Some Thoughts on Professional Etiquette

Its amazing to me that posts like this are needed, however I occasionally run into people who seem unaware of these simple principles. Fortunately, most of the people I know through LAUNCH and beyond are wonderful people who really get it. Still, they are good reminders! Be sure to read the whole post and its follow up, but here are some choice morsels:

Recently, I tried to make an introduction between a good friend of mine and a friendly acquaintance, and the acquaintance had her sights set on a more attractive prey. The introductions were brusque, all eye contact avoided, and my friend, who had considered my acquaintance for a project, in the end, decided against it.

Don't do this. It's happened to me, and I'm extremely unlikely to give someone the time of day the next time we meet—much less work with them—if they don't take a minute or two to fully engage. 

When I was in my 20s, my first mentor was a man named Bob who spent the greater part of his career at AT&T. He was old-school and was the first person to shape my career. He told me once that I’d better be nice to everybody. Stop and talk to the receptionist, thank the people emptying your bins, and be graceful to your direct reports simply because it’s the right thing to do. Be good to everyone because you never know when you might encounter them again when the power dynamic might shift against your favor.

Such good advice!

Always be graceful, always be thankful. If someone makes an intro, thank them. If someone gets you a project, thank them. Even if you didn’t take on the project, thank them. I don’t need a meal; I don’t need your gratitude tears; I don’t need a % referral–I just want to know that I didn’t recommend an entitled asshole. Send me an email with these five words: Thank you so much, Felicia!

Gratitude goes so much further than you can ever imagine. 

If you are someone who is chronically late for everything, understand that you’re not simply meeting up with a forgiving friend, who accepts that your lateness is your only flaw because you are, as a whole, this amazing human being. You’re meeting up with someone who knows you, only slightly, and your first meeting will likely form a pivotal first impression. So get right with your life and leave earlier than you normally would. If you start to see traffic en route, text immediately. I’d rather know that there is a chance you might be late than wait around hoping you might arrive before the coffee shop closes.


If anything, I always arrive early for a meeting and will busy myself with emails or window shop nearby. Because someone who is late and chronically late, tells me that you don’t know how to organize your day and you really don’t value my time.

This is my biggest frustration in life. If you're not five minutes early, you're late. And I promise you, it doesn't matter who you are, you are not more important than whomever you are meeting with. Unless you are having a meeting with someone you know doesn't care, never, ever be late. And on the very rare occasion where it is unavoidable, communicate early. Oh, and if you show up on time and then go order a coffee, you're still late. 

There is a certain breed of people who just can’t apologize–even when they know, deep down, they’re wrong. They’ll displace blame, they’ll talk about how they’re sorry you were offended or hurt. Apologizing isn’t a sign of weakness or frailty–rather, I see as a remarkable sign of strength.

I couldn't agree more. Don't take blame that is not rightfully yours, but never hesitate to apologize for your mistakes, and when appropriate, share your plan for how you will avoids such mistakes in the future.