recognized throughout much of the world as a positive sign. The orientation of the hand is very important, however; the same gesture made with the back of the hand facing the viewer is obscene and insulting, comparable to the extended middle finger throughout much of the English-speaking world outside of the United States.
Another gesture fraught with semantic pitfalls is what American residents recognize as the "okay” gesture, wherein the index finger and thumb form a circle and the other three fingers are extended. People in many parts of the world will recognize the American meaning of the gesture, but it has a number of other implications as well, ranging from harmless to downright insulting. How the gesture is understood can often vary among regions of a country and among generations, but there are some places where travelers should take care with it. In France, the gesture means “zero” or “nothing.” In Japan, it traditionally signifies money, or a request for payment. But in Turkey, Venezuela, and some other parts of Europe, the gesture suggests that a person is homosexual. And in Brazil it is considered obscene and insulting, intending to evoke a particular unmentionable body part. Some parts of Germany will interpret it as a positive sign, but other areas will read it as a severe insult.
Body language across cultures can differ just as much as spoken language, and a careless gesture can quickly send the wrong message to a client or potential business partner. Though some people may offer the chance to apologize for the gaffe, those errors can jeopardize fragile business relationships. Multicultural etiquette requires that one make an effort to understand the cultural vocabulary of hand gestures and body language to show respect and consideration, and thus make a good impression.
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Photo credit: Getty Images/ Paul Pollis
Additional photo credit: Beverly Hills Caviar
by Lyudmila Bloch, World-Class Etiquette Expert New York
World-Class Business Etiquette(tm) Training for Corporations
Black caviar got its name from the color of its grains, ranging from light silver to black, and is derived from the roe of sturgeon. Today, the true black caviar comes from sturgeon fished in the Caspian Sea, shared by Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia. (There is a limited production that comes from the Black Sea as well). This wonderful delicacy is the finest form of digestible protein on earth. Russia maintains a self-imposed ban on black caviar for the past 12 months, so there is mostly Iranian caviar is now on the market. Not all fish roe is suitable for caviar production. It must be roe from the sturgeon (Beluga, Sevruga, or Osetra). The best (not the costliest) caviar has no fishy smell, is mild and delicate in flavor, and has no aftertaste. Its magnificent, velvety texture is made up of fine-grained egg globules that are perfectly separate, yet joined together. Since its price is high (Beluga variety is being the most expensive and extravagant) black caviar is associated in Western culture with luxury and wealth in the same way that we regard personal jets, expensive cars, and valuable properties. In Russia and many European cultures, black caviar is a common and traditional part of all celebrations, from a fancy wedding to a New Year’s home party. If you are a novice caviar eater, you will be surprised that it requires numerous practice sessions to get into it, but once you’re hooked – it’s irresistible. There is also special etiquette on how to eat and serve caviar.
You should serve caviar as an entrée or appetizer course using special utensils made of glass, bone, tortoiseshell, mother-of-pearl, or gold. Do not use any metal or silver utensils to serve caviar. Metal oxidation will destroy the delicate flavor and will enhance the “fishy element” of the product. Common accompaniments to black caviar include lemon wedges, homemade sour cream (not from your local supermarket) or English double cream, halves of hard-boiled eggs without yokes, or thin white toast with soft butter on the side. You can use toast, egg white shells, or blinis to hold your delicious caviar. The caviar is always served on a bed of crushed ice in a small-to-medium-size mother-of-pearl shell or fine porcelain dish. You’re supposed to keep it slightly chilled before serving. Scoop your caviar with a mother-of-pearl spoon. The beverages are either frozen (super chilled) Belvedere vodka (subjective recommendation) or dry champagne. If you serve your caviar with blinis, follow the finest and thinest crepe recipes from French or Russian chefs. I prefer to serve caviar on very thin blinis with a touch of English double cream. Roll it like a tortilla using fork and knife, and eat it one delicious bite at a time. Rinse your palate with a sip of dry champagne and repeat it all over again. How much to serve? The sky’s the limit. Bon Appétit!
