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Mind Your Manners For a Good First Impression

Mind Your Manners For a Good First Impression

Denise Kersten, USATODAY.com

Thanks to home-office technology, you can now conduct business in your pajamas. “We don’t have to personally interact on a daily basis with our colleagues and clients as we once had to,” says Bobbi Marten, an etiquette consultant based in St. Louis, Mo.

But just because you can draft a proposal in your bathrobe, give a presentation while eating pizza or even wear a t-shirt to the office does not mean you should let your manners slide.

Etiquette is not dead.

“We’re not hermits,” Marten says. “We still live in a world that does interact. And in order to achieve any real success, you need a certain level of decorum and some basic guidelines.”

In fact, some say good manners are more important now than ever.

“People want to do something about the incivility or rudeness in the world around us,” says Peter Post, co-author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business and grandson of etiquette authority Emily Post. “Etiquette gives us a concrete way to model our actions so that we can do something about it.”

More than choosing the right fork or placing your napkin on the chair when getting up from the table, etiquette is a way of treating people with consideration, respect and honesty — something we should all strive for.

Good manners have the most impact when you’re meeting someone for the first time. A blunder early in the game can blind new contacts to your brilliant insights or expertise.

“It takes only three to five seconds to make a first impression, but it can take a whole career to undo it,” says Dana May Casperson, author of Power Etiquette: What You Don’t Know Can Kill Your Career. Here’s what you should keep in mind during those first fateful moments to make a positive impression at an interview, conference, party or any other time you meet new faces.