small business

A Business Owner Refresher: In-Person Etiquette

in-person etiquette

As vaccination efforts begin to ramp up and states and counties loosen restrictions, the time we’ve been waiting for is nearly at hand. Before much longer, we will be allowed to see each other (drum roll, please) in person.

It’s wonderful news. But we can’t deny that in the past year, some of our in-person skills may have gotten a bit rusty. We’ve spent nearly 13 months having Zoom happy hours and replacing morning meetings with conference calls.

Do you remember how to human? If not, we have you covered. Here are some in-person etiquette rules to remember as we emerge from our virtual world into the real one.

In-Person Etiquette Tips

Pants Are a Requirement

Raise your hand if you’ve attended at least one Zoom meeting in a shirt and tie or dressy blouse … on top and pajama pants or sweats on the bottom.

It’s OK. There’s nothing to be ashamed of. But it’s time to stop doing that immediately. Get those pants to the cleaners, pronto.

As a small business owner, it’s important to dress to impress, whatever that looks like in your line of work. Not everyone needs to wear a suit, but let’s set the bar at “clean” and “appropriate for the situation.”

Respect Other People’s Time

When every meeting is an email, it’s easy to get into the habit of taking care of business in short snippets of Slack messages, texts or Skype calls. It’s the nature of working virtually.

Once in-person meetings resume, however, it’s important to have an agenda that covers everything that needs to be covered in a set amount of time. People are likely to be very busy in the beginning, so make sure you’re getting straight to the heart of things and minimize the need for intrusive follow-ups.

Reset Your Clock

In the virtual world, as long as the work got done by the deadline, it really didn’t matter when you did it. Sleep ‘til noon, take a long lunch and “clock in” at three? No one is stopping you!

But with the real world comes a real schedule. And now is the time to start acclimating yourself to that schedule so you’re not wandering around like a caffeine-deprived zombie when business as usual resumes.

Keep Your Personal and Professional Lives Separate

The dash in “work-life balance” has been blurred and broken over the course of the pandemic. You’ve likely been cooped up with your spouse, children and/or other family members for over a year.

When Dad works from the couch, Mom sets up shop at the dining room table and kiddos go to school in the kitchen, it’s easy to forget that that’s not how “normal” works. Once you’re in the office or visiting clients, it’s not as easy to find 10 minutes to help Suzie solve a math problem or discuss tonight’s dinner menu with your spouse.

Naturally, this rule doesn’t apply to family emergencies. It’s just a friendly reminder that “work” and “life” are two different things.

Acknowledge Differing Comfort Levels

You might be champing at the bit to get back to the daily grind, but not everyone is likely to share your sentiment. Some people just don’t feel comfortable yet.

As a small business owner, it’s your job to meet these people on their own level. If that means scheduling yet another Zoom call, so be it. They’ll remember and appreciate your thoughtfulness and accommodations.

Are You Ready for a Return to the Real World?

It has been a long, difficult ride, but it seems like it’s almost over. As we return to normal (whatever “normal” is going to look like from here on out), it’s important to mind our manners and do our best to make the small business world as good – or even a little better – than it was before.

Things have changed. Mischa Communications can help your small business change with them. Any questions?