The evolving rules of business etiquette

By Amy Beth Miller

Excuse me. Did you realize that this is National Business Etiquette Week? The Protocol School of Washington is promoting the event for the fifth year.

I agree with all of the PSOW advice to recent college graduates to polish their images and increase their chances of landing a job. From dressing conservatively to writing a thank-you note after the interview, those habits are well established.

My etiquette dilemmas center on being polite within the framework of today’s demand for instant communication. Here are some examples:

  • Do I need to respond to every incoming message? When it’s clear the person was making a shot in the dark by contacting me after finding my email address somewhere, I don’t feel the need to reply. Most others I reply to within 24 hours.
  • Is some type of salutation necessary on every email? I usually omit salutations for people I interact with regularly, such as co-workers.
  • Is sending a “You’re welcome” message polite or just another interruption for busy people? As the editor of The Organized Executive, I tend to opt for brevity and fewer messages.

OK nitpickers, here’s your opportunity to sound off about the state of manners in business today. What’s your pet peeve or etiquette dilemma? Share your comments below.

Editor’s note: To polish your manners, attend the upcoming audio conference Business Communication Etiquette: How to Deal With People, presented by Natalie Manor.

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