We recently received a call from a senior executive of a local company stating, “I have a very talented group of junior executives who excel in their roles but have a habit of not responding to invitations. Can you teach them the importance of responding?”
While we see and hear this acronym frequently, R.S.V.P.s are often ignored. Despite the fact that most invitations are now electronic, making it easier than ever to R.S.V.P., people still often fail to click a button: “YES” “NO” or “Maybe”. Been there, done that?
Let’s start form the beginning: R.S.V.P. is short for 'répondez s'il vous plait,' a French phrase meaning, “Please respond.” Anyone who has planned an event, meeting, or party can attest to the fact that people often do not respond in a timely manner, if at all, despite the request for a reply. While responding to an invitation may seem like an afterthought for the recipient, it is crucial to the planning and success of the event.
Here is what you communicate about yourself through your reaction to an R.S.V.P:
1. You R.S.V.P within 48 hours:
Organizer: Great! This person is organized and knows where are they going to be at what time. I like that they are upfront about their plans – I like their confidence; I can depend on this person, and better plan my event – they are respectful. Even if they need to cancel, In the future I will trust them and find them generally dependable.
2. You R.S.V.P after a week:
Organizer: Jeez, this person took their sweet time. I would assume they feel they are too busy to bother responding or do not value the event or my time as the event organizer. They are coming across as disorganized and disrespectful.
3. You R.S.V.P after the second reminder:
Organizer: The only excuse for this person is if they were in the hospital or in the a remote area with no mobile service. This behavior makes them look rude, disrespectful and unprofessional..
Next time you receive an R.S.V.P., press the button A.S.A.P. Please respond!
Would your team benefit from reviewing guidelines around business etiquette, communication skills, and leadership abilities? Contact us today for a full list of Professional Development Workshops.
Whether or not we like them, open workspaces are increasingly commonplace. While the concept of open communication, collaboration, and team building is utopian, the reality is all that closeness can create tension and reduce productivity. Here are three tips from The Etiquette Academy that might help you succeed in the open workplace.
If your executives often walk by your open workplace while chatting with other executives or talking loudly on their phones and you cannot say anything because you don’t want to put your job in jeopardy - it's time to give us a call so we can contact them. We guarantee total anonymity to the brave etiquette enthusiasts!
It isn’t always easy to spend the better part of your waking life in peaceful coexistence with your co-workers, but if we all try to consider those around us and how our actions affect them, office environments will only improve.
1. First, let’s define confidence. Confidence is feeling comfortable in your skin and being proud of your accomplishments. It is a belief that you are a good person, safe, loved and supported by others.
2. People who maintain eye contact are usually perceived as more confident and honest. If smile is added to the eye contact then one is usually also perceived as a sociable and warm person. When entering a room or approaching another person, one should offer eye contact and a smile in order to appear confident and relaxed.
3. People who have a firm handshake are perceived as more trustworthy, reliable and confident. Standing, walking and sitting with straight posture exudes confidence, and initiating a greeting or conversation will make you appear confident.
Many people misinterpret confidence for arrogance; however, the two are very different. Arrogant people behave in a superior way and make others feel bad about themselves. Confident people inspire others to feel confident in their company and that is why people are drawn to them – for empowerment and positivity.
The Etiquette Academy of New England
Recently, the team at the Etiquette Academy of New England faced the issue of gender and etiquette in a business setting. While presenting Fine Dining for Professionals, a group of young professionals expressed concern regarding greeting protocol. One of the rules they challenged involves the practice of men standing up when women return to the dining table. Our client went so far as to refer to this practice as “misogynistic.”
Proper business etiquette can be somewhat subjective, but in our teaching we adhere to the standards of official protocol relevant to 21st century royals and state departments. While the difference in gender treatment was considered to be offensive by this group, the official protocol of standing up to show respect remains relevant in today’s society. For example, when greeting a person who enters an office, one should always stand up to shake his or her hand, offer a seat, and refrain from taking a seat before the guest. This practice is considered a common courtesy and demonstrates respect.
In a social group setting such as a formal restaurant, both men and women should rise when greeting anyone coming to greet them. The only person a woman does not stand up is for her husband, partner or significant other. When a woman stands up to leave the table, gentlemen at the table should stand up (a mock stand up is enough) to acknowledge her. The partner stands up as she is leaving to help her with the chair or escort her to the restroom. When she returns to the table, men at the table should stand up (again, the mock stand), or at least her partner should stand up to help her with her chair. In fact, some state protocol dictates that men should rise for women in a meeting scenario. The U.S. Department of State writes in Protocol for the Modern Diplomat, “As they do when a woman enters the room, men should rise when being introduced to a woman.” This convention should be known to all men to consider themselves gentleman, and all women who consider themselves ladies. With that said, it is essential that business leaders know when to employ this practice and when to refrain from it. For example, if a woman expresses that she does not like anyone to stand up for her, then by all means – don’t.
As our community changes and opens our hearts (and minds) to individual gender preferences, this simple etiquette protocol is called into a question. Should a man stand up for his male partner or husband? Should a woman stand up for her partner or wife, or just keep sitting? Who helps a gay woman with a long dress? What is the decorum for a person or a couple that feels gender neutral? However etiquette rules may shift due to cultural changes, we hope that the protocol will be updated according to preferences from the LGBT community that will communicate respect. Maybe the new rule would be that everyone stands up as someone leaves the table (less likely), or that a significant other stands up for “their person”, regardless of gender (more likely).
While etiquette is constantly evolving as society changes, we believe there are certain behavioral norms that can be applicable in formal settings. The key is not only knowing what do to, but also knowing when to do it. We believe that standing for those entering a room or when greeting colleagues is predicated on showing the utmost respect for others. In certain business environments, it may be that women interpret this behavior as offensive or condescending, and colleagues should make an effort to interpret each scenario and act accordingly.
We would love to hear from you! Please email us with your thoughts.
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The team at the Etiquette Academy is dedicated to helping businesses strengthen their teams through effective communication, well-developed interpersonal skills, and knowledge of basic rules of etiquette.