The Deipnosophist

Where the science of investing becomes an art of living

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Location: Summerlin, Nevada, United States

A private investor for 20+ years, I manage private portfolios and write about investing. You can read my market musings on three different sites: 1) The Deipnosophist, dedicated to teaching the market's processes and mechanics; 2) Investment Poetry, a subscription site dedicated to real time investment recommendations; and 3) Seeking Alpha, a combination of the other two sites with a mix of reprints from this site and all-original content. See you here, there, or the other site!

30 March 2010

Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy - A Review

Who knew the need for Ann Marie Sabath's, Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy, still exists, leave alone a 3rd edition?

Well, I did not. I thought repeatedly while reading the book that the 101 'rules' all [to be] common sense... Right? Consider the following examples:
• How do I handle co-workers on the cell-phone or texting all day?
• What, exactly, am I supposed to wear on dress-down day?
• What’s the best way to compose an e-mail to my most important prospective client?
• How do I handle people who come across too strong during meetings?

But I asked questions of other business people, and really looked at daily life around me; what I learned and witnessed mortifies me:
• Prospects for a job arrive knowing nothing about the company (Sabath covers this point);
• Prospects for a job arrive for the interview wearing inappropriate clothes (Sabath covers this point as well);
• I watched as an employee at a retail cookie store finished with one customer, and then just stared at the next customer in line, as if to say: "Hurry up!"  Such... surliness is inappropriate; it discourages the customer from returning. I would have fired that employee on the spot, although his behavior is equally an example of bad management practices as it is his bad attitude.
• Unrelated, I know, but it amazes me to watch people stroll through the tourist attractions in my city dressed like pigs. 
• Again unrelated, but when did it become okay to wear pajamas when flying? 
(The last two items do not pertain to business relationships, but they are germane on making positive impressions on other people.)

Common sense does not equal used by all, though, and Sabath is not scanty on excellent ideas, such as
Rule #32: ... Observe e-mail courtesy. Excellent suggestions in this Rule that requires 3+ pages to limn. Absolutely necessary, as evinced by terrible grammar, syntax, length, etc;
Rule #48: Be specific when leaving a phone message. This one strikes me as particularly sensible, but is violated with alarming frequency;
Rule #62: Rework the "Do Not Disturb" sign. "Employees should set parameters for when they are available to other employees..." Really, an excellent suggestion and application!
Rule #108: Make the right first impression at the job interview. Mentioned above.

Ann Marie Sabath's, Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy, is essential reading, and thus warrants your attention -- especially if you want to make a positive first impression on other people (business, social, and personal).
-- David M Gordon / The Deipnosophist

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