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Workplace Etiquette: Be Your Best at Work

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Treating your colleagues with respect can gain you a winning edge and create a win-win situation for everyone at the office. Here are some basic rules of etiquette in the office and at office parties.

• Have respect for those around you, and show a keen interest in your position.

• Familiarize yourself with the protocols of your office.

• Personal problems should be kept out of the office. It's unprofessional to discuss such matters at work.

• Romantic liaisons at the workplace can become very sticky. Need I say more?

• Salaries should not be discussed with colleagues. If you are congratulated on a raise or promotion, your response requires only two words: Thank you!

• Be aware of your body language in social interactions. For example, turning a shoulder and speaking with your body at an angle may suggest Get away from me. Instead, face the other person and make eye contact, which says I'd like to get to know you.

• Greet visitors to your office while standing at the door or in front of your desk, never while seated behind it.

• For meetings or interviews, place two chairs in front of your desk: one for you and your guest. This method presents you both as equals.

• Remember the theory of mutual respect. If your visitor stands, you stand, etc.

• Be respectful and courteous at all times.

• Always ask before you borrow anything.

Office Party Etiquette

Don't be a wallflower. Make a point of talking to other people rather than waiting for them to come to you.

Do mingle with other employees, especially ones you don't know.

Don't drink too much. Less is more when it comes to alcohol and the office.

Do take small portions if at a buffet. You can always go back for seconds. Also, eat first, then mingle. This will cut down on possibly spilling food on your clothes and ruining your cocktail attire.

Do keep your drink in your left hand if possible. This way you don't have to transfer your drink when shaking hands, and you won't shock the other person with a cold hand.

Do remember to thank your boss when leaving the party and follow it up with a handwritten thank-you note. You can save a stamp by hand delivering it the next day.

Do dress in a presentable manner. It's better to be overdressed than to dress too casually. If you are unsure of what to wear, ask your boss ahead of time.

Don't show up for a party at 8 P.M. if the invitation reads 6 to 8 P.M. Arrive on the early side, as speeches generally take place early on and you don't want to miss being thanked by the boss for all your hard work!

Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the City & County of San Francisco and the founder of The AML Group (www.AMLGroup.com), certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Cornell University and Microsoft to Nordstrom, KPMG and Stanford Hospital. She has been quoted by The Sunday Times, InStyle Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today and the Los Angeles Times. She has appeared on various radio and television stations, such as ABC, CBS, and Fox News. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on www.Twitter.com/LisaGrotts and www.Facebook.com/LisaGrotts.