The word “etiquette” gets a bad rap. For one thing, it sounds stodgy and pretentious. And rules that are socially or morally prescribed seem intrusive to our sense of individuality and freedom.
But the concept of etiquette is still essential, especially now—and particularly in business. New communication platforms, like Facebook and Linked In, have blurred the lines of appropriateness and we’re all left wondering how to navigate unchartered social territory.
At Crane & Co., we have been advising people on etiquette for two centuries. We have even published books on the subject — covering social occasions, wedding etiquette and more. Boil it down and etiquette is really all about making people feel good. It’s not about rules or telling people what to do, or not to do, it’s about ensuring some basic social comforts.
So here are a few business etiquette rules that matter now—whatever you want to call them.
1. Send a Thank You Note
I work at a paper company that manufactures stationery and I’m shocked at how infrequently people send thank you notes after interviewing with me. If you’re not sending a follow-up thank you note to Crane, you’re not sending it anywhere. But the art of the thank you note should never die. If you have a job interview, or if you’re visiting clients or meeting new business partners — especially if you want the job, or the contract or deal—take the time to write a note. You’ll differentiate yourself by doing so and it will reflect well on your company too.
2. Know the Names