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by Victoria Huhn
Every culture has different dining etiquette rules and norms. Before conducting business overseas, it’s always best to consult a multicultural business etiquette coach to make sure you understand the intricacies of the culture you will be visiting. But if you are tempted to Google information about the culture, be aware that there is a lot of misinformation about multicultural business dining etiquette out there on the web. One idea that has been floating around recently is that Europeans historically have held their wrists at the edge of the table with their hands visible to show that they have “come in peace.” Well, nothing could be further from the truth; here’s the real explanation, along with a little discussion about European dining etiquette.
Americans and Europeans have different styles when it comes to eating. In the European—or Continental—style, for right-handed people, the fork is always held in the left hand and the knife in the right. One never sets down the utensils for the entire duration of the meal. Most food is balanced on the back of the tines, and the fork must enter the mouth with the tines down. If the texture of the food is soft (for example, mashed potatoes), the tines of the fork face up and the knife is used to help push the food onto the fork—never the fingers. Eating in this manner is a real triumph of practice and grace. To become efficient and comfortable with using dining utensils in this fashion takes mental mapping, or sufficient repetition, to make it automatic, much like playing a musical instrument or driving.
The use of the fork in Europe was widespread during the seventeenth century, but it didn’t find common use in the United States until the beginning of the nineteenth century. The American dining style was actually adapted from the nineteenth-century French bourgeoisie. As an upcoming middle class, they employed a partially correct method of eating—cutting the food with the fork in their left hand and knife in their right—but they then transferred the fork to the right hand to convey their food to their mouth and set the knife down on the plate. In 1922, Emily Post somewhat derisively described this style as the “American dining style” or “zigzag style.” Europeans today consider this dining style awkward and lacking in social competence and assurance.
Although, the American dining style is not considered incorrect—at least when dining in the United States—it is certainly less efficient. Because of the extra steps needed to transfer the utensils from hand to hand to plate and back, it also looks much less graceful than the Continental style and can lead to etiquette faux pas such as dropping the utensils on the plate. Thinking about utensils as extensions of one’s hands, while cutting and eating food—and never touching food with one’s fingers—makes it easier to dine in style.
So, to return to the question of why Europeans hold their wrists at the edge of the table: well, it’s simply because their hands are constantly working, cutting and bringing food to their mouths. Because their hands are in use throughout the meal, Europeans don’t put their hands in their laps like Americans—who are instructed to set their utensils down in between bites—do. They keep their wrists on the table. So the idea that the custom refers to “coming in peace” is mistaken; this custom is simply an automatic outcome of the European dining style.
As a sidenote, the showing of one’s hands to display peace actually refers to the ritual of the handshake. The modern handshake ritual is derived from medieval European knights who would raise their armor upon meeting, extending their right hand to greet the other party while protecting their private parts with their left hand. This showed the others that they “came in peace” and weren’t hiding anything.
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Photo credit: The Telepgraph, UK/ G8 Summit
by Lyudmila Bloch, Multicultural Etiquette Expert NY
Business negotiations over a meal can seem like the ultimate test of your dining etiquette, body language–reading, and communication skills, especially when the meeting happens in a foreign country. To achieve positive negotiation results, there are a number of business etiquette tips that work in any country. These simple steps can help you succeed and protect your professional image.
1. Engage in “Getting-to-Know” Time
Getting to know your business partners is essential in many countries, especially in Chinese culture, as well as Russian and South American cultures. This phase might include conversations about the other country’s history, the origin of the business, family connections, or research interests. This small talk builds trust, and trust is the foundation of all business endeavors and business negotiations. When there is no trust, there is no deal. In addition to trust, your business success hinges on the reputation of your company, ability to connect with decision-makers, and your business communication skills, which eventually could lead to new contracts and positive business growth.
Often, in Asian cultures, business negotiators use a “round table” setup to facilitate this time for spontaneous conversation and icebreaking. This convention eliminates power struggles (there is no leader at the head of the table) and promotes cooperation and cultural integration.
