A filter is a beautiful thing. It’s what keeps us from saying whatever pops into our heads, and according to Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert who runs the Protocol School of Texas, it’s an especially valuable tool in the workplace. Gottsman recently spoke to Laurie Merrill of the Arizona Republic and shared seven “job-saving tips” everyone should learn. Many have to do with thinking before speaking. Read on and get the scoop on how best to conduct yourself in a professional manner.
1. Don’t Feel the Need to be Right — Sooner or later, everyone makes mistakes. When you drop the ball, you can either pass the buck and hope someone else takes the fall, or you can own up to it and move on. The latter is the smarter play. Rolling with the punches says all the right kinds of things about your character.
2. Don’t Try to One-Up Coworkers — To some extent, friendly competition is good for business. It spurs us to try harder to and reach for new goals. But when things get too cutthroat, no one wins. “Make every effort to congratulate a peer on a job well done and keep the conversation focused on their success,” Merrill writes.
3. Listen — At times, people will offer you advice or constructive criticism you don’t agree with. That’s OK — but you should still hear them out and even jot down a few notes. You might learn something.
4. Don’t Take On Too Much — Especially around the holidays, there’s a tendency among many people to say “yes” to too many projects. There’s the company coat drive and next month’s volunteer outing, and oh yeah, those cupcakes for the office party aren’t going to bake themselves. Choose only those projects you can realistically finish. “Say to the others, ‘I’m sorry, I’ve already committed to another project but it sounds like a wonderful outreach,'” Merrill writes.
5. Don’t Be a Know-It-All — Seriously. If you’re good at what you do, everyone will know you’re smart and capable. There’s no need to constantly prove yourself in conversation.
6. Stop the Gossip — In the world of office chatter, what goes around comes around. Today’s gossiper is tomorrow’s topic of water-cooler conversation. Instead of taking part, establish yourself as the silent, dependable type.
7. Keep It Clean — No matter how frustrated you get, fight the urge to curse. It’s not professional, and even if your supervisor swears like a sailor, it doesn’t mean you should, too.