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Why Manners Still Matter in the Modern Business World

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Good old-fashioned manners go a long way, both in your personal life and your professional life. In fact, they might even help you secure a new job.               

We all recognise that technology has irreversibly changed the way we communicate, with many people now preferring to send an email or a WhatsApp message rather than pick up the phone. While this certainly can help improve the timeliness of responses, it has also created an alternative language that can sometimes come across as too casual or even impolite.

Basic pleasantries can sometimes be forgotten, with text-speak now seeing us abbreviate, ignore rules of grammar and punctuation. This can result in a very casual, familiar style in our personal lives, but it’s important to note that it’s not appropriate for the office. It may sound obvious, but including a proper greeting and sign off is essential in any workplace communications.

Basic manners cost nothing but can go a long way towards leaving a good impression, extending your network and securing that next job. Here are some tips about keeping communication respectful and professional when applying for your dream role.

Before the Interview

As part of the application process, you will likely be required to write a cover letter and submit your resume. Remember that this is the first interaction you are having with this organisation, so you want to put your best foot forward.

Create a professional, tailored cover letter where you introduce yourself and tell the hiring manager why you are a good fit for the role. Make sure you address them respectfully and thank them for considering your application.

Also, ensure you respect the readers time by proofreading and spell-checking your documents, and of course, checking that you have their name and job title correct.

During the Interview

One of the best ways to demonstrate good manners is to listen actively during face-to-face interactions. Yes, it’s your time to shine, but it’s also important to show that you are interested in the recruitment panel, the team you would be working with and the organisation as a whole. Prepare a few questions for the end of the interview to gain broader insight into the role. Listen carefully to the responses and ask follow-up questions if appropriate.

Don’t forget to present yourself professionally, and greet the interviewer confidently by shaking their hands and looking them in the eye. Thank them for their time at the end of the interview and tell them how interested you are in working with them in the future.

Make sure you don’t speak negatively about any organisation or managers you have worked with in the past. Insults or defamatory language will reflect badly on you and may raise a red flag for the interviewers.

After the Interview

A follow-up email or LinkedIn message after the interview can help you stand out from the crowd. Not only are you demonstrating good manners, but also keeping front of mind with the interview panel. You can also use this as an opportunity to send through any additional questions you may have about the role.

If you are not successful with the job, it is always worth getting in touch with the interviewers (or your recruiter) and seeking feedback on your performance. This shows that you want to improve your interview technique and also continues your professional engagement with that company.

On the Job

If you’re lucky enough to be offered the job, it’s important to keep manners front of mind when you start the role. Offering compliments, thanking colleagues for their hard work and demonstrating gratitude are all ways to ingratiate yourself with your team. We all know how good it feels to receive positive feedback, and it takes so little effort to do it.

Nothing in the working world or life should be taken for granted, so a little appreciation goes a long way. Yes, you work hard and set out to achieve your goals, but being humble and showing gratitude for every opportunity makes the end result feel so much more worthwhile.


Can you think of a time when you’ve gone the extra mile to be courteous in your work environment? What was the result? I’d love to hear your thoughts. And if you’d to discuss the next step in your career, feel free to get in touch with me.

Thank you for reading! 

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