Business Etiquette

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Business etiquette is made up of significantly more important things than knowing which fork to use at lunch with a client. People may feel that if you can't be trusted not to embarrass yourself in business and social situations, you may lack the self-control necessary to be good at what you do. Etiquette is about presenting yourself with the kind of polish that shows you can be taken seriously. Etiquette is also about being comfortable around people (and making them comfortable around you!)

Being a good conversationalist

To be a successful conversationalist, you must also believe that listening is power. Because our society places so much emphasis on speaking as the way to win friends and influence people, good listeners can quietly have a powerful and subversive impact. You should also remember that speakers have little power without listeners. Speakers share their wisdom and try to persuade, but listeners make meaning of what is heard -- they make the ultimate decision to act on what they hear. When it comes to talking during an interview, sometimes less is more. As a general rule, you should speak one-third of the time and definitely no more than half of the time. That's because the best interviews have a give-and-take atmosphere where you're discussing who the company is looking for, why you're the right candidate and how having you on board will solve the firm's challenges. To do this, you need to ask questions and try to draw out your interviewer rather than talking about yourself nonstop.

Phone Etiquette

Employers use telephone interviews as a way of identifying and recruiting candidates for employment. Phone interviews are often used to screen candidates in order to narrow the pool of applicants who will be invited for in-person interviews. They are also used as way to minimize the expenses involved in interviewing out-of-town candidates. While you're actively job searching, it's important to be prepared for a phone interview on a moments notice. You never know when a recruiter or a networking contact might call and ask if you have a few minutes to talk. Good phone ability is a requirement of almost every job at all levels. This is a chance to demonstrate your phone communications skills. Face-to-face communication consists of three elements: words, tone of voice and body language. But when communicating by telephone, there is no physical contact, no observable body language. So what you say (the words you use) and your tone of voice become much more important, as does your ability to listen and respond. The words you use on the telephone should be positive. Use words like "challenge, solution, success, we, I, our, your, opportunity, can, good, between assignments." Avoid words like "can't, won't, don't, haven't, unsuccessful, failure, problem, bad, unemployed, retired, fired."

Stand while doing a phone interview. Smile into the phone. The tone of your voice should be clear and enthusiastic. Don't sound disinterested, mumble words or be monotonous in your tone. Don't chew gum, smoke or eat during phone interview. Get your thoughts in order. Be prepared to tell the prospective employer why you want the job, and why you are qualified for it. Use the opportunity to gather more information about the opening and the company. Do your homework. Take time to conduct preliminary research on prospective employers. This will allow you to ask targeted questions during your conversation and give you a competitive edge when it comes to securing an opportunity to interview in person. Be prepared. Create a "hot sheet" for every job for which you apply, and keep it close to the phone for easy accessibility. Your list should include the name of the hiring authority, questions you want to ask and points you'd like to make during the interview. Also, have a copy of your resume on hand. Speak formally. Approach the phone interview with the same business etiquette as you would a...
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