The Marvelous Millennial's Manual To Modern Manners
eBook - ePub

The Marvelous Millennial's Manual To Modern Manners

Professional Success and Happiness with the Help of Business Etiquette

Jessica W. Marventano, Catherine CraneWallace

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eBook - ePub

The Marvelous Millennial's Manual To Modern Manners

Professional Success and Happiness with the Help of Business Etiquette

Jessica W. Marventano, Catherine CraneWallace

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About This Book

The Marvelous Millennial's Manual to Modern Manners is the concise, approachable and relevant go-to manners and civility manual that makes all professional millennials' lives more productive and pleasant.

Most Americans think society is becoming more and more rude. Everyone blames the young generation, but that trend has been the case since the beginning of time. Actually, millennials have many positive attributes to offer—empathy, open-mindedness, and optimism. However, they don't have a solid foundation in manners. The Marvelous Millennial's Manual to Modern Manners gives millennials the tools they need for professional and personal success with its concise and relevant sections on personal branding, business etiquette, and dining skills. All these important life skills are like any other skill: they must be learned. This is the manners manual for them.

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Put Your Best, Polite, Polished Foot Forward

Every behavior is associated with your brand. It is important to intentionally create and maintain a personal brand if you want positive words associated with you. “She’s a team player.” “He goes the extra mile.” “She is reliable.” Once you have a negative word associated with you, it takes time and effort to overcome it. You never want someone to say, “She is difficult to work with.” “He never meets deadlines.” “You have to walk on eggshells around him.” It takes five seconds for someone to form a first impression of you. Let them form the impression that will help lead to your success.

Making a Good First Impression

You have five seconds. Yes, just five seconds. That’s it. All you have to make a first impression.
First impressions are lasting, in life and in business. It’s true that you can sometimes change someone’s first impression of you, but it takes time–a lot of time, patience, and consistency in your rebranding. That is why it’s best to think about what you want people to think of you (and not think of you) and then intentionally act accordingly from the get-go.
Of your first impression, an astounding 55 percent of the message your body sends is attributed to the way you look as well as the confidence you exude and your body language. Of the remaining, 38 percent of the message is from the way you speak, including the grammar you use and the tone you take. Only a paltry 7 percent of the message you send is based on the actual substance of your words. Without even realizing it, your body is constantly talking to the outside world.
What is yours saying?
Your personal deportment carries a lot of weight in the impression you make on others. What do we mean by personal deportment? Personal deportment refers to your manner of personal conduct and the way you behave, especially your physical bearing. There are two essential areas of personal deportment you should concentrate on in order to send confident signals to the rest of the world.
The first area of focus is your posture. Good posture means exactly what many of us were told growing up: stand up straight and proud. When you slouch, you are telling the world that you are self-conscious and don’t want to be seen; you are drained and dreary. Basically, you are telling the world that you don’t think you are worth it. Show some self-confidence by standing tall with your head held high. Imagine someone is gently pulling up a ribbon affixed to the top of your head. Your shoulders should be rolled down and back with your shoulder blades pulled closer together. It feels so good and is actually good for you physically when you stand this way–trust us! Standing straight means aligning your ears and shoulders with the shoulder blades pulled down and back. It makes you look slimmer and more confident and feel less stressed. In the back of our minds, we all know we should remember to stand straight, but it is becoming more and more of a challenge as we spend hours sitting behind our desks or hunched over our electronic devices.
Scarily, research shows that bending your head to read your electronic devices puts 60 pounds of pressure on your cervical spine (the part of the spine above the shoulders)16. So avoid the painful and unattractive “tech-neck” and put your phone down and look up. Engage and be present with your physical surroundings.
When you stand, try to evenly distribute your weight between your two feet. Rocking back and forth signals uncomfortableness. Let your arms fall loosely to your sides. Avoid tightly folding your arms across your chest because that makes you look unapproachable, unpleasant, and confrontational. Your movements should be purposeful, so don’t fidget by touching your face, twirling your hair, or constantly pushing up your eye glasses (if your glasses move that much, get them adjusted).
Making eye contact when speaking instantly projects confidence and trustworthiness. Some people have a difficult time making eye contact. To help, try turning it into a game–enter every conversation by trying to figure out what eye color the other person has17. When you do that, you focus less on the fact that you are making eye contact and instead are more focused on trying to get an answer to the eye color question. Likewise, those who have difficulty making direct eye contact can focus on the small triangle described in the following paragraph, which makes you look like you are looking into their eyes when you actually aren’t.
In a professional setting, you should always concentrate on the space between someone’s eyebrows while talking to them (that small triangle referenced before). Imagine a dot there. That is the area of the face that means, “I am here to talk business.” As you move down the face and chest, you go from a proper business gaze to a social gaze all the way to a more intimate one. It goes without saying, there is no reason to gaze at someone’s chest (or other body parts). Keep all eyes up in business!
Eye contact signals to the other person that you are listening to them. It is hard to concentrate on what someone is saying when you are looking over their shoulder or elsewhere. When you focus on them, you look in control and pay more attention. This will help you become a better conversationalist.
In business, direct eye contact should be made between 40 and 60 percent of the time. Less than 40 percent and others think you are sneaky, shady, and insecure. Why won’t they look at me when talking about this important project? They must be hiding something or lying to me. On the other hand, when you look at someone more than 60 percent of the time, the other person feels uncomfortable, thinking, What is up with this freak staring at me? What do they want from me?
Lastly, remember that when you look at someone, please smile. A smiling face shows kindness and confidence–a winning combination in any business setting. Smile, and the world smiles back.

