You're Not Too Cool for Etiquette
By: Marissa Reale, Vice President
Etiquette is defined as a set of unwritten rules that apply to social situations, professional workplaces and relationships. Many students may think they’re too young, not experienced enough or it’s outdated to uphold basic etiquette with peers or even in professional settings. Specifically, in public relations, everybody talks, so it is key to stay in good-standing. Although this is not an extensive list, it is a guaranteed great start.
From personal experience and my colleagues’ stories, more and more students lack these vital qualities. I believe it’s necessary to act as transparently and respectfully as possible, no matter who your audience is – other students, professors or employers. By following these helpful tips, you’re sure to impress your friends and interviewers while making an equally memorable impression.
Introduce yourself with your full name. For example, I’m Marissa, but Marissa who? Marissa Tomei? No, Marissa Reale. How will they know how to pronounce my name? How do they know what I go by? How will they connect with me on social or LinkedIn if they don’t know who to search for? Aside from those concerns, stating your first and last name appears more prepared.
Stand and shake hands firmly. Nothing is worse than a dead-fish handshake. It’s awkward and makes it look like you’re afraid to meet the other person half-way with their greeting. Be proud of who you are and represent yourself in a strong manner.
Say thank you. Say ‘thank you’ if you ask someone for help, and especially if they help make a connection for you that could lead to a job. If someone is willing to risk their credibility and recommend you for a position, thank them and update them if it resulted in employment. Don’t forget to send follow-up emails or written notes in a timely manner.
Don’t just talk to someone when you need If you do, they will feel used and frustrated by someone only asking for repeated favors. Email just to say ‘hi’ or plan to meet-up. Also, ask if they need help anything. More often than not, they will take you up on it. Nourish the professional relationship like you would a good friendship.
Be polite and pursue networking relationships. Our fellow students will be our fellow colleagues soon, so it is best to start networking as soon as possible. Seek out upperclassmen for guidance and advice. With professionals, don’t have the “one and done” mindset. Meet professionals numerous times and establish a working relationship. Like their updates on LinkedIn, or ask them to coffee.
These age-old tips will never go out of style. My last tip is to not guess. You never know what connection or conversation may lead to something. Opportunities arise in places you may least expect them to. Create a respectful environment and your personal brand will shine through to lead to long-lasting industry relationships and friendships.