Most people will question the relevance of social skills training in the MBA program. I asked my questions too. But after listening to our teacher, I am more than convinced that it is as important as every other course on our syllabus.
Social etiquette is exactly how it sounds, it refers to the behavior you resort to in social situations—interactions with your family, friends, coworkers or strangers. We’re expected to follow social norms in order to coexist and live in harmony. Social etiquette influences how others perceive and treat you.
I will be discussing some social etiquette that stood out for me. They include:
- In a social setting, the lady extends her hand for a handshake but in a business setting, the higher authority extends his or her hand first.
- When introducing mutual contacts to each other at a business event, you introduce the higher authority first. Also, use same name basis i.e if you use first name only for the first introduction also use first name only to introduce the second party.
For example, say, Ms Prisca may I introduce you to Mr John. Instead of Ms Prisca, may I introduce you to Mr John Agu.
- Ms is used to introduce women in a business setting. Ms is different from miss or mrs.
- When presenting your business card, always place the side of the card with your name on it upward.
- When you are handed a business card, take some time to look at the card. Don’t take it and put inside your bag immediately. It could send the wrong impression that you are not interested in the other person.
- When you go into someone’s office, do not place your bag or other personal effects on the table.
- Always toast by raising your glass. Do not clink with another glass. It is bad news for the glassware.
- When offered alcohol at a social setting, and you want to turn down the offer. Simply say, thank you but I will not be having any today or tonight.
- Always use the magic words: please, thank you, may I?, excuse me, pardon me.
- If you visit an office and you are offered tea at the reception. Simply say, yes, please. If you are interested. No, thank you is a good reply to turn down the offer.
- The celebrant or the person being toasted, at an event sits while other people stand. The celebrant stands after the toast, says a few word before drinking. Everyone else drinks afterwards.
- When entering a room, do not enter with your back facing the audience. Enter with your back facing the door inwards and close the door gently.
- Approach a chair from the right but get seated from the left. Also exit from the left.
- Be sensitive to other people’s culture. Make effort to find out about the social culture of people. For example, Arabs consider it a cultural taboo when you see the sole of their shoe.
- Do not place your elbows on the table while eating.
These skills will help you coordinate yourself better in social and business environment. It will definitely give you an edge over your colleagues that are not conscious of these etiquette.
So, tell me which one of these surprised you?