6 ways you should mind your manners at work

Common courtesy is increasingly uncommon. That’s a shame. Politeness is smart in your business dealings, and it’s simply the right way to go about things.

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(Editor’s note: This was one of the top viewed stories of 2014. We’re rerunning it as part of a look back at the articles that captivated our readers the most.)

In a culture where many seemingly have no time for courtesy, minding your manners when others have forgotten theirs can get you a job, a promotion, or a date.

Manners make the man—or the woman—distinctive, memorable. Yet I encounter and hear complaints about these workplace faux pas weekly:

So here are a few reminders:

1. Accept or decline all invitations promptly

When you wait longer than a week to reply when a response is requested, the host may wonder whether you’re waiting for a better offer to come along.

Hosts must plan the menu, pay for the food for each attendee, and in some cases rent serving dishes and furniture for a specific number of guests. If the host has to contact you to ask whether you’re attending, you have committed a major faux pas.

2. Be prompt to meetings or conference calls

Arriving late communicates one of two messages: “My time is more valuable than yours,” or, “I’m a poor time manager.

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