2. Use Your Emotional Intelligence and Body Language
As one of the multiple intelligences of the human brain, Emotional Intelligence (EI) governs our emotional response to an external/internal situation (positive or negative), crossing the boundaries of many psychological subsystems. EI is helpful in processing our feelings/emotions and guiding our actions/behaviors in response to them. It involves the ability to read verbal cues (words and tonality) and nonverbal cues (gestures, facial expressions, and body language).
Emotional Intelligence can help you process and make decisions about a business offer, proposal, or issue. EI also allows you to respond timely and accurately during important business meetings. Being able to interpret the other team’s body language might reveal a possible hidden agenda, hesitation, deception, or manipulation. Furthermore, using Emotional Intelligence when you encounter a pause or negative body language signal (for example, nose touching, eye rolling, or chin holding) can help you switch gears and try a better approach. A good listener pays attention to hand gestures and tonality and is able to find out a significant amount of information by just observing his opponents.
Remember to keep in mind that body language or behaviors may mean something different in a different country or culture. For example, Americans prize speaking up and engaging in conversation while negotiating with foreign partners to show off their social and communication skills. But in many countries, like China, the etiquette rules of engagement are quite different and silence is the norm; there is no need to jump in and fill the silence with words. Learning about these cultural nuances and differences from your EI and etiquette coach can help you better read body-language signals and help avoid business communication blunders that may ultimately kill your deal.
3. Understand the Dining Etiquette Rules
Dining etiquette can be an additional challenge when negotiating a deal, but it shouldn't be a distraction in achieving your goal. Table manners abroad could be different from what you know at home. So be prepared to use chopsticks, silverware, or even your fingers—depending on the country you find yourself in during a deal-making process.
A businessperson visiting clients overseas should try to taste a bit of everything that is being served in order to show respect for the host. Staying with familiar foods is a safe bet but it does not promote cultural understanding. Remember, it’s not about you and your taste buds—it’s about understanding your new cultural environment and showing appreciation for its people.
4. Understand the Drinking Etiquette Rules
In some cultures, alcohol is often served during negotiations or at a business banquet or business meal. Particularly in Asia and Russia, drinking heavily is considered a normal business pastime. But in the Middle East, it’s totally unacceptable. If you are not a drinker and have no tolerance for alcohol but find yourself in a culture where it’s customary to drink (Russia, China, Korea, Finland), feign a minor stomach bug and keep hard drinking to a minimum. Otherwise, you will be quickly outpaced and embarrassed. Stick with water instead, referencing health reasons and compliment the food that is being served. Often your host will accept your health excuse and make an exception to the strict drinking etiquette rules in those countries.
Awareness and practice of Emotional Intelligence, dining etiquette, and business communications skills will help you gain a valuable etiquette advantage in business no matter what your challenges are!
If you would like to learn more business networking rules, please click on this link:
Golden Rules of Business Networking
by Lyudmila Bloch,
International Etiquette Expert
When dealing with others on the international stage, whether in the context of a business meeting, on vacation, or hosting visitors from another country, the differences between American culture and the social norms of other nations are thrown into sharp relief. In some ways American culture comes across quite positively, but other arenas highlight American social shortcomings. By improving its awareness of these advantages and flaws, American society can work to make changes for the better.
In many cases, traits that American culture treats as virtues are seen very differently by individuals from other countries. This can create friction at the negotiating table or in other professional contexts. A prime example of these clashing values is the tendency of Americans to be direct in conversation. While American culture may prize this "plain-spoken attitude," it comes across as jarring and abrupt to people whose cultures value the observation of formal greeting traditions, as are observed by many East Asian societies, or a more relaxed pace of conversation that segues gradually into business talk, preferred in parts of Europe and Latin America. The tendency of Americans to "get right to the point" can make them seem overly work-focused and materialistic. Similarly, in American culture it is common to refer to people by their first names, even in a business or other formal context. A casual or familiar attitude is often intended as friendliness or sincerity, but it can read as presumptuous and offensive to business associates not expecting to be treated like a family friend.
