Category — Etiquette and Protocol
As the founder and CEO of many compaines - a rather unconventional one I will concede - over the last fifteen years I found it necessary as our companies grew to constantly be looking for ways to not just improve our products and businesses, but also to work on what Tony Robbins calls CANI — Constant and Never Ending Improvement of myself as well. Whether you are the CEO or another type of executive at a major corporation of your own or someone else’s, the owner of a small company just starting out, or a one-man or one-woman operation, you will gain much from Etiquette and Protocol courses and training. The larger you or your company grows, the more important Etiquette and Protocol training becomes.
I will write another post exclusively dedicated to the benefits and details of such training. I spent many years seeking out and being trained and mentored by the absolute best on the planet because I was committed to not only being the best business owner and executive that I could be, but also to becoming the absolute best person I could be. From Avatar training to walking on hot burning coals with Tony Robbins, from years of twice weekly personal and professional coaching from some of the world’s best organizations in the Coaching business to every seminar and conference one can name - I put one-hundred-and-ten percent of my efforts into mastering everything that was out there to learn, grow, excel and become the best at everything I attempted. (This also included hundreds of hours in schools around the world learning to speak five languages as well. But that too we will save for another post.)
One of the areas that I enjoyed being trained in the most was something known as Etiquette or Protocol. This type of training includes mastering the skills of how to eat in polite society, how to dress, how to speak to foriegn dignitaries, telephone etiquette, business etiquette, and sometimes things as simple as how to shake hands like an executive. One of the companies that I received training from was The Protocol School of Palm Beach. Just to set the record straight and to show just how much I appreciated all the training I received from this organization, I will tell you that I have not had much communication with them for some time, because I moved to Manhattan five years ago. I am not being paid to endorse the company and in fact they have no idea that I am even recommending them to my clients. But do a google search in the town that you live in and see if you can find a good ettiquette or protocol school. It is worth every penny and hour that you will invest and then some.
In the meantime, I have reprinted below an excellent piece from Jacqueline Whitmore, the owner of the above mentioned school. I believe you will find the advice valuable.
Ed Hale :: Optum Consulting
You only have one chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one. Research shows that you only have seven seconds before people form an opinion about you. Often, that’s before you’ve had a chance to say, “hello.” Here are some tips to help you create a great first impression.
- Don’t just arrive on time for a meeting; arrive ten minutes early. This extra time will give you an opportunity to gain your composure, go to the restroom and check your appearance one final time.
- Be on your best behavior as soon as you get out of your car. You never know who you will run into in the parking lot, hallway, elevator or restroom.
- Turn your cell phone on “silent” mode. Nothing is more embarrassing than hearing your cell phone ring while you’re in an important meeting. While waiting in the reception area, refrain from talking on your cell phone. Be mindful that others, i.e., the receptionist or administrative assistant, may be listening to your conversation and forming opinions about you.
- Stand tall. Pull your shoulders back and hold your head high. This posture makes you appear poised and self-assured (even if you feel anxious and tense).
- Smile. Whenever you smile, it makes you look more confident and approachable.
- Make eye contact and offer a firm handshake. A Yale University study found that people believe you possess the qualities associated with your grip. For example, a limp, clammy handshake can make you appear nervous and shy.
- Focus on the other person and less on yourself. The keys to being likeable are to be empathic and interested. Empathy means that you care about what the other person is saying. Interest means that you want to get to know the person better.
- Listen with the intent to understand. Begin the conversation by putting the spotlight on the other person. Say something like, “Tell me, what did you have in mind to make this program more successful?” If you want to increase your chances of getting what you want, allow the decision maker to do most of the talking.
- Let the decision maker have the last word. When the decision maker ends the conversation with an opinion or suggestion, show him some respect and don’t make the conversation linger. Instead, thank the person for his time, shake hands and don’t forget to follow-up with a handwritten thank-you note.
May 1, 2008 No Comments