The body language of good manners in the workplace


When talking etiquette, there are several areas where we can focus. From the table to the gym to the carpool line, there are rules for common courtesies and guidelines for good behavior. Today, Chad Ervin, organizational development specialist, shares some of his favorite articles on popular professional etiquette topics. Nail your next introduction, presentation or interview with his quick points of note.


The ideal handshake.

Forbes published a great piece called, “Why Your Handshake Matters (and How to Get it Right)”. In the article the writer warns against the negative impact of a “dead fish” handshake, and encourages people to instead practice a handful of manageable strategies to get a better grasp on the common gesture.

  1. Be prepared. Keep your right hand open and ready.
  2. Consider your body language. If you’re seated, stand up, if your standing, take your hands out of your pockets, and always keep your head straight with good eye contact.
  3. Get in position. Keep your hand perpendicular, never palm down or palm up.
  4. Make contact. Keep your palm flat, not cupped, and wrap your hand around their hand. You should almost be able to feel their pulse.
  5. Shake it. Lock your thumb down and apply as much pressure as your partner does. Shake approximately 2 - 3 times.
  6. Practice often. Shake your loved ones hands and ask for genuine feedback.


Meeting etiquette.

Nonverbal communication makes up, depending on what study you read, roughly 80 percent of all communication. So, it is important for us to properly understand what our nonverbals could possibly be conveying. In an article recently published by U.S. News and World Report, they offer these 5 tips for improving nonverbal communication:

  1. Eye contact. Try focusing on people as subject matter pertains to them and avoid staring at the floor.
  2. Tone. Vary the sound of your voice to emphasize important points in a presentation or dialogue.
  3. Posture. Stand or sit up straight and avoid crossing your arms.
  4. Gestures. Practice using appropriate gestures to emphasize points and engage the audience. Avoid overusing gestures to avoid causing distraction.
  5. Appearance. Dress professionally and make sure your computer desktop is tidy if you are projecting to present.


Follow up. 

Careerbuilder™ had a helpful piece with guidelines for “When and How to Follow Up After an Interview”. Their bullets included:

  1. Always ask about timelines. Always leave knowing how and when both parties are expected to communicate.
  2. Remember to say thank you. Thank the interviewer and HR representative both at the time of the interview and with a brief letter after the conclusion of the meeting.
  3. Send a handwritten note. Stand out by sending a thoughtful, handwritten note on quality paper, immediately after the interview.
  4. When to ask if you got the job. Get a timeframe during the interview and then follow up if you haven’t heard anything within 1 - 2 days past that deadline.