Other unfortunate aspects of American culture are more issues of arrogance than misunderstood goodwill. The attitude that the United States is "the greatest country in the world" is prevalent in American culture, and often causes Americans to overlook the unflattering realities of their own country as well as the important contributions and virtues of other cultures. This is especially problematic when Americans travel abroad – it is gauche to come into someone else's home and expound on how much better you are than them. Hand in hand with this sense of superiority comes an ignorance of other cultures, and a lack of interest in learning about them. This cultural myopia causes many Americans to interpret the world solely through the lens of American culture, without regard to the rich and unique cultural context that other societies possess.
That is not to say that American culture lacks strongly positive traits; there is much that American society has to be proud of. The American tendency to treat new people in a familiar manner reflects the friendly and welcoming nature of American society, in which hospitality and generosity are held to be important values. Americans can exhibit remarkable kindness and helpfulness when faced with a stranger in distress. The typical American lack of adherence to tradition is also reflected in a willingness to embrace unconventional thinking and explore new ideas. More generally, American culture demonstrates a strong openness to change in a variety of ways: innovation in business and technology is eagerly welcomed by American corporations. The idea of social mobility is embedded deeply in American culture, so much so that the possibility of achieving economic success through hard work is described as the "American dream." And throughout much of the country, Americans are very willing to accept people who are different, whether by choice or by circumstance, without overt judgment and disapproval. One of the freedoms that Americans deeply value is the freedom to be an individual, to forge one's own path that diverges from, or even goes against, the mainstream. Acceptance of differences is vital to America.
by Rosemary Carroll, Business Etiquette Expert
Every new generation that comes into the workplace seems to suffer from a lack of respect and business etiquette. in American culture, baby boomers were considered a bunch of “hippies” by their supervisors. The baby boomers thought of Generation X employees as ungrateful and angry. And now the Millennials are considered selfish and lazy, demanding accolades and entitlements before earning their wings. It seems they always have their head or fingers stuck to the latest smartphone or gizmo. But, instead of worrying about this trend, companies should be looking for ways to make use of their younger employees’ energy, social media skills, and knowledge base.
Older generations often see Millennials’ addiction to social media as lacking etiquette and somewhat disturbing. The young people can't seem to attend a meeting without texting or looking at their gadgets. But their devotion to the electronic, virtual world is just the latest version of communicating that the boomers did with phones and Generation X did with email.
Just about every company that is engaged in marketing and brand development has realized that social media is a platform that needs to be leveraged. If nothing else, a company at least needs a social media presence, just like it needed a website ten years ago and a street sign and billboards fifty years ago. Millennial employees are like fish in water when it comes to the use and manipulation of social media. So why ignore their greatest strength? Instead, companies should be looking for those young employees who have the greatest familiarity with social media (the power users), leveraging their knowledge into producing effective brand development online. These young employees not only understand what social media is, they know how to sustain it and make people react. What Millennials are lacking, however, are interpersonal skills (social skills for business) and basic business etiquette training in a group setting. Business etiquette experts agree that Millennials have superior social media skills but lack polish, etiquette, and business manners in any face-to-face interactions.
Social media in American culture doesn’t generally follow the rules of traditional marketing where a certain amount of money is spent and a corresponding rise in sales is achieved. Instead, social media requires investment and maintenance, developing and growing a community over time and sustaining it with regular content. Millennial employees are naturals for this type of work, as they know how to communicate and grow networks online quickly. Thus, they should be put in the driver’s seat of a brand-development project online, guided by managers who can keep them on track with coaching, business-etiquette training, and encouragement rather than criticism and discipline.
Millennials are motivated by community, engagement, group thinking, and approval. They will do very well if you let them use their social media skills and get a business-etiquette training. They place a high value on being part of a team that is doing something rather than being in the back row, watching other people work. This is a far different perspective toward work than previous generations who valued pay and upward mobility instead. These differences can cause conflict between generations, or they can create opportunities to have teams with different strengths acting synergistically and enjoying great success.
