Is there a difference? You bet. Etiquette is a code of polite conduct based on…
a) □ Snicker quietly and seek to distance yourself as much as possible so that the client won’t associate you with your colleague.
b) □ Divert the client’s attention by pointing out the lovely table presentation.
c) □ Discretely offer your colleague a napkin without mentioning the incident and step in to welcome to the client on behalf of your team.
a) □ Apologize profusely several times and try rubbing the cream off the blouse as quickly as possible.
b) □ Look the other way and pretend you didn’t see anything happen.
c) □ Apologize profusely and offer to pay your colleague’s dry cleaning bill.
a) □ Delete the e-mail without mentioning it to either party.
b) □ Wait to bring up the incident in front of your colleague and boss at the
next team meeting.
c) □ Let your colleague know that you received the e-mail and ask to talk
about the incident together.
How you choose to respond in each of these unexpected predicaments determines what happens next in your relationships. If your answer was “c” in each of the situations, you are well on your way to building positive, mutually rewarding relationships.