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Have we Forgotten our Corporate Etiquette?


Today’s high society is seeing more jeans and t-shirt running for the tube in the morning Rush Hour clutching the Financial Times rather than a three piece suit or pencil skirt a la Jessica Pearson. We all collectively praise our juniors when they say their pleases and thank you only to find that we, in fact just take that Starbucks coffee from the barista whilst on the phone organising that second stage interview without a second thought. Did you say thank you for your coffee? No you did not, but that doesn’t matter and without giving it a second thought you’re back to your IPhone 6 emailing your Assistant to send an confirmation ASAP.

It could be argued that simple manners in corporate business seems to have taken an unseasoned sabbatical. Without meaning to, your busy calendar has left you with just enough time to eat an M&S sandwich en route, never mind hold the door open for the line of twenty people behind you in the corridor.

One theory could be that it is down to the empowering digital era that we are all currently engrossed in. With the little formality that coincides with a digitally advanced world it is (admittedly) understandable to simply just forget our etiquette.

Consider, for example, being late for a meeting. It’s fine for you to be running late, there simply isn’t a need to rush ‘I will just email them to reschedule, no biggy’ (aka ‘my time is more important than yours’). Without being too cliché; think back to before the reschedule, the electronic diaries, the Twitter updates and even the infamous Nokia Snake, you would never dream of being late to a meeting because it had the potential to completely throw the deal out the window, so why is it considered OK to do it now?

Although guilty (sometimes) we like to think we use our simple ‘pleases’ and ‘thank you’ accordingly however we have come up with our top three corporate etiquette.

So get your elbows off the table and listen up.

  1. Dress Appropriately: Clothing is a very important form of non-verbal communication. It has the potential to send a professional ‘I mean business’ message within the first five seconds of meeting someone.
  1. Respond As Soon As Possible: Chances are the person emailing you a question is just as busy as you, try and email back as soon as possible. Then everyone can get on with their day and trust me, they will appreciate you more. 
  1. Give Them Your Full Attention: There are a plethora of devices around us set out to distract. When you’re in a meeting or listening to someone speak, turn your eyes away from the light and pay attention to what they’re saying.

Not that we are trying to achieve some sort of social decorum but manners really do go a long way, about as far as you can throw your Iphone….try it.

Oh and one more for good measure – always say thanks for your Starbucks.