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Business Etiquette


“No matter who you are or what you do, your manners will have a direct impact on your professional and social success.” – Anonymous

It would not be incorrect on my part to say that business etiquette, though seemingly a clichéd topic is often also the most ignored. Displaying restraint and exhibiting manners in a corporate / business environment are extremely crucial to a congenial and professional work setup. The world is shrinking given the surge in globalization and digitization. Boundaries are transcended and people from varying cultures, demographics and beliefs are getting in touch at the click of a button and therefore understanding how to work with this diversity is becoming more important in order to maintain business etiquette.

Maintaining business etiquette allows people from any background and culture to work collaboratively and communicate respectfully to their fellow-workers. Paying attention to good manners in a professional setting creates an atmosphere of trust, integrity, helpfulness and all those other niceties that make working together a lot of fun. Business etiquette is about looking beyond our limitations and those with whom we work and instead focus on creating stimulating synergies irrespective of many obvious differences.

Business etiquette, in my opinion, has a rather vast scope. Under its realm fall a number of factors which I believe are often overlooked, limiting people’s view of the subject. Displaying good manners is as simple as dressing appropriately to the more complex subject of communication. To show respect and consideration for the views of co-workers is also business etiquette. Spoken and written communication, body language and other expressions form a vital part of corporate manners. Taking the trouble to understand how people of different cultures prefer to dress or eat, refraining from speaking on topics that could be sensitive issues, respecting the time and space of those around you and many other such factors fall under the umbrella of business etiquette.

Times are changing and so are a number of personal and professional preferences, but basic business etiquette have not changed to match these. They seem to run across businesses, industries and demographics – but it is best to observe what the acceptable norms are before-hand in order to avoid embarrassment to yourself and inconvenience to others.

– The most basic is probably a firm (not death grip) handshake. It is a simple yet polite and confident gesture and lets the person before you understand that you are open and approachable and would like to maintain a healthy professional relationship.

– We have been taught since our childhood to say please and thank you. This has not and in my view, will not change irrespective of how much more progress the humankind makes. These are basic courtesies that should be non-negotiable.

– Everyone wants to be heard and each one of us is sometimes over-zealous to express our views. Business etiquette demands that one should never interrupt or speak when someone else is talking. It is just plain rude and shows a very high level of disrespect.

– Mind your language – even if your company culture is friendly and relaxed there is no excuse to use derogatory, cuss or outlandish language.

– An oft repeated mistake is firing off emails or other written communication without re-checking. The fact is that when you send out communication that is rife with errors, you are showing disrespect to the receiver. It tells them that you did not bother to take time or make the effort to send them quality work. Very poor business manners!

– Even if your company has an open door policy, it is exceedingly impolite to assume that you can interrupt a person’s work just because you have something to discuss. Ensure that you ask for permission to walk-in or better still schedule time in advance with the person.

– The most common one – engaging in gossip. It is human nature to be curious, but speaking badly of someone behind their back is very disrespectful to the person and it also shows your character in a poor light.

– Respect people’s space and the need for privacy. Trying to eavesdrop on a conversation or reading from the screen of another person’s computer, is for me among the top irritants and excruciatingly annoying habits.

– It is common courtesy to acknowledge a person who approaches you or even if you see someone at a distance. Being busy can never and must never be a reason to ignore people.

– The two topics that people can never seem to agree on are politics and religion. Business etiquette demands that topics that can be potential problems should be avoided at all costs. Keep your views on these topics in the confines of your mind.

– Irrespective of your position and work schedules, if you have committed to being somewhere at a certain time, be there on time. Reaching late shows lack of respect and you wouldn’t want it done to you.

– You know that you are part of a meeting and the time is blocked off for the purpose – so where is the need to continually take calls or respond to messages and emails. Doing so shows lack of concern and respect for the others present in the room.

Unprofessional mannerisms and a lack of business etiquette could not only drive customers away but also let your employees and co-workers respect you a lot less. Grasping the basics of business etiquette will facilitate communication and increase productivity in the workplace.

