Etiquette and customer service expert, Joy Weaver, can prattle off essential soft skill tools in just two minutes flat:
“Name tags on the right, handbags on the left,” she said. “When you’re at the dining table the napkin goes on your lap. Pass to the right whenever possible. Salt and pepper are a little couple, they’re always together…”
Weaver zipped through these basics at Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series (ELS) on Wednesday, May 24. The monthly events feature inspiring leaders from business, athletic and military communities. The Dallas-native, Weaver, was the final guest for the 2015-2016 ELS season.
And while the rules of basic etiquette and customer-service rules are mechanical, to the point of recitation, Weaver knows those who practice these rules are not.
“It’s all about civility,” she said.
According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business School, 70 percent of job-related stress is caused by poor people skills. One step of the study further indicates that 40 percent of those experiencing people-related problems end up leaving their jobs.
Weaver’s vision is to help companies to “polish up” their people, from receptionist to CEO. Because being mindful of the small margin of etiquette can make a big difference when competing with other companies for business – and a lack of foresight, particularly when conducting business in foreign markets, has the potential to be devastating.
Weaver stressed the need for those who are conducting business outside of the United States to brush up on the idiosyncratic differences in areas such as dress, gifts, numbers and gestures when interacting with potential clients.
Misconduct in any of these small, but important details, could make or break a deal. They can also make or break working relationships on the home-front as well. While studying the rules and norms of other cultures, studying the personality traits of your coworkers may provide even more benefits.
“It’s all about relationships,” said Weaver, who categorized personality types into four color groups – gold for the structured, list-makers; orange for the flexible, charming workers; green for the thinking and reasoning, non-emotional employees; and blue for those who seek harmony and display a deep love for their coworkers.
Understanding how each of these “colors” function in the workplace can assist in working relationships. She noted that if interpersonal problems arise within the workplace, employees are not “broken,” it’s simply a matter of personality.
Weaver stressed the importance of knowing others along with her formula for success:
“It takes five seconds to make a first impression and a lifetime to alter that impression, good or bad,” said Weaver. “It also takes 21 days to start a new pattern, so begin to put these practices into place now.”
Learn more about Regent University’s Executive Leadership Series.