By Jul DeGeus
Some might argue that professionalism is one of the keys to success in the business world. Knowing the rules of business etiquette can set you apart from other employees, but one of the most commonly abused etiquette rules is the use of cell phones. While you should refer to your company’s rules and regulations for instruction regarding cell phone usage, these are some best practices:
Cellphone Volume and Ringer/ Ringtone
There’s nothing worse than sitting at your cubicle, working on a report in a silent office and having your phone ring. Anxiously, you bustle around through your personal items, quickly trying to hush it. You apologize for disturbing everyone and, red-faced, you get back to work hoping you won’t be made fun of later for your choice of ringtone. Two main rules of etiquette can be learned in this situation:
- Always remember to silence your phone- Make turning your phone to “silent mode” part of your morning routine to save you some shame. Breakfast, shower, brush your teeth, check your phone, grab coffee and head to work.
- Pick a professional ring/text tone- While you might know all the words to “Baby Got Back,” and even have a choreographed dance paired with it for special occasions, your ringtone reflects your professionalism. Keep it generic to keep it professional.
Also keep in mind that setting your phone to “vibrate” is not the same as “silencing” your phone. While it is harder for some to pick up the sounds, vibrations are audible, especially if sitting on a tabletop surface.
When and Where to Use Your Cell
Lunch time is the perfect time to take or make personal calls. Most lunches are “off the clock” which is the ideal time to make your calls. Just be aware of your surroundings and understand that in a cafeteria or restaurant setting, others have the opportunity to hear part or all of your conversation. A personal or secluded space, such as your car, will allow for more privacy.
Most companies allow you to use your phone on break, but take into consideration how long you use your phone. Generally, breaks are 15 minutes. If you exceed this time, it is likely that your boss will notice and could result in discipline.
It’s not the best idea to use your phone when in your cubicle. A neighbor can pop their head over the separator and gaze your screen or overhear a chat you are having. Additionally, you do not want to interrupt your peers’ concentration by carrying out a loud, disruptive dialogue.
People often use restrooms to have conversation on their phone. While this seems private, voices can carry through the buildings ventilation system. Not to mention, if your office shares a single or limited number of stalls, you could be holding up someone who needs to use the restroom.
There’s always an exception to the rule and when it comes to cell phones, emergencies are the exception. If there is some sort of emergency that causes your phone to ‘blow up,’ communicate this with your boss so they are aware of why you are on your phone.
Say you are in a meeting and someone vaguely refers to information you know you have access to via your cell phone. In situations like this, it’s ok to use your phone to access the information, so long as you announce that that is what you are doing. Something as simple as, “I’ll get those exact numbers for you,” or, “I have that email, let me pull it up,” will let everyone in the meeting know you are using your phone to enhance the meeting, rather than ignore it.
When interacting with people, give them your full attention. Try not to use your phone as a timepiece and avoid your smart watch; if you spend too much time looking at your smart watch, people will assume you are checking a text message and ignoring them. Finally, as sneaky as you may be, don’t read text messages under the table, behind a coffee cup or in back of portfolio or clip board.
By Esperanza Poquiz
Some of us find interviews a little nerve-racking while others may be cool, calm and collected. Preparing for the interview process can ease stress. Whether you are a pro or amateur, keep these tips in the forefront of your mind when going to your next interview.
We’ve all heard that making a great first impression is important. A survey showed that 66 out of 2,000 hiring managers knew in 90 seconds if they would hire the job candidate. Ensure that your appearance gives the hiring manager a great first impression by:
- Having a firm handshake and great posture
- Wearing more neutral colors like: black, gray, navy blue and white
- Communicating with proper vocabulary and grammar
Having confidence in yourself definitely shows in an interview. Emitting confidence lets the hiring manager see that you know what you want and you take initiative. Radiate confidence through:
- Voice projection; don’t mumble
- Eye contact
- Body language: don’t fidget, play with your hair, touch your face or cross your hands over your chest
- Hand gestures, but keep them to a minimum
- Enthusiasm; Let your personality shine and show warmth
Know Who You Applied For
Before going in your interview be sure to do the following:
- Research the company and get general information
- Have a specific position in mind and learn the requirements of the position you seek
- Come prepared with questions based on the company
- Know the company’s mission statement and what is important to them
- Have a generic answer about why you lost or left your last job
- Don’t put down previous positions, employers or peers
- Don’t focus on pay, schedule or benefits in the initial interview
- Ask relevant questions
Be sure to keep these suggestions in mind for you next interview. You can also ask family and friends for help through mock interviews. Good luck!
Source: Library of Congress.
What Happened on the 4th of July
Americans observe the 4th of July to commemorate the birth of our nation. With fireworks, cookouts, and garments consisting of red, white and blue, it’s a day that we all come together as a nation and celebrate with pride. In 1776, it was the day that the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was adopted and America’s 13 colonies officially declared their independence from Great Britain. With Thomas Jefferson as the main author, the Declaration of Independence’s contributors included: John Adams, Ben Franklin, Robert R. Livingston, and Roger Sherman. It was later signed by all members of Congress on August 2, 1776.
How it All Began
By 1774, the first settled colonies grew tired of Britain’s tight control and high taxes. They felt that they were being unjustly taxed and didn’t have any representation in the British parliament. They expressed their unrest by staging rebellions, such as the Boston Tea Party in December of 1773. The colonies formed the First Continental Congress on September 5, 1774, in order to come up with solutions that would convince Great Britain to recognize their rights. They were unsuccessful and Britain’s King George III continued to tax the settlers. This led to great discontent and eventually, the Revolutionary War.
The Revolutionary War
By 1775, Tensions between some of the colonists and Great Britain reached their boiling point. Rebellions and restlessness grew rampant and movement towards a revolution was rapidly gaining speed. Colonists wanted to take action and started by rallying troops and collecting supplies. When it was made clear that King George III had no intentions of making compromises, the support for the revolution increased. On April 19, 1775, the Revolutionary War began in the towns of Lexington and Concord Massachusetts. British soldiers and Minutemen, the colonists’ militia, exchanged gunfire in what is known as the “shot heard around the world”. George Washington was elected Commander of the American patriotic forces by the Second Continental Congress on May 10, 1775.
Even though the Revolutionary War continued on until 1783, America was eventually able to gain its independence from Great Britain. It would not have been possible if the Declaration of Independence was not finalized and adopted on our Independence Day, July 4, 1776. By declaring themselves as an independent nation through the Declaration, the 13 colonies were able to form an alliance with France, which ultimately led to Great Britain’s surrender to America in Yorktown, Virginia in 1781. Later in 1783, a final peace treaty was signed in Paris, putting a final end to the Revolutionary War.