Marketing Consultant


Have you ever wondered why some people appear more impressive than the others There are number of “corporate training programs that talks about.… why does one person who looks ‘smart’ get a better job than an equally qualified person who lacks courtesy or is less courteous?

Civility entails a lot more than we can imagine. It helps us get a fantastic job or lack of it can result in huge opportunity lost. There is lot more to it than simply being polite. Being gracious is simply the first step. It is about thinking, feeling and behaving consistently with respect; handling conflicts with poise and being able to create win-win situations by demonstrating proper conduct.

There is so much competition today that we forget our basic manners and want to become a part of the grind by hook or by crook. The ground reality is that people do not want candidates for a job who simply know their subject well; they want people who know their subject and know how to conduct themselves well.

Corporates are on the lookout for people who can all collaborate to win, people who can perform and outperform, people who are outgoing, presentable and trustworthy.

Will you trust a person who is under-confident or does not like interacting with people and is fantastic in what he does; or will you hire a person who does a job well and is smart, confident and outgoing?

To create a civil and a cordial workplace where things run smoothly, hirers look for candidates that can create that kind of a workplace.

Before we plunge into the nuances of best practices of corporate behaviour, let us see what your “Courtesy Quotient” or CQ is and how you can dramatically improve your chances of getting your dream job by altering the way you carry yourself.

So wear your seatbelt and brace yourself for the adventures of exploring within yourself.

Learning Activity 1: Find Your CQ!Tick the answer that seems the most appropriate in each of the situations. If you think more than one response to be correct then choose the one that you like a tad better.

This test addresses interpersonal issues, basic courtesy and your ability to handle these issues. There are no rules or right or wrong answers, you simply have to go by what you do or how will behave if such situations were to arise.

1.  You are on the phone with someone and another call comes in. You:

  1. Put the person you are talking to on hold and receive the other person’s call.
  2. Let the second call go on voicemail and continue talking.
  3. Hang up the first call hastily and take the second one.

2.   You are talking to a friend on phone and put the phone on speakerphone. There is a colleague who walks into the room. You:

  1. Don’t tell your friend either about the other person or the speakerphone.
  2. Tell your friend that you need to put him/her on speakerphone and also inform them that a colleague is in the room.
  3. Mention the speakerphone but not the colleague.

3.   A conflict at workplace resulted in an exchange of harsh mails with an unreasonable colleague. The situation now seems to be slipping out of control. You:

  1. Discontinue the exchange of emails and wait for the situation to ease up.
  2. Write one last response that summarises the entire situation and how that person’s behaviour has upset you You ensure that you cc the mail to the colleague’s immediate boss.
  3. Pick up phone to fix an appointment with this colleague to resolve the issue..

4.  You are giving a presentation and one person in the audience purses her lips and sits with her arms crossed firmly in front of her. You:

  1. Make an attempt to make her interact.
  2. Stop the session and ask her directly what is wrong.
  3. Probe the person to understand what is wrong and take corrective measures till she seems satisfied.

5.  You are presenting a very important and serious topic, questions will hamper the flow and you fear missing out on significant information. You:

  1. Flatly refuse the first question to send a clear message to the rest of the attendees.
  2. Let the audience know that you will address all the questions at the end so that you can share everything important and not miss out.
  3. Address the issues and questions as they come even if you are uncomfortable.

6.  If you get acquainted with a person who is an extravert, you:

  1. Make an effort to mirror it.
  2. Should not match it, it is way beyond your comfort zone.

7.  If you meet an introvert, you:

  1. Should make an attempt to match his behaviour.
  2. Should not match it.

8.  When there are people all around you, like in the elevator or public transport, it is acceptable to use your mobile phone:

  1. To talk about personal matters, you don’t know the people around.
  2. To catch up with friends so that you don’t waste time at office or home.
  3. To make brief conversations, which are not confidential.

9.   What would you do if a person of the opposite gender reaches a door at the same time as you do?

  1. The one who reaches first opens ad holds the door for the ones who follow.
  2. A lady should open the door to support women empowerment.
  3. No matter what the gender one must open and hold the door for people whose hands are full.

10.  If you are closest to the door in the elevator, and there is a senior person behind you, you should:  

  1. Let the elderly person get out first and you step aside to show him respect.
  2. Walk out first since you are the closest to the door.

11.  In a formal email, you would:

  1. Address the recipient with a courtesy title like Dr., Mr, Ms. etc.
  2. Not address a person using a courtesy title.

12.  When going for a business lunch,

  1. Everybody contributes to pay the bill.
  2. You will pay if you are with a client.
  3. The host or the one who invited the others pays the bill.

13.  You are in a meeting and you notice ketchup on the meeting leader’s shirt, you:

  1. Just let it go because there is no use telling him now.
  2. Let him know because the meeting has not begun yet and he can still clean it.
  3. Request his friend, who is also in the meeting to let him know as he might get uncomfortable sharing it with you.

