Posts Tagged ‘etiquette’
Many times we are asked how to send greeting cards or invitations to someone who may be living somewhere other than their main address. The term “c/o” comes in handy in these instances. This familiar collection of letters is short for in “care of”. It lets the post office know that the address is correct and that you know that person is not the main recipient at that particular street address.
It comes in handy when sending mail to someone who may be visiting someone else. You are sending their mail “in care of” another person’s address. For example, this is how you would address an envelope to Mary Smith when she is visiting Jane Doe.
You can use this also when you are sending correspondence to someone at their office address. Here is an example:
Mr. John Doe
And always include your return address on any letters or cards mailed so the post office can easily return them to you if they need to for any reason.
Are you planning to be out of the office? Whether for business or on a personal vacation, it is considered proper etiquette to let those trying to get in touch with you know that you are away. There are a number of methods for handling this. Here are some tips:
Automate. Activate an automatic out of office message on your computer and on your phone. This may annoy some but will be appreciated by those that need your help. An automatic response is better than having an email or voicemail sit in your in-box until your return. You wouldn’t want the sender to feel they were being ignored. Point them to someone who can help if they can’t wait for your return.
Date of Return. When drafting your message, put your Date of Return and even a time of day if what you are responsible for is time critical. Let everyone know when you will be back at your desk and leave contact information for someone who can help in your absence. Be sure and indicate the date you will be back at your desk and ready to accept and return calls or messages. It may be confusing if you say something like, “I will return next Wednesday”. State the actual day and date of your return.
Security. It is also unsafe to put too many details in your away message, especially if you are traveling and will be away from home. In this electronic age it would not be difficult for someone to identify your home address. Your message, for example, should not say you are out of the country. It should simply state that you are out of the office and give a day and date for your return, noting the contact information for someone who can assist them in your absence. Even if you are traveling on business, it is better not to suggest that you are out of town.
Professionalism. Keep your message professional. It is improper to say where you are going and/or with whom. No one wants to hear you are on a sandy beach in Mexico enjoying a drink with an umbrella in it while they are at their desk desperately trying to get a question answered! Stating that you are “out of the office” is all they really need to know. If you want, you can let them know you are out of the office on business but it isn’t really necessary.
Humourless. You may be tempted to leave a funny away message, but don’t. You never know what may hit your inbox while you are away. Your close working associates or business partners may know your sense of humor but others may not. A funny message is good for a laugh, but will not project professionalism in the workplace.
Somewhat out of office. Perhaps you are out but may be available to respond to messages. If you are planning to check your messages remotely, say that on your out of office messages. Maybe you will check messages in the morning and evening. If that is the case, the person trying to reach you may rather wait for a return message from you than deal with your temporary replacement.
Exceptions. Depending on your computer software, it may be possible to state exceptions to your out of office message so that you do not respond automatically to certain people, groups or internet addresses. Automatic emails you receive do not necessary need a response and probably shouldn’t be receiving one. It is also possible to have an out of office message bounce once to a recipient instead of very time they send an email to you. When setting up your away messages, make them as easy to understand as possible.
Physical notice. Consider leaving a physical away message prominently displayed on your desk at work. Co-workers may just think you’re on break or at lunch and leave something important that requires attention, not realizing that you may not see it anytime soon. Leave a sign or something that reminds others you are not in the office and indicate on it when you will be returning. Suggest that the person covering for you in your absence check your desk daily, handling your incoming physical mail including all your business greeting cards.
Return reminder. We’ve all done it; forgotten to put everything back to normal when returning to work. Put a sticky on your phone to remind you to disengage the automatic out of office email and reinstate your normal voice mail message when you return. It is easy to return to your desk and begin catching up, forgetting to change your away messages.
The best advice is to treat others as you would want to be treated. If you sent an email to someone and they were unavailable for days, weeks or longer, what direction would you need from them in order for you to easily continue to carry on your business?
I would like to politely remind everyone that this is National Etiquette Week. I know, I know! I didn’t realize it was this week either but for the past 13 years the second week in May has been officially proclaimed National Etiquette Week. We are encouraged to refresh our memories when it comes to the rules of etiquette and protocol. For a quick update on a few points of business etiquette that would make Emily Post proud, consider these:
Introductions. Introduce yourself and those around you to each other. Extend a hand for a firm handshake and look them in the eye while expressing a genuine greeting.
