Is Business Etiquette and Protocol Out The Window?
Be it in person, on the phone, on the web, or for most of us, a combination of them all. And each of these areas of interactions require different sets of etiquette and protocol skills. And part of these skills encompasses written rules and unwritten rules in the workplace.
At CHUVA, we created 5-Business Opportunities, where your business etiquette and protocol skills play a pivotal role in the developing and maintaining your personal brand:
- Business Dining and Entertainment Venues
- Business Meetings: host/attendee
- Networking: face-to-face
- Networking: online
- Daily Business Interactions
The reality of all this is that most professionals’ daily challenges are not the tasks at hand or how to do the job for which they were hired, yet it is more about how to “strategically maneuver” around the game of business politics. This process is very similar to the game of chess. The game of chess simulates a war.
As I walk you through the analogy, don’t think about your business interactions as war, instead, think of them as business opportunities that you want to succeed in and how you do that determines how you play the game.
“Chess is a game played less with pieces and more with the mind.”
This is very important, because how you succeed is how you think “consciously” and make decisions “consciously”. One would not go into war without a purpose, planning and a desired outcome. Why should you think any differently about doing business?
In chess, there are six different chessmen. The objective is for each player to eliminate the other’s pieces from the gameboard. The player whose King survives on the board, is the winner. This is called “checkmate”. Richard Stephen, Translator, from Quora, says it best.
“There is no move you can make to prevent me from taking your king the next move”. (A king is never actually taken in chess. The object of the game is to maneuver your pieces to the point that the opponent cannot make any move to prevent you from taking his king on your next move. So “Checkmate” means you have won the game.)”
Winning the game for you in business means to “checkmate” a business situation in which you are involved. The six different pieces are ranked in levels of power, with the King having the most and the pawn having the least. As you read about each of the six pieces in the chess game, think about them as those you work with. Your boss, the CEO, the VP of a group, a peer, a Direct Report. Notice how each piece (title) brings power and limitations on how they can move around. The same is true for you and for those you may encounter in your business endeavors.
Each player has only one King. The King has a cross at the top and is the tallest piece in the set. The King is most critical of the six pieces because once the King dies, the game is over. The King can only move one-step in any direction. The term “check” is used when the king is in danger of being killed. When the King has been defeated, the player uses the term “checkmate”, which means the game is over.
Who is the King in your world?
Each player only has one Queen. The Queen is the second tallest of the pieces. She has some type of crown as opposed to the King’s cross. She can move any number of spaces in any direction until it reaches the end of the board or until it kills a piece of the opponent’s army. This makes her one of the most fatal pieces in the set.
Who is the Queen in your world?
The Bishop is the third tallest of the pieces. Each player has two Bishops on their team. They are also known as camels. The reason? Click here. It’s really interesting stuff. The Bishop has a pointed top, often looks like a hat, hence the name, Bishop. It also looks like a tower. They can move in any number of steps diagonally, in any direction until they reach the end of the board or until it kills one of the opponents.
Who is the Bishop in your world?
Each player has two Knights and is represented by the neck and head of a horse. It is the fourth tallest of the pieces. The Knight can move two spaces in any direction, and one-step sideways each time.
Who is the Knight in your world?
Each player has two Rook pieces and is the fifth Pawn. The piece looks like a castle and is oftentimes referred to as a “Castle” as opposed to a Rook. The Rook can move in horizontal or vertical step until it reaches the end of the board or kills an opponent.
Who is the Rook in your world?
Each player has eight Pawn pieces and is the shortest of the six pieces. The Pawn has the least power of the six pieces, only having the ability to move forward only one or two spaces in their first move and then only one-square at time after the first move. It can move diagonally forward but only to capture another opponent.
Who is the Pawn in your world?
Food For Thought
As you think about your business endeavors, are you beginning to see that there are players and rules to go by? And it goes deeper than that. It is about planning, how you think, behave, and react or respond, and how you adapt to each situation.
In order to do this, you must first know who the players are so that you know how to interact appropriately. You have to know about these players. How they think, behave and interact as well. It’s all about first, having a purpose, planning ahead to be prepared for any situation that might arise and how you are going to move across the gameboard to “checkmate” the situation.
To perform well in your business opportunities, the next step is to really understand what business etiquette and protocol is and is not. This is important because developing these skills in business will enhance your Visibility, Image and Performance within your organization while simultaneously enhancing your personal brand.
Business Etiquette and
Etiquette is a code that defines expectations of one’s behavior within a particular group or society. Protocol is a set of rules that are set in stone and are not to be modified. Protocol is the when and how something is done.
