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BW Businessworld

Last Word: Minding Your Ps And Qs

American actor and dancer Fred Astaire once said: “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”

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By Konkana Bakshi
American actor and dancer Fred Astaire once said: “The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.”

Good etiquette gives you confidence and makes you feel good. These things are directly proportional to success. If you are hesitant about how to conduct yourself in any situation, it will show. This applies across all social interactions. In a professional setting, etiquette could give you the edge in landing the job, contract, or promotion.

Every person is the face of their business, and first impressions are crucial. The appearance of an individual makes an impact at the subconscious level. To some extent, our credibility is judged within the first seven seconds of meeting in a business or social situation.

Good manners send out the message that it’s not “all about me”, and indicate a strong set of values. With business situations increasingly becoming global, cross-cultural etiquette is increasingly valuable. Good grooming conveys professionalism and respect for others, which are crucial in a business setting.
For a business professionals, soft skills help differentiate one from the competition and speed up one’s career progress.

They can help you be more client-centric by honing your ability to establish excellent rapport with clients. An emphasis on these skills can also make your resume more globally appealing.

What can finishing school do for B-school students? Firstly, it can improve their finesse, and help their personality shine more brightly. Secondly, it can enable them to communicate more confidently and effectively with their employers. Thirdly, it can empower them with the right tools to voice their opinion clearly and
with sophistication. And lastly, it can enable them to grasp global trends, imagine possibilities, and be among the cognoscenti.

Unfortunately, far too often, young professionals fall short on soft skills when conducting themselves in formal or informal business situations. With business interactions more global than ever, such sensitivities have added importance in our connected world. Traditional ways of doing business did not place a great deal of importance on such things, but today a company is run not merely on talent. Managing people calls for manners and suaveness.

Having these skills creates a better impression from the get-go. Success at work and in life is an exercise in constant relationship management and communication. Fare from being superficial, grooming and etiquette have a profound bearing on how people perceive and respond to you. A stint at a finishing school or even a workshop on finesse can substantially enhance one’s confidence, enable more effective communication, and stand one in good stead with colleagues and clients.

India is fast emerging as a global economic power, with growing international business ties. The next-generation entrepreneur or business professional will surely benefit from a mastery over social skills. Eloquence is a prerequisite to success. India is now abreast of global trends, so it’s crucial that we make etiquette a way of life for our business leaders of the future.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 14-12-2015)

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