Winning Instinct


“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombard

The Winning Instinct is better known as the ‘killer instinct’. Whatever you call it, this instinct is a mind-set that you can either be born with or cultivate and refine over time. It has to do with confidence in yourself and your capabilities. A person with this winning instinct is almost impervious to outside force and pressures as he or she is encased in what seems like indestructible armour. As this instinct becomes stronger there is enhanced acceptance of things that are human and therefore bound to happen. There is no shying away from fear or rejection and one admits to feeling low and ashamed at times. The winning instinct allows a person to forge ahead without hesitation despite some negative and maybe even painful emotions. Soon this instinct becomes natural and effortless – an expression of your most innate being. How amazing is that! I am not implying that you would always win or that you need to win at ‘any cost’ – having a winning instinct gets you past obstacles and problems faster and with renewed confidence.

How do you know whether you possess the winning instinct – the killer drive that you so envy in others? Given below are a few points, which in my opinion a person with this winning desire would have.

– Each person has some objectives and goals in life. A person with the killer instinct has a keen sense of what his or her ambitions are and would be willing to stretch their physical and mental limits to achieve success. Such a person not only accepts that situations would be incompatible with their goals but would also know what to do in order to survive the onslaughts of nature and fellow humans.

– A person with a winning instinct displays amply the courage, steadfastness and obstinate resolve to succeed. They have the ability to accomplish tasks well and in the shortest possible time. Killer drive enables the person to conquer one’s own limitations and bad habits and by removing them, make place for positivity and winning in their lives. Those who wish to cultivate the winning instinct must consciously work towards ridding themselves of their own personal stumbling blocks.

– It is a misconception that a person who is shy or timid cannot possess the winning instinct. Such people can be inherently strong through facing a number of instances of rejection, ridicule and even lost opportunities. They can over time develop a state of mind that not only ignores these adversities but also overcome them time and again. You don’t need to be ‘vicious’ to possess the killer instinct.

– In a structured and modern world, the killer instinct does not mean actually killing to secure one’s needs and interests. Successful and wealthy people are held in high esteem and it is assumed that would have used this instinct to move ahead and would have refused to fall prey to the scheming designs of their adversaries.

The winning instinct is about being in touch with your innate courage and strength and the ability to gain complete control for the fulfilment of one’s goals. It is the power to take action and make things right, despite stumbling blocks and situations and people who tell us that we cannot.

A PROUD ‘SOLOPRENEUR’ – top quality Content Writer and Proofreader

Solopreneur is perhaps the best description of how I operate being a top quality serious Content Writer and Proofreader – someone who runs a business as livelihood, pretty much the same as any other business owner. Solopreneur is a new connotation and hence appears to be an incorrect spelling! There are several reasons for adding it to my profile:

1. Despite freelancing become a rage, the perception of ‘freelancers’ is still not great – you know as opposed to a business owner – entrepreneur – strategist – ninja – and several other such ‘high profile’ words. For most people still the word freelancer conjures images of some college student working to earn a few ‘happy’ bucks or a person working to pass time / or just for a lark.

2. I am a highly experienced professional, and as a freelance writer, I know my craft and respect it immensely. My work and my skills make me a strategic partner for other businesses.

3. While freelancing may sound easy, take my word for it – it is quite the opposite. There is nothing ‘free’ about it, and while I do have some leeway to decide my work hours, clients expect work completion within deadlines. They pay me – so they rightfully have expectations, and I have never faltered on a deadline.

4. I am not in a state of transition – this is my business and I am here to stay. In order to get better, I continue to read and consistently attempt to write articles on new and different subjects. The endeavour is to write a better piece of content each time.

A Solopreneur ‘runs a business of one’ – strong and determined, and with the ability to produce top quality work. I own this business. I am committed to it and my aim is to help my clients increase their revenue and grow their business through the words are string together. I possess the poise and nous required to manage this business well, and as I pick myself up from the physically draining and emotionally devastating tragedy, I hope to scale the business to a higher level.

I am a solopreneur. I work within systems and processes, have firm goals, undertake business development activities, and constantly endeavour to grow my business. I am a business owner by these standards and more. Connect with me to understand how my business can help yours – chandini.khanna@gmail.com

Dealing with the Sudden Death of My Love and Husband of 23 years

The sudden death of my husband on 24th March left me shocked, drained, empty, and disbelieving – and myriad other emotions. The standard responses of you have to move ahead, be strong, you have a child to care for – seem empty and insensitive, and yet I know they are true. I knew however, that I had to forge ahead professionally and personally. My husband Nitish, provided me with the support, love and care I needed to do well professionally – even when I decided to work from home as a freelance writer.