For example, it is proper etiquette to introduce two people, but when and how is the protocol in which it is to be executed. To make a “toast” at dinner may be the proper thing to do (etiquette), but when and how one makes the toast ensures that proper protocol is followed. Exchanging business cards at a networking function is proper (etiquette), but when and how one exchanges his or her business card is the question (protocol). Get the idea?
Another confusion concerning etiquette and protocol is the difference between social etiquette and protocol and business etiquette and protocol. Social is gender based and business is based on precedence. It is important to distinguish between the two so that you do not appear unrefined or offensive.
Business etiquette is genderless, meaning that the chivalry expected in proper social etiquette is not necessarily appropriate in a business setting. Business associates are expected to be treated as peers regardless of gender. It is professional to professional, not, male to female.
Business etiquette dictates that all people are treated equally, but this does not mean that basic politeness should be abandoned. For example, during a business luncheon, when a female returns to the dining table, the men should not be expected to greet her by standing and helping her with her chair; however, socially this would be perfectly acceptable. On the other hand, women can initiate a handshake, unlike socially, years past, only men initiated a handshake.
The way you conduct yourself and interact with others has an impact on your reputation. In business, always strive to achieve a positive reputation if you want to move forward and be successful. But don’t forget to enjoy the process!
5 Business Opportunities
1. Business Dining and Entertainment
More business is done over a business meal or entertainment venues. There is a great deal of etiquette and protocol that goes into play in such business ventures. As a host, and a guest: however, with that said, our programs are primarily centered around strategy to ensure that you reach your business goals and agenda. Why is this important?
Simple. You can have ALL the etiquette and protocols perfected, but if you don’t have a business strategy in place, none of that really matters. Remember, it’s really about business, not eating or entertaining.
2. Business Meetings: host/addendee
Like business dining and entertainment venues, there are strategies that need to be in-play. Whether you are the host or attending a meeting, there are protocols in place that help the meetings run smoothly. But what makes a meeting even more effective, is what you do to help you stand out from others by paying attention to all the nuances of those etiquette and protocol skills that go into defining a successful meeting outcome. It’s the details of these nuances that define distinction while simultaneously defining your personal brand.
3. Networking: face-to-face
Networking face-to-face is still the best way to build your brand. It’s the personal connection you make that helps enhance your visibility within in the business market.
Again, strategy is key. If you are strategic in your business approach to networking and equipped with those business etiquette and protocol skills as you attend events and interact with others, only then are your networking efforts strong.
When attending a networking event, you must have purpose. Are you there to make as many connections as possible to expand your network? Or are you there to meet a specific person? There are many reasons why you might attend a networking function. The key is to ensure that you reached your goal after you leave the event, or even better, before you leave the event. If you don’t do this, then you are wasting your time and efforts.
4. Networking: online
Over the years of the internet, a whole new world of networking has been created. In fact, those of you who have always had the internet as a business tool may not realize how critical the face-to-face networking is as well. Which is more important? It really depends. It depends on your location, are you doing business globally or more local. You should; however, be doing both. And both, should be consistent and supportive of each other.
For business, you have LinkedIn as your primary networking opportunity. Along with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It is important to communicate a consistent message along all these platforms. Consistency is key in online networking!
Your LinkedIn Summary should be Personal Branding Statement or a Value Statement. This will ensure to set you apart from the competition. It needs to be reflective of the talents that you bring to the table. The reason why you are doing your job. We recommend doing the “DISC Assessment” so that you clearly and succinctly describe who you are and what you do and how you do it. The DISC will provide you so much content that you have a difficult time selecting the best of you!
5. Daily Business Interactions
During the business day, business etiquette and protocol skills are embedded in almost all situations. From opening doors for others, to walking down the hall, entering someone’s office, greeting others, verbally and nonverbally, are just a few examples of how you interact with others.
It’s also about how fast you can “think on your feet”. We recommend, again, the DISC to outline your communication aspects. You simply read your profile and highlight your strengths, which we call your “green-flags”, and ensure that you keep those intact. Then read your report and highlight your challenges, which we call your “red-flags”. CHUVA is of a strong belief that you need to keep fine-tuning your strengths and be aware of your challenges, so you know how to modify them to make it through the workday.
Here is a simple, yet effective example. You have taken the DISC and you are an extrovert and you learned that when someone asks how you are, instead of saying a one-word response of fine, you might add to it. Instead, you might respond by saying “I am fine, how are you?” You have realized that this type response shows that you are engaged and interested.
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