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ProTip: Fixing a Communication Breakdown

Michelle Nitchie | Jul 11, 2017 9:04:00 AM

Failed Communication.pngOne of the most effective approaches is to take full responsibility for the lack of communication.  After all, it may well be that your question was unclear.  Why not give the other person the benefit of the doubt?  You might confess you don't remember whether she gave you the information you needed...or acknowledge that you may not have grasped her explanation.  Unless the person is being evasive, she'll be glad to comply.

- Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, Ph.D., and Wendy Patrick Mazzarella, Reading People

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Topics: Communication, Difficult Situations, Etiquette, Problem Resolution, Teamwork

ProTip: A Zero Tolerance, Rudeness-Free Zone

Michelle Nitchie | Sep 13, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Rude_Girl.pngRude employees are rude for a reason: you allow them to be.  It's not their fault—it's yours.  You hired wrong, you trained wrong, or you coached wrong.  Just as you must kill an aggressive cancer by nuking it with chemotherapy, you must eradicate rudeness by displaying a zero-tolerance attitude.  We don't care if an employee "makes his numbers" or excels at some other aspect of his job.  If he's rude, he has to go.  Fire him, and for good measure, encourage him to work for a competitor.

- Roy Barnes and Bob Kelleher, Customer Experience for Dummies

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Topics: HIring, Respect, Etiquette, Business Skills, Leadership and Management

ProTip: Try the Truth

Michelle Nitchie | Aug 23, 2016 9:00:00 AM

Try_the_Truth.pngA top executive in a public relations firm has a favorite saying for clients who are at a loss about what to reveal: "When all else fails, try the truth."  In business, as in life, telling the truth—no matter the short-term consequences—is far more beneficial than getting caught in a deception.  People are generally forgiving, almost to a fault.  But deceive them and they will remember it for a long, long time.  "Try the truth" applies to everyone in the workplace: the boss, the manager, the new employee, the client, the contractor.

- Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business

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Topics: Culture, Etiquette, Customer Service Skills, Difficult Situations, Business Skills

ProTip: Benefit or Burden?  Surprise or Strain?

Michelle Nitchie | May 24, 2016 9:04:00 AM

Lunch_Plate.jpgIn the beginning, I thought inviting people to lunch was a good idea.  Then at one of the lunches, I found out that an individual had worked the overnight shift, changed out of uniform, and caught a couple of hours of sleep prior to joining me for lunch.  This person didn't have enough time to go home and come back for our lunch, and didn't want to miss the opportunity to accept a lunch invitation from the CEO.  From that day forward, I knew that I had to have meals with staff members at rotating hours to fit into their schedules, not into mine.  Even to listen, you have to make yourself available to the logistic needs of others.

-Dr. David Feinberg, former CEO of the UCLA Hospital System, quoted in Prescription for Excellence

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Topics: Thanks and Appreciation, Business Skills, Etiquette, Demonstrating Consideration, Leadership and Management

ProTip: Your Home Office is Still an Office

Michelle Nitchie | Mar 1, 2016 9:04:00 AM

Home_Office.pngFor many home-based workers, the chief advantage of the home office is that it lets them achieve a more equitable balance between work and family.  The key word here is balance.  

Once of your most difficult tasks will be to convince loved ones that you really are working.  Even the most considerate family and friends may suffer from the common misconceptions about home-based work--you're available any time and you can drop whatever you are doing.  Make it clear that you are earning your livelihood, not indulging in a hobby.

- Emily Post's The Etiquette Advantage in Business

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Topics: Managing Stress, Culture, Job Satisfaction, Etiquette

Good Manners Matter, Especially in Hospitality

Jana Love | Nov 10, 2015 10:00:00 AM

I was raised to care deeply about the lessons my parents instilled in me in regards to manners. They were completely inflexible about my saying "please" and "thank you."  It was expected that I would address adults with terms such as "Yes, sir," "Yes, ma'am," and "Mr." and "Mrs."  My mother also taught me how to write a proper thank you note, and to this day, I will still write three paragraphs, just like she taught me. So why do I mention all of this? Where have manners gone?  In the hospitality industry, one would think manners matter and would get the focus it deserves with people serving people. Yet, still, we are unpleasantly surprised with the poor manners displayed around us in the service industry. 

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Topics: Customer Experience, Respect, Communication, Etiquette