Now I am a single parent – I went back to writing after 3 days of his death, in an attempt to block out all the confusion and gut wrenching pain. I continue to pursue my writing work with intensity and passion – as my clients will confirm. I have refused to relocate because I understand the difficulties of replacing the ‘infrastructure’ around me – clients, some friends, my daughter’s friends and her life, doctors and vets, and many other such supporting aspects.

Going back to work gave me the stability of a routine, and it felt a bit secure. It felt like a ‘break’ from the pain, the mind numbing torment, and the emptiness I felt. Of course, simple things like taking care of self – eating right, sleeping enough – were neglected, and, continues at times. I knew I needed something to keep me busier – people to speak with since I no longer had my love to share things. I have had to start dressing well again – at the cost of being judged by several nosy folk and prying eyes. I know in my heart I am doing the right thing – my daughter needs a stable home, a caring mum, and we both need an extremely safe future.

I refuse to get writing assignments based on sympathy – clients and businesses are not sympathetic anyway if you do not perform. I am now working hard at a new business too, learning more, and keeping my head high. Tears have not stopped flowing – I cry even because my daughter lost a loving father – it is unfair to her to grow up without him. With everything, that has happened and is happening, my adrenalin is pumping and I am unbelievably strong, thanks to my daughter, and whatever I hope to achieve for her.

Compelling Reasons to Write

What is it about writing that catches the fancy and imagination of so many?

For me writing is a plethora of things – freedom, creativity, financial gains, penning my thoughts and moods by way of a piece and also being able to capture the essences of the subject being ‘spoken’ about. It’s often not easy especially when the mood is downbeat and melancholic. Writing is toughest then.

What is most fascinating for me when I write is being alone – not lonely – alone. Together with and yet mysteriously aloof from all the things that surround me – I am detached. It’s possible for me to see and understand a lot more – something that cannot be strung together in words.

There are times when my mind shuts out the surroundings, blocks out the sounds and I feel in complete union and honesty with the words that flow through and out of me. I am guilty of feeling inexplicable annoyance for anything / anyone able to disrupt this ‘trance’ – of course it is my fault for not focusing enough.

Writing – it’s exciting. There are so many words and countless ways that they can be used together differently and have the power to elicit a range of emotions. As someone who writes, these limitless possibilities enthral me, intrigue and keep me humble. Writing – it’s uplifting – Cathartic even and I hope that I will and can continue stringing words together until it’s time to bid goodbye…

Adherence to Values in the Current Education System – Why?

Values are defined as acceptable standards or behaviours, through the adherence of which one can stand out from the crowd. Each person holds something important to them – something will always have more significance than another aspect of one’s life. Some value people, others value material goods or objects and yet others hold thoughts and ideas in high esteem. It all really depends on what ‘seems’ important and each person has a different view. However, irrespective of what is considered a value, the fact about values is that they create harmony, unity and an all-encompassing oneness by the people that hold on to a set of values. Values transcend boundaries and bring like-minded people together allowing them to fulfil their personal and societal goals with a lot more ease, than if they tried to achieve something individually. It is true that values shape each individual and when a number of such individuals come together they are able to produce a ubiquitous effect of the value they consider important and critical to their individuality.

For society too, and in work life, it is becoming crucial to have shared values and certain guiding principles that will veer the behaviour of people towards a common goal and good. The inculcation of values must start at the most basic level – that is from the formative years of individuals – at schools. Children are extremely impressionable and will grow up to believe and practice whatever they are taught in their early years. Families, schools and the society must function as one cohesive unit to ensure that the children learn and adhere to values and the education system has a major role to play to maintain the consistency of thought, words and actions.

Shape the Children’s Young Minds:
The values that children are taught will shape their outlook, approach and overall behaviour towards themselves, their families and others. The more positive values children learn, the more disciplined and balanced they will be. They will make better and more informed choices and will grow up to be responsible citizens ready to face the challenges of life. As children start attending school, they spend a substantial number of hours away from home and begin to experience different scenarios, mind-sets and of course, values. Schools and the education system therefore, can and should have a powerful influence on the kind of values the children imbibe. The education system and the educators must remain aware of how their demeanour and display of values will affect the children and constantly endeavour to exhibit positive behaviour and values. Reinforcement of positive values is not only good education but lets the children know that things like integrity, honesty, trustworthiness and being conscientious should be non-negotiable. They grow up to be confident and self-reliant with enhanced ability to know right from wrong, stand up in the face of opposition and help those weaker than themselves. These strong behaviours make for happy individuals who are capable to affecting positive changes and who will never be influenced by trends, consumerism and the pressures applied by their peers. They will hold their ground, make their own decisions and would become positive and influential leaders.

