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8 Basic Etiquette’s That Everyone Must Know

You don’t teach morals and ethics and empathy and kindness in the schools. You teach that at home, and children learn by example. Judy Sheindlin

Why learn Etiquettes & Ethics?

Why do some people stand out among others? We don’t really get it and we sometimes think it’s their branded clothes or accessories. No! It’s actually those who act according to etiquettes and ethics through their mannerisms and good behaviour. These people are considerate towards others. So the reasons we should learn about etiquettes and ethics are:

  • For a charming personality
  • For good manners & attitude
  • Get reward, respect & attention
  • Confidence
  • Improve self-image

Etiquettes


Etiquette is a code of behaviour that outlines expectations for social behaviour within a society, social class or group. Rules of etiquette include all aspects of social interaction including manners. But Etiquette is not just about saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. One important function of etiquette is that it shows respect and deference to others.

If humans don’t think of manners and etiquettes, there won’t be much difference between humans and animals. Etiquettes are unspoken acts to be considerate and kind towards others.

For example in many countries not jumping the queue is considered normal etiquette. It can vary a lot from country to country especially in business and social interaction.

Ethics

Ethics are the standards or codes of behaviour considered to be correct and expected by the group to which an individual belongs.

There are many types of ethics like:

  • Personal ethics
  • Social ethics
  • National ethics
  • Religious ethics
  • Professional ethics
  • Business ethics

Sometimes a person’s personal morals clash with the ethics he is expected to practice at work.

7 Essential Elements of Ethics

Most common ethics have evolved over time from some basic elements which are as follows:

  1. Honesty
  2. Respect
  3. Confidentiality
  4. Professionalism
  5. Responsibility
  6. Communication
  7. Obeying the law

 

Great people have great values and great ethics. Jeffrey Gitomer

Why people act unethically

  • Lack of education/awareness.
  • A person may choose to act selfishly.
  • Everyone’s ethical standards may be different.

Eating & drinking Ethics

  • When someone asks you to pass them a fork or a knife, never face the sharp edges towards them. Keep them towards yourself.
  • Never suck your fingers in front of people. If there’s something on them, get a tissue and wipe them clean.
  • Adhere to only positive conversation topics on the table. Never talk about disgusting or negative things.
  • After every bite or two look around. Don’t be so engrossed in eating that you don’t look at your surrounding.
  • Avoid eating foods like spaghetti/noodles in front of people as they’re hard to eat.
  • Always make sure your nails are clean while eating food (or not).
  • While eating with cutlery in your hands. Don’t talk with hand actions. Keep your hands next to your plate.
  • Wait for everyone to be served before you start eating.
  • Anything that is not food related should stay off the dining table like your keys, phone and caps.
  • Never text at the table. If you must do something important. Excuse yourself and leave the table to reply.
  • Check if there’s enough in the dish (for everyone else) when putting something in your plate.  
  • If there’s less food don’t finish it. If you must, ask first.
  • Avoid talking while chewing food. Try to finish it from your mouth before talking.
  • If you must reply, cover your mouth with your hand while talking.

Nothing is less important than which fork you use. Etiquette is the science of living. It embraces everything. It is ethics. It is honor. Emily Post

Phone Ethics

  • When answering the phone at work, state your name and place of business: “Widgets, Incorporated. Susan Smith speaking. How may I help you?”
  • If you use the speakerphone, tell the person he’s on the speaker phone.
  • When leaving voicemails, state your name, place of business, and number. Succinctly say why you’re calling. Repeat step one; say goodbye.
  • If a call drops, the person who made the call should call back.
  • Don’t take a call in the middle of a face-to-face conversation.
  • Lower your voice when using phone in public.
  • Turn off the phone in theatre, cinema, meeting and mosque/churches.
  • End phone conversations when paying for purchases.
  • NEVER USE THE PHONE WHILE DRIVING.
  •  Put phone away at the dinner table.

