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Executive Manners

When you are the one RECEIVING a business visitor

  • Be on time with your appointments
    • If you keep someone waiting, he or she will resent it, particularly if that person feels as important as you (or perhaps more important). If you know you are going to keep someone waiting more than five minutes, go to the waiting area to apologize, explain why you’re delayed and promise you are going to shorten the delay as much as possible. Make sure they have coffee, water or a soft drink and something to read. Ask if he or she needs to use the telephone or send a fax.
  • When your visitor is escorted to your office, stand up, step out from behind your desk and put out your hand to greet that person. 
  • If you are on the telephone when your guest arrives, terminate the conversation immediately and say you’ll call back later to finish the business at hand. 
  • If you are expecting a group of people, be prepared with sufficient chairs already in place.
  • Allow your office visitors to be seated before you are. 
  • Walk your visitor to the external door or elevator if there is no secretary or assistant available.

When you are the one MAKING the business visit

  • Be on time 
  • If you are not able to make the appointment/visit at all, call to apologize and re-schedule at the convenience of the person you are having to cancel for. If you are not able to personally speak with the individual, leave a message but follow it up by sending a note of apology. 
  • If your host must take a telephone call while you’re sitting there, ask if he/she would like privacy for the call. If they do not, occupy yourself by reviewing material you may have brought with you.
  • Whether you have accomplished your mission or not during the appointment, thank your host for having received you, shake hands and leave promptly when it is time – do not overstay your appointed time.

Deference: The Basis of Protocol

  • Let a senior officer precede you in the room
  • Raise your hand at a meeting and catch the meeting chairman’s eye and his nod of approval before you speak
  • Begin eating when the host or guest of honor does
  • Introduce your guests to your boss first
  • Hold open a door for visitors and with a sweep of your hand, usher them through
  • Take the less important, only uncomfortable seat in the room in deference to senior management or guests
  • Stand up to greet or say “Goodbye” to the visitor who enters your office

The Art of Conversation

Listening is an Art – the Foundation of all Good Conversation

You are listening well when:

  • You subjugate your impressions of how someone looks and the nature of his surrounds to what he is saying
  • You remember all major points of the conversation, particularly any action that is your responsibility 
  • You ask intelligent questions at the end of the meeting or discussion 
  • You make your listening time also a learning time

Good Body Language is part of a Good Conversation

  • When you meet someone, don’t stand too close 
  • Never back someone into the wall where he/she thinks you have imprisoned them so you can talk to them. Always allow space around a person 
  • When you are in a conversational group, your body language will either be pleasant and polite or rude and negative 
    • Sit attentively in your chair 
    • Watch the face of the person speaking and do not let your eyes roam randomly around the room 
    • Keep your legs still