Applying this in the real world

  1. Q.If I am supposed to only make eye contact 40-60 percent of the time, where do I look the rest of the time?
  2. A.The goal is to break up the eye contact so that it isn’t so intense. You can look at the triangle spot between the eyes, you can look immediately to their side, you can look at others in the conversation group, you can look at a common object or reference material (a document, for example), or simply just around. But always come back to eye contact to show you are focused on the conversation at hand.
  3. Q.When I am standing and talking in a business setting, I don’t know what to do with my arms and hands. I feel awkward if I just let them hang down by my sides.
  4. A.You want to appear as natural as possible. Standing completely still with arms frozen at your side is not being natural. Think in terms of avoiding fidgeting. In contrast, fluid, graceful movement is ok. If you are explaining something and want to animate a point using your hands, that is fine. We all do that. Envision yourself holding a ball between your two hands and your hands will be occupied in a way that doesn’t look like nervous fidgeting.

Personal Deportment:

Grooming, Attitude, and Image
Like it or not, people tend to judge a book by its cover. And let’s face it, without good personal hygiene, you don’t have much. It is important to take pride in your appearance. It shows respect for yourself and for others whose paths you cross.
We assume you know the basics, namely that it is important to regularly bath, wash, comb and style your hair, use deodorant, and brush your teeth. These are the foundational steps of good grooming and are essential when you are working daily with others.
Bad breath is the kiss of death. People simply won’t enjoy being around you. It is hard to know when your own breath is less than pleasant, but take note if people turn their head when you talk or take a step back to increase the space between you. The best things to do to guard against this are to regularly brush and floss your teeth, keep mints on hand, and keep hydrated. Mints are preferable to gum because chewing gum is not an attractive look. Some of us look like a cow chewing its cud. When you don’t drink enough fluids, you don’t produce saliva. Saliva is what helps keep your mouth clean and fresh by washing away odor-causing bacteria. Store a toothbrush and toothpaste at work to use after your morning coffee or lunch and before you head out for a meeting with clients.
Remember to maintain your manicure–by this we mean take care of your hands, men included! Nails should be filed, and cuticles should be smooth. Cream your hands and cuticles to prevent dry, rough hands and cracked cuticles. This will make it easier to refrain from picking at your fingers and nails. Overly decorative nails are not appropriate in most professional business settings, so use good judgment there. Women also sometimes overlook keeping their rings clean.
And let’s not forget the feet. If your office allows open-toed shoes or sling-backs, maintain your feet–nails, polish, and heels. Men, if you are wearing sandals, maintain your feet as well.
Ladies should use makeup to enhance their look, not mask it. Likewise, too little makeup is as bad as too much makeup. When properly applied, makeup helps you look polished and fresh and, according to a study, more likable and competent18. Visit a nearby makeup counter to help you identify your proper makeup color palette and teach you application techniques. Also, there are countless YouTube videos on makeup application that can help get you started on a budget.
Personal upkeep is just that–personal! It is to be done in private. Do not clip, file or paint nails, brush or spray your hair, floss teeth, use toothpicks, or apply makeup in public–lipstick included. When you need to do some personal upkeep, simply excuse yourself and go to the powder room when you are out in public or otherwise on the go.
Go easy on the fragrance. Light perfume or men’s cologne is appealing. Do not bath yourself in fragrance–your fragrance should not arrive before you do. It should only have a supporting role in your image. Be mindful that others may have allergies or sensitivities. You don’t want your perfume to make those that work near you miserable. Be kind. If you aren’t sure if you are using too much, ask a trusted and honest friend to assess your application.
Facial hair. Men, it should be neat. Don’t come in unshaven. Mind you, there is a huge difference between unshaven and scruffy and maintaining deliberate facial hair. Don’t look like you just rolled out ...

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