Notes from Excellence in Etiquette by Lydia Ramsey, Staff Day Keynote

Positive first impressions
Getting introduced and introductions
Telephone courtesy
Professional dress
Office etiquette
Dealing with difficult people

What does business etiquette mean?
Why does it matter?
How do you think practicing business manner will affect the library system and your job?

First Impressions
You only have one chance to make a first impression, you have 5-7 seconds to make a first impression when they are visual and one on one
55% of judgment is based on appearance, 45% on what you hear, 38% of that is tone, only 7% is what they are saying

Ramsey’s rule of 12 for making a powerful first impression
The first 12 words – share some form of appreciation, and the person’s name
First 12 steps – the energy you show when you move
First 12 inches – from your shoulder to the top of your head, expression, grooming, women should wear make up, jewelry,
Last 12 inches – shoes, no toes in business world, shoes should be polished & well-maintained, pants should hit the top of the shoe, top of the foot, shirts should be not too short but not too long, knee-length, no long flowing skirts, no mini skirts, mens socks should match your pants, stockings – if a woman is wearing a skirt, she needs to be wearing stockings, no tattoos,
Jackets make a huge difference

Limp handshake is awkward and awful
two handed only from religious leaders
People are offended if you don’t shake hands, ok to say you have cold and decline but otherwise need to,
Don’t shake hands when eating
Should library worker offer hand to patron? Situation specific,
Women should shake hands the same way men do in the business world, need to stand,
Always be ready to shake hands, if you’re going into meeting don’t carry things in your right hand

Introducing yourself
To people you don’t know
To people you do know – if you haven’t seen them in a while, if you don’t remember someones name that’s their cue to introduce themselves

Introducing other people
You always introduce the junior person to the senior person
Say name of senior person, then I’d like to introduce junior person

Business card
Carry lots of them, do not run out
Have them accessible and know where they are, put them in you pocket if you have them
Have a system for where you put cards you accept
Cards should be in good condition
Hand them to people so that they are able to read them, correct direction
When someone hands you a card you should take it look at it and make some sort of comment about

The secret to remember names
Book – “How to remember every name every time “
Focus on the person we being introduced to
Ask – repeat the name
Comment – association
Employ, use the name when you’re speaking with the person

Telephone courtesy
No one likes to be put on hold
People will hold happily for 30 seconds
Transferring calls – never transfer without knowing the person you are transferring to is in and can help the caller
Stay on the line and introduce the caller to the person if you can

Voicemail greetings – personal
Leaving voicemail – say your name and number slowly, leave a message indicating the
Say your name and number at the beginning and at the end
Reason for your call

Cell phones, blackberries and other phone devices – don’t use them at all, even in presentations
Multi-tasking – people want to have your fill attention, no eating,

Your business attire
Depends on industry
Depends on your job
Your geographic region

What your client expects to see
Men should always wear jackets or a sweater, long sleeves, ties
Women need sleeves

Maintaining healthy relationships with colleagues and clients
Engage in polite conversation
Know their likes and dislikes
Respect boundaries
Be kind and helpful

Dealing with difficult people without becoming one yourself
Taking the heat
Hear – let person talk, don’t interrupt
Apologize – even if you aren’t wrong
Tell the what you’ll do to make it right,

8 thoughts on “Notes from Excellence in Etiquette by Lydia Ramsey, Staff Day Keynote

  1. Oh my – “women should wear make up, jewelry” I have never worn either, except a watch, in my more than fifty years and I'm not starting now. I won't be wearing high heels, either.


  2. This seems to be a mixture of sound advice and a pastiche of something from the 50s. Women should wear make-up, really? And jewelry? I take it the men can't do either of those? Doesn't allow for some people to express themselves, and uncomfortable people are harder to do business with. Plus the whole thing seems either retroactive or better suited to a more self-important industry like finance or law. The informality of communication in the 21st century is largely a good thing, in my (not overly) humble opinion…Do you agree with all that stuff Bobbi? (You might not want to say whether you do of course, which is cool.)


    1. Ah sorry, just spotted your reply to the other comment – there's a weird thing going on with either my screen or your CSS and the text is black on black! So I missed the other comments. Ignore me!


  3. Bobbi, one correction that might alleviate some people's pain. While I do feel that a woman should wear makeup in the workplace, I do not think it needs to be anything more than lip color or blush. It is important to make the effort to look nice for others. As for jewelry, it is not necessary to wear jewelry in the workplace. My comment was that people will notice your jewelry so it should be workplace appropriate.


    1. Surely, though, whether people look nice with lip colour is both subjective to the beholder and dependent on the individual wearing the make-up? My wife is absolutely beautiful and she certainly looks better without lip-colour.


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