14.  Your colleague was on the phone with a client and you heard him speak rudely to that client. You:

  1. Wait for the call to end and then let your colleague know that his behaviour cannot be tolerated.
  2. Let his boss know his behaviour.
  3. Value your colleague’s space and not say anything.

15.  You have organised an official meeting and there are a few people who don’t get along well, you:

  1. Ensure that people who get along well sit with each other
  2. Ensure that the seating arrangement is such that there is a chance for open dialogue and people can work towards resolving issues.
  3. Let everyone be and behave as if nothing has happened.


1 b
2 b
3 c
4 a , c
5 b
6 b
7 a
8 c
9 a
10 a
11 a
12 c
13 c
14 c
15 b

Interpreting Your Score

12-15 Correct Responses:  Fantastic! You have a very good understanding of etiquette and you will be quite successful in conducting yourself at workplace. You have an amazing attitude of getting along well with people, you are sincere enough to manage team conflicts and manage confronting situations. So, in order to keep yourself on the track of being a star performer you ought to keep revising the nuances of business etiquette in order to feel more confident, cherished, respected, honoured and acknowledged.

8-11 Correct Responses: Very good. You can conduct yourself well and are generally well liked by peers and colleagues. But you still need to fine tune your business etiquette concepts in order to bridge the gap that will lead to excellence. Try to be a little calmer while handling confrontations, try to listen more and develop a better understanding towards others. Believe me, if you take care of the courtesy nitty-gritty, you will, in no time, see yourself at the zenith.

Below 8 Correct Responses:  Oh! It’s an urgent call of the hour to awaken right now. It is high time that you enhance your skills on business etiquette. Remember the proverb “A man is known by his dress and address”. It is how you interact with people that determines your bounding with others. Believe me, friend, in today’s world, it is survival of the fittest. So, in order to beat the competition you need to read understand meditate digest and apply the learning discussed in this book.

Trivia on Corporate Etiquette

Research indicates that:

The things that you are expected to do at workplace in India:

  • Always be punctual.
  • When using the landline or the office phone, always identify yourself.
  • Make it a point to greet each other with a hello and a smile.
  • Knock, knock, knock- respect privacy of all your colleagues.
  • Keep your cell phone off in the office to save time.
  • Donot shout in the office, speak softly but do not whisper (that’s not good manners!)
  • Donot take calls where people are disturbed.
  • Please and thank you go a long way in building great relationships.

To create a civil environment and to keep the workplace generally positive, every employee must follow these basic expectations and make courtesy a part of their lives rather than a mere formality.

My Current Reality!

If you are still in college or school and want to prepare yourself for a bright future, I commend your efforts. But if you have already spent a good two decades on education, you need to be applauded! You are suddenly in the thick of situations with people, tasks, and most importantly you are beginning to understand yourself as a professional.

Before you begin to handle other people and manage your tasks, you need to work towards knowing yourself. Changing others will work only if you are willing to change yourself.

Ask yourself- “Am I willing to change?”

The answer lies within you and you alone.

An Experiment with Yourself

Take a family member’s watch and wear it on your wrist for at least 8 hours.

Was it easy or difficult?

How do you feel?

It is not easy at first, but gradually you feel ok, isn’t it?

Change is not easy. But if it was easy, we would not need help.

A wrist-watch is just a small thing in our lives, yet we find it so difficult to get out of our comfort zone and use someone else’s watch.

That is exactly what we need to do in our lives. The corporate world is not a scary place but it is the beginning to a new life. All you need to do is to step out of your comfort zone and explore new territories.

Getting To Know Other People

Consider this… Karan is popular with everybody in the office. He dresses smartly, flashes a smile all the time, you will never see him sad or morbid. On the other hand, we have Kamal who is broody, does not wish anyone, doesn’t dress well and sometimes smells of onions after lunch.

Who would you like to be friends with?

Who would you want to be like and why?

It is important to build strong professional relationships at workplace to succeed through collaboration. That is possible only by following certain principles and making them a way of your life.

Following things need to be kept in mind if we want to be liked by people at work:

  • Always smile when you make eye contact with another person.
  • Don’t crib or complain too much all the time. You don’t want to be perceived as a cribber. Never indulge in office gossip and politics. Remember, “If someone is talking toyou about someone, then one day he will talk about you to
  • Being proactive is appreciated everywhere. People notice employees who take initiatives.
  • Use humour judiciously. Humour can turn a workplace into a lively, dynamic and a vibrant place to work. But there is a disclaimer attached with humour. It should be used without offending people. The intention is to make fun at workplace not fun of other people.
  • Do not join any one group in office right in the beginning. Socialise and mingle with various people first, understand every one of them before making a judgement.