Work/Business Ethics

Success in business means more than just product and service knowledge.

  • One has to be well groomed in body language, voice & facial expressions. Eye-contact is very important.
  • When introducing people at work, introduce the person with greater status first like For example, “Mrs. CEO, I’d like you to meet the mail guy, Ron.”
  • During a work meeting with your boss, don’t use your phone. Respect him.
  • The proper way to use your personal cell phone at work is to keep it on silent. You can always callback on your break and after office hours.
  •  It’s OK (and even advisable) to follow your boss on Twitter & Linkedin, but you shouldn’t try to befriend him or her on Facebook. Friends imply equivalency; followers, not so.

Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do. Potter Stewart

Travel Ethics

  • Be considerate towards fellow passengers. Recline your seat carefully that the person behind you doesn’t have any problems.
  • If you’re using earphones, make sure you keep the volume low so passengers next to you are not disturbed.
  • Try to avoid talking on the phone so passengers next to you are not bothered.

Texting Ethics

  • An instant messaging and call tip is to ask whether now is a good time to talk. Respect others time.
  • Never use capitals while texting. It’s rude and impolite.
  • Work emails can be sent anytime, but business texts should be restricted to one hour before the start of the workday to two hours after it ends.

Social Ethics

  • Never sit pointing your feet towards any person (even if it’s your spouse). It is bad manners to have the sole of your feet facing any person.
  • Always keep your hands away from your feet when socializing. Never touch your feet while talking.
  • The rule about listening to music is never to be too loud. You may be on an earphone but the person next to you could be hearing it loudly too.
  • When talking to someone, remove sunglasses and earphones. Its considered rude to keep them on while talking.
  • Time for some hard truth. Always be on time.
  • Don’t keep flaunting how good you and your family are in everything you do. It doesn’t sound nice.

Party Ethics

  • A basic party ethic is to never go empty-handed. (Flowers, cake, dessert, or a small gift are good enough).
  • Compliment the chef. When someone invites you to a party or their place, never criticize the food quality. Even if you don’t like it, you don’t have to say it.
  • Don’t ask recipe of food while on the table. It could be restaurant food. Also not good manners to discuss ingredients while eating. If you want recipe, you can call up later and ask.
  • RSVP to party invitations promptly. Check the calendar, consult with family and respond. Don’t leave them hanging. If you can’t. Reply with a ‘No’. Not replying isn’t the same. It’s just rude.
  • When sending thankyou emails, send them separately not in C.C. Best notes are still the ones which are handwritten.
  • If you’re holding a party at your house, talk to the guests beforehand and ask them if they have any special dietary conditions like allergies. Plan your menu with respect to that.
  • When you call guests over, be prepared for them to ask recipe. Don’t be secretive and share it with them whether by a printout or an image texted.
  • Don’t ask guests to help with cleanup but if they offer, take it.
  • Use your hand to shield your lemon as you squeeze it into your iced tea so you don’t inadvertently squirt your dining companion in the eye.

Walking Ethics

  • Keep to the side of the sidewalk, and keep moving.
  • Don’t stop to text or check email, especially at a building entrance.
  • The general rule of walking on a road that doesn’t have a pavement is to walk facing oncoming traffic.
  • The one who can see oncoming traffic has to be facing it. The ones who can’t see oncoming traffic has to be on the inner side. These are safety ethics.

Freedom without rules doesn’t work. And communities do not work unless they are regulated by etiquette. Judith Martin

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Feedback Please

  • Which points did you most agree or disagree with?
  • Which point above do you think is the most important to consider?
  • What other ethics would you like to create awareness about?

I would love to hear from you. Comment on the article below. Thanks for being here.

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Nadiya Najib

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2 Comments

  1. Very nice article and it is totally true that we learn by example. Them all reminded me of my mother too, she used to teach so many from the list.

    1. Nadiya Najib says:

      Thanks a lot for your comment. So glad you were already aware of many of them. Wish all mothers taught their children these too. 🙂

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