Below is Part 1 of an article I penned for the July/August edition of NSide Texas Business Magazine:

Watchful Eye

THREE OF US were arriving for a proposal presentation in midtown Manhattan. Two of us calmly stepped out of the taxi when the front seat passenger erupted into an angry argument over the fare. We offered to pay the full fare, end the situation diplomatically and quietly continue inside. Our team member declared “I don’t know about you, I am standing my ground!” We proceeded inside and made our presentation. We later discovered that despite our proposal being the best, we lost. The reason? Employees for the potential customer had seen our behavior and did not want to work with our team, let alone bring us into their boardroom.

Whether you have just graduated or are up for a promotion, consider these modern etiquette guidelines to ensure that your behavior never takes you out of the running for a business opportunity:

• Business opportunities start before you realize it: How you conduct yourself as you travel and arrive at business venues speaks volumes. Global competition has not reduced the use of this ageless tactic to weed out the competition and save time. Think twice about being snarky or rude to service providers!

• Ear buds & ear plugs: We enjoy listening to music on smartphones and iPhones when relaxing. Wearing ear buds and listening on the elevator is the equivalent of a ‘do not disturb’ sign on your forehead. At best, this is an unfriendly gesture.

• Break out of your cocoon: Hallways and the coffee station are excellent locations for eye contact and engaging in conversation with your supervisor and colleagues. Avoid reading texts or responding to email while walking down the hallway.

• Navigate cubicles, open offices and closed doors: Since open floor plans and cubicles minimize privacy, setting boundaries is healthy. Announcing ‘hello’ or ‘knock-knock’ and approaching within a work colleague’s sight line are helpful. When an office door is closed, respect your colleague’s need for privacy. Come back later.

For more tips on modern business manners, stop by next week for Part 2.