The Education System can help:
We know that values cannot be separated from an individual and are an essential part of the personality. Education too is crucial and must have for every child and for the education system to claim that it is genuinely developing the children for the future it must strongly incorporate the dissemination of values. With technology, new-fangled ideas and changes in thinking becoming the norm, no doubt some of it is for the better, the role of values takes on an even more serious connotation. Just like teaching and learning are considered a continuous process, values too can never be treated as learnt with no improvements required. In fact, the current education system must adhere to values as a scientific process that requires constant learning, observation and analysis. The values must be so deeply entrenched that no amount of negative pressure and influence should be able to shake them. The adherence of values in and through the current education system is taking on even more significance. Given that technology and digitization has shrunk the world, people are becoming more independent and inter-dependent and unless there are a set of shared values it will become increasingly harder to live in peace and unity. The education system touches every aspect of a child’s life and therefore a curriculum that revolves around creating awareness not just about knowledge of the subjects but also how to develop one’s morality and personality is of more value.
The adherence of values starts with a child’s family but continues when the child steps out and enters school. The education system must be able to support the positive value system that the children have learnt hitherto. The role of the educators and the system as a whole is to show the children that values are not just meant to be spoken about but must be part of their very being for their development as smart and focused individuals.

The School Environment is Vital:
Children emulate what they see and when they begin schooling they spend a significant amount of time watching their teachers and elders. To better the current education system it would great for children to learn values and respect. By building an environment where positive values are the culture and norm the children will have clarity of thought and will not need to grapple with issues that they may have been unsure about. For example – schools now teach that bursting crackers on Diwali is wrong. There is no ambiguity – it is wrong for many reasons and children are even seen carrying out rallies trying to educate the elders in society about the harmfulness of bursting crackers. The adherence to such values helps children develop their minds and brain and be able to think independently of ‘popular beliefs’. The children of today are much smarter and seem to have a better grip on a number of issues – thanks to the easy access of information. However, there is a downside to this flow of information too – a lot of subjects that they should know and deal with later in life are also made available. It is here that the current education system must stand its ground and adhere to values to keep children from straying.

A sound education system, entrenched in positive values will be able to present the information in a more useable and friendly manner providing the pros and cons of each set of data. The current education system has now, much to the relief of parents, started sex education, which previously was a taboo subject. However, with the balanced views and proper education on what would constitute morality and what breaches the lines, children are growing up already understanding the dangers of trusting strangers and letting themselves loose. The education system starts with the infants – these little ones are taught basic values of honesty, not stealing, keeping their surroundings clean and maintaining personal hygiene. As they grow these values are continually built on by teaching the serious effects of non-adherence to them. When schools and the education system becomes a key partner with parents and society in building positive values, it will be hard for children to pick up wrong behaviours and behave contrary to the good being instilled. It is a lot easier to shape young minds than trying to change a negative that may have become part of the child’s personality. Educators have learned how to recognize negative behaviour and would be able to identify them if the child has imbibed them due to such conduct by an elder at home, which they may not even be aware of.

The teaching of values is an on-going, relentless and never-ending pursuit and hence teachers, families and the school curriculum must all work together as a cohesive unit to spread positive values in the children. The teaching of values must be as systematic and structured as the learning of any other subject or discipline, if the children are to see their significance and consider them vital for life. It is heartening to see children taking on the responsibility to change a number of things that are not right with society today. It may sound simple, but the issue of cleanliness for example on a countrywide level is no ‘child’s play’. The amount of debris and trash on the roads is acquiring scary proportions and children are getting actively involved in using their education to do away with this menace and nuisance. It is heartening to see that schools have been able to instil the value of ‘clean surroundings’ in the children but this is just the beginning. While there may be a lot to be desired from the current education system, it is good to notice this change and it would be beneficial to all if the adherence to values continues to remain a focal point.