One of the most important, if not the most important factor in determining the chances of success in any business or professional activity is the ability to behave properly with people. Even in the early 1930s, Dale Carnegie observed that the success of a man in his financial affairs, even in the technical field or engineering are fifteen per cent dependent on his professional knowledge and eighty-five per cent on his ability to communicate with people. In this context, it is easy to explain the attempts of many researchers to formulate and justify the basic principles of ethical business communication or, as they are often called, the commandments of personal public relation or “business etiquette”. Business etiquette or the process of survival and succeeding in the business world could be explained in the following six basic principles:
- Punctuality (do everything on time). Delays affect the work and are a sign that a person cannot be relied upon. The principle to do everything on time applies to all service tasks. Experts studying the organization and distribution of working time recommend adding an extra 25 percent to the period that is required to perform the assigned task.
- Privacy (do not reveal too much). In many institutions, corporations, or particular deals some secrets should be kept as carefully as ones of a personal nature. There is also no need to recount anyone heard from a colleague, supervisor or subordinate about his or her performance or personal life.
- Courtesy, friendliness and affability. In any situation, it is necessary to behave politely, kindly and benevolent with customers, clients, customers and co-workers. This, however, does not require being friends with everyone whom you communicate in a work setting.
- Attention to people (think of others, and not only of yourself). Attention to the people surrounding you should be extended to colleagues, superiors and subordinates. Respect the opinions of others; try to understand why they have formed a particular point of view. Always listen to criticism and advice of colleagues, superiors and subordinates. When someone questions the quality of your work, show that you value the views and experiences of other people. Confidence should not prevent you to be modest.
- Appearance (dress as expected). The main approach is to fit in your environment at work, and within that environment – in your level of contingent workers. You should look the best way, which is to dress with taste, choosing matching colours. Carefully choosing accessories is important.
- Literacy (speak and write good language). Internal documents or letters to outside agencies should be composed paying attention to the proper language used, and all proper names transferred without errors. Do not use abusive words. Even if you only quote the words of another person around, they will be perceived as part of your vocabulary.