The journey of Savior Faire Academie commenced with former Miss India Elegance Konkana Bakshi, who established Savoir Faire Academie in 2013 where there is a variety of corporate and social etiquette workshops to teach us how to master the art of being extraordinary. In this exclusive fortnightly column, she would be sharing invaluable tips on social and corporate etiquettes so you can put your best foot forward!!
Corporate etiquette embraces inter-personal relationships!
In today's world of Business, etiquette and workplace civility is mandatory. India is emerging as a global power, collaborating with International super brands and doing business worldwide. The art of building professional relationships therefore is a quality that corporate houses look for. Today, it's not about getting your work done on a desk computer; it's also about networking with people from different cultures because a genuine connection plays a part in the firm's professional success. How does one build connections? For example, find out who's on the guest list of the professional gathering you are attending, do research and initiate a friendly exchange. Here, I would like cite examples of business leaders like Anand Mahindra, Uday Kotak or Niraj Bajaj — their body language, communication skills, and poise is a force to reckon with! Following the conversation, exchange business cards and follow up with a call or e-mail. As the adage goes, "your network decides on your net worth."
Why corporate etiquette is important in the global workplace!
The mastery of professional skill sets isn't the only thing that will bolster your career graph. The confidence that stems from excellent communication skills, strong body language and the ability to build professional relationships — not only with colleagues but also with business associates outside the firm — will spell success. Be it a job interview or a presentation to an investor, the impression you make will is directly proportionate to the results. How does one ace it? I'll share an example. In a New York Times article, Jessica Wapner writes: "It’s not just what we say that matters but how we say it."
Business attire for women in the global corporate workplace!
Invest in your professional image. Twinset and sharply cut suits in neutrals make an impression. Opt for one in maroon or olive for occasions. If a sleeveless top or dress is fine in your corporate culture, keep a lightweight jacket handy to amp up your look in the event of a client meeting. These are also great workplace staples in case the air conditioning is set to 'full blast.' Don't neglect beauty rituals. Hair plays an important role in your image! It should be impeccably styled sans loud highlights or color. So visiting a good salon each fortnight is a good idea. Also, no open toed shoes or high heels! Instead choose traditional pumps or sling back with a low heel. PS Unless it IS a piercing that is under wraps during business hours, such as a belly button ring, these are frowned upon. As are tattoos. If you manage investments or high-powered meetings with clients and you have tattoos on your arm or at the base of your neck, it may make clients uncomfortable and difficult to embrace their trust.
Corporate etiquette for the younger generation
I think the younger generation in today's corporate culture is a little relaxed when it comes to etiquette and protocol. But, a lot depends with whom you are dealing, so many startups don't follow a rigid protocol but are doing good business nevertheless. Yet, they pay attention to finesse and present the best version of themselves at the right occasion. Even Mark Zukerburg wore a suit with a red tie when he met Obama! The new generation is aware of the do's and dont's and they are more avant-garde in their approach!!
Business etiquette must factor into online interactions!
During a meeting, your visual impact plays 90 per cent towards making an impression. In social media, however, you are not visible. So 10 per cent communication skill goes all the way up to 100 per cent. Choose your words, imagery and tone carefully. When you are writing a professional e-mail, write elegantly in an impersonal tone. Lines written in red with bold fonts are absolutely rude!! PS give your email a strong finish with a signature line. An email signature is important as it is the only tool to inform people about yourself and your business—without going into detail. While you must be concise add in one or two relevant social media links. PS just be careful that you do not post anything on social media that you would not wish a future employer to see!!
The etiquette to avoid office cliques
Squabbles, gossip and rumours, offensive comments — sooner or later you are likely to find yourself at odds with coworkers or dragged into others' quarrels. Drawing on social skills will help defuse tense situations and demonstrate your strength as a team player Stick to the subject, keep it non personal, be open to compromise.
The behaviour and dress code for a corporate interview
A job interview requires careful preparation. That aside, good manners count. Verbalise your appreciation for the interviewer's time, in person and with a follow-up hand-written note in the mail the following day. Opt for elegant fold over cards that work for all occasions. These etiquettes, while often overlooked, have tremendous power to set you apart from the cutthroat competition.
Don't be quick to let your hair down with coworkers. In a relaxed atmosphere, tongues are loose and defences drop. Even if you're out with the girls, someone is always looking. And a conversation off-premises may not stay off the record. It's not necessary to shun alcohol, just pace yourself. Having a shot of B52 is not a good idea!! Socialise, build relationships. post-work cocktails provides a great chance for colleagues and clients to meet in a relaxed ambience. So keep your wits about you and use the opportunity wisely! PS The day after post-work cocktails, an appreciation email is a great way to strengthen your relationship with colleagues.