October 2010  
UpWrite Press Writing eTips

Did you know…?

Have you noticed that while October is the tenth month of the year, its name starts with “octo,” meaning “eight,” as in “octopus”? October used to be the eighth month, but when July and August (named for Julius and Augustus Caesar) were jammed into the calendar, the later months were pushed back. September is now ninth though “sept” means “seven”; November is eleventh though “nov” signifies “nine”; and December is twelfth though “dec” is a prefix for “ten.”

Office Etiquette

Etiquette is such a simple thing: Basically, it’s commonsense courtesy toward others. But an office, by its very nature, demands adherence to specific personal behaviors. Here are some tips on the best office behaviors. Remember, etiquette all boils down to one thing: respect.

  • Respect others’ physical space. Don’t clutter up common areas with trash, and keep your own area clean and neat—remember, others have to look at it.
  • Respect others’ air space. Loud noises and talking can distract others from their own work. Obnoxious smells such as heavy perfume or air fresheners can drift through the office, creating an annoyance at the least and possibly a danger to those with allergies or respiratory problems. Be thoughtful.
  • Respect others’ time. Don’t waste work time with long personal stories or complaints. Show up on time for meetings and conference calls, and let coworkers know if you cannot meet a deadline.
  • Respect others’ rights. Don’t share comments told to you in confidence. Keep negative thoughts to yourself, and save even the positive socializing for breaks or lunchtime.
  • Respect others’ plans. Honor schedules and provide requested materials when promised. Don’t make changes in projects without first discussing them with other team members.

And finally…

  • Respect others’ humanity. Offer congratulations and sympathy, and say “please” and “thank you.” It sounds simple, but so many people forget that their coworkers have feelings. At the same time, recognize that people come from all sorts of backgrounds, with all sorts of assumptions and habits. What may seem rude to one person isn’t necessarily intended that way. While we can seldom change another person’s behavior, we can always improve upon our own patience. A little human understanding can be the best oil for reducing friction between coworkers, resulting in a more pleasant—and productive—environment.

For a helpful guide to all aspects of the business environment, check out Write for Business: A Compact Guide to Writing and Communicating in the Workplace—just one of the handy business-writing materials from UpWrite Press.

That Little Extra

Learning is affected by both external and internal factors—and both must be addressed in any training session. External factors include the room environment, presentation methods, and training goals, while internal factors include the trainee’s motivation, ability, memory, and attitude. The wise teacher/trainer considers both external and internal factors when planning a training session. For example, it’s good to know that the brain absorbs information best when it is rested. Remembering this, the savvy trainer presents information in short bites, covering the most complicated information early in the session or right after a break, when the trainees’ minds are refreshed