proper etiquette

Etiquette In Today’s World: Where is Emily Post When You Need Her?

I am appalled at the lack of proper business etiquette (or any type of etiquette for that matter) in today’s world.  When did it become acceptable for people to be so nonchalant when it comes to thanking people, being courteous, or showing respect? Every day, I am witness to educated, social, and professional adults proving to me that they did not grow up with the same lessons my parents and business mentors taught me.  Did they forget the value of saying thank you?  Or, do they think this is just an exercise in drudgery?

I got a thank you note today.
It contained 8 words.
It was practically illegible, and littered
with grammar and punctuation errors.

I was actually shocked.  And saddened.  Is writing a a poor thank you note better than not writing one at all?

If you receive a gift, are shown an exceptional or personal courtesy, or are truly thankful for a person, place or thing, the expectation is that you thank that person.  I don’t care how entitled you are, what decade it is, how old you are, how you were educated, or what social demographic you belong to… everyone needs to respond when they receive a gift.  A hand-written note is the obvious first choice; however, an email, text, or phone call runs a close second.  And, it needs to be timely.

By not showing proper etiquette, socially and professionally, from a sales perspective – you are missing out on several great touch point opportunities.

Let’s talk proper business etiquette and how it affects sales.

We all thank our customers.  Some, more than others.  If you book a meeting or group block, the expectation is that after the event is consumed, that you send the planner a note thanking them for their business.  It might be a little card, it might be a clever gift, or it might be a letter or email.  This an integral part of the sales process.  And, it’s nice.  It completes the circle of sales PLUS it gives you a chance to set the stage for repeat business.

People buy from people they know and like.

Why should a person do business (or give another gift) to someone who has no etiquette?  Your hotel relies on repeat customers, so why do you have the expectation that you can rest on your laurels, charming personality, good looks, and simply expect happy customers will keep coming back?

Saying thank you to a customer when they give you their business is just good business.

Be creative. WWEPD?

Today’s hotel environment has become increasingly more competitive.  Knowing how to behave can make the difference between getting ahead and getting left behind.  Gone are the days when we took elocution lessons.  (What a shame.)  Learning proper business etiquette for everyday situations that are essential to professional and personal success is essential.  This list of business etiquette topics can also include: resolving business conflicts with ease and grace, getting along with your boss and coworkers, making long-lasting contacts to winning clients, closing deals with grace, table manners, dress for success and proper hygiene (just to name a few).

Emily Post Business Etiquette
WWEPD? What Would Emily Post Do? Find time to brush up on proper business etiquette!

Writing thank you notes can be a pain in the neck.  And, to some, can be a waste of time.  But it needs to be done AND rest assured, it is NOT a waste of time.  Think about the last time you received a handwritten note:   you smiled a little bit, right?   Thank you notes (calls or emails) put you in front of your client again and create a touch point opportunity to open the door for future business.

Hate writing notes?  Finding it tough to be creative?

Here’s a hint:  Oftentimes when I am tongue-tied or can’t think of what to say – I talk to my old friend Google.  If you were to browse through my cookies, you’d find phrases like, “quotes suitable for a sympathy note,” “quotes about kindness,” “creative ways to say thank you,” etc.  To write the same thank you notes over-and-over can become arduous.  Use the words to a popular song.  Translate a few works of thanks into another language.  Follow or mimic your brand voice.  Try sprucing up your vocabulary and giving life to your correspondence.  It’ll make the task a lot more fun to write and, of course, a whole lot more interesting to read.  (Stay away from cutesy or inappropriate messages to business clients!)

For example:
GRAM’s logo is a flag pennant.
Our colors are red, white and blue.
Our font is Georgia.

My thank you notes are unique – yet ordinary and easy:
I found some nice notecards that show a stars and stripes flag planter with flowers.
I set up a file in my word processing so I could write a thank you note and print directly to the note card.
I use blue ink and the Georgia font to write the note.
I add a few handwritten words to the bottom and hand-sign my name.
I hand address the envelope.
I have “flag-design” return address stickers.
I only use “flag” stamps.

Does anyone notice?  I don’t know – but people do come back to me over and over for advice and to do business.  I’d like to think that it is my business etiquette.

So, the next time you need to “stand out from the crowd”, prove that you have great business etiquette and write a heartfelt, clever, and “more than 8 word” thank you note.  Your client will notice, and so will I.

Happy being gracious,


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