To read more on this subject, please visit this page:
Crucial Skills for the Networking Generation
Photo credit: Google Images
by Lyudmila Bloch, International Etiquette Expert and Business Etiquette Coach
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula and one of the world's most fascinating and rewarding travel destinations. Understanding and following the expected behavior in Islamic culture is the key to doing business and enjoying your visit there.
Although the culture might appear rigid or strict at first glimpse, business meetings in Saudi Arabia often have an informal feel and business visitors are treated cordially and with respect. Saudis are known for their boundless hospitality and generosity toward visitors.
In Saudi culture, it’s not unusual for the host to invite visitors to stay at his home. If you do so, be careful when offering compliments. Your host might feel compelled to take a painting off the wall and offer it to you; showing generosity toward guests is common and considered a polite gesture. Be sure to keep your distance from female members of the family. It’s best not to talk to them directly or ask your host about them. Also, be careful to avoid any public displays of affection.
Meetings and appointments are scheduled according to the prayer times—five times a day—so try to avoid rescheduling. For a business meeting, a Saudi host will usually wear traditional attire: a long white thawb (an ankle-length garment with long sleeves) with a keffiyeh (a traditional Arab headdress). Westerners are expected to wear a regular business suit and tie.
Punctuality is a sign of respect for the host but it’s customary for the locals to keep foreigners waiting. Be wise: don’t show frustration or impatience. When the meeting begins, greet the most senior or highest-ranking person in the room first. If unsure, start by greeting people on your right-hand side as you enter a business meeting. Always use a person’s title with his full name, for example, “His Royal Highness, Prince Ahmed Aziz bin Saud.” Though Arabic is the official language of the country, English is often spoken in business meetings and functions. However, all conversations start with the Islamic greeting, “Al Salam Aleikum” (May peace be with you).
Always accept tea, coffee and dates offered to you by the host during a meeting. When you finish your cup, your host will quickly offer you a refill. Don’t feel obligated to finish it. Sip your beverage slowly and maintain eye contact, a sign of trust and sincerity.
Follow these tips while interacting with business associates in KSA and you will avoid embarrassment and misunderstandings and enjoy business success with your new associates.
To learn more about multicultural etiquette and how cultural myopia affects business, please go to: How Cultural Myopia Affects Business Communications
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by Lyudmila Bloch, Business Etiquette Expert NY
Rude behavior in the American culture and workplace continues to be a problem and that’s probably not a surprise to anyone. The economy is still weak and unemployment hovers near 10 percent nationally. As a result, companies are trying to do more with less, including employing fewer people. Those employed are expected to produce what it took two or three people to do only a few years ago. This extra work—plus the related job insecurity—leads to stress and exhaustion, which strips employees of their ability to be tactful when put under pressure. Eventually, they snap, forget about workplace etiquette, and say things they shouldn’t. Fortunately, there are solutions that can restore respect to the workplace.
Require civility. Make it clear that everyone in the office needs to treat one other in a civil manner. That doesn’t mean everyone needs to be “fuzzy-wuzzy” friendly, just civil and courteous. Friendly greetings and polite conversation can make a huge difference in employee interactions.
Invest in business etiquette training and seminars. Business etiquette experts educate employees about appropriate workplace behavior, emotional intelligence, etiquette giving them the tools to work with others efficiently and happily. Employees who have received such training have higher job satisfaction, experience higher rate of promotion and productivity rates.
Walk away. Advise workers to walk away when they sense tension and rudeness. Though this technique may be difficult to use with a supervisor, try to excuse yourself politely and set up a time for a meeting to discuss the issue later. This will give both parties time to calm down and encourage appropriate, respectful behavior.
Model polite behavior. Employees often model the behavior of their supervisors and bosses. Take note of your own demeanor and interactions and make sure that you are interacting with others in a polite, pleasant manner. Approaching others with respect encourages good behavior in return.
While it may be dispiriting to deal with rude coworkers, remember that you do have some control over the situation. Take a deep breath, remain civil, and give your more difficult employees the tools, training and support they need to manage their emotions gracefully.