Appearance. It is always best to dress to impress but don’t overdo it. A conservative approach is often best if the proper attire for an event is unknown. Always, always bath and wear clean clothes in good repair. As mom might say, “Comb your hair, wash your face and brush your teeth”.
Meetings. Be on time and come prepared. Turn your cell phone off. Know the meeting agenda and be ready to contribute. Make eye contact and warmly greet everyone in the room. Stay positive.
Communication. Return phone calls or emails as soon as possible even if only to acknowledge the call for a future follow-up. When placing a call, state your name before asking to speak to someone. When leaving a voice mail message, leave your return phone number even if you know they already have it. Keep the message brief. If on speakerphone or a 3-way call, make sure the person at the other end is aware.
General. Please and thank you never goes out of style. Don’t chew gum or wear overpowering perfume or aftershave. Keep conversation mainstream by discussing the weather, current sporting events or movies. Never ever bring up politics, religion or gossip.
Please practice these simple but valuable rules of business etiquette and you and your business are sure to reap benefits. Thank you!
No doubt many of us will be gifted with presents that will be returned the day after, but remember to be gracious in your acceptance. Hand written Thank You Cards sent as a follow-up will show you know a bit about proper etiquette.
‘Tis the season to express thanks for family, friends and all of the good things you have in life, even if you would have rather received a Snuggie for your dog this year!
I used to believe that if you handed someone a present, a greeting card to go with it was not necessarily required. After all, they would certainly already know who had given them the gift. Same thing if the gift was mailed. The return address should be enough of a hint to let the recipient know where the gift came from. However, I have come to learn that a card included with a gift is much more than just an indicator of who gifted them!
Greeting cards selected with the recipients in mind add the finishing touches to a graciously given present. A lovely message along with your signature is a very personal statement that can often say more than the present alone. These cards can are displayed for all to see and often remain as valued keepsakes.
Haven’t you been to celebrations where cards were opened and passed around for all to see? I have to admit that I’ve given gifts that were quickly set aside with the accompanying cards taking center stage instead. Everyone enjoys the funny ones and smiles warmly while ready the sentimental messages in others.
I’d have to say also that sometimes the younger generation would much rather get just a card as a present. Of course, they are hoping there is something of monetary value enclosed as well!
So, what do you think? Are greeting cards an added plus when it comes to gift giving? I’d like to think so but let me know your thoughts!
My daughter’s high school graduation class had 1,200 graduates in it. It took 2 full hours for them all to march across the stage and receive their diplomas. This year there was a change in venue. Graduation was moved to the Dallas Convention Center and it was impossible to hold every family member and guest who might have wanted to attend the big event. And so, each graduate was allotted 6 tickets.
Frantic phone calls began the minute this plan was announced. There was a mad rush to secure extra tickets for aunts, uncles, cousins, family friends and everyone who wanted to come and join in the celebration. I’m told some students were even selling their tickets if they had extra ones on hand, but I can’t confirm that!
I was approached by many, asking if I had any extras. As it turned out, I did have extra tickets to give to those in need and was happy to accommodate them. What surprised me though was the lovely Thank You Card I received following graduation day from one of those I shared a ticket with. With out of town guests to entertain along with all the hoopla that goes with graduation, how this lovely lady managed to find the time to write and mail a thank you card for my unused ticket was a delightful surprise.
So folks, do you remember to send Thank You Cards when a nice gesture of appreciation is called for?
My daughter recently graduated from high school, hooray! She proudly sent graduation invitations to many friends and family members, not fully realizing the many well wishes that would soon come her way. The truly exceptional remembrances came from those not even on her send list. Those unexpected congratulations were a true delight.
What impressed me though was her unprompted sending of thank you cards! What a proud mom I was when I noticed her writing thank yous before I even had a chance to suggest it. Of course, at an early age she was taught to write thank you cards for birthday and Christmas presents, often with constant reminding, but I was pleased to see she, on her own, realized that graduation presents called for this same courtesy.
How about you? Do you and your children send thank you cards? A thank you doesn’t have to be just for gifts received. Thank you cards are great whenever a show of appreciation is called for. Set a good example and remember those deserving with a thoughtful greeting. It will bring a smile to you and to the lucky recipient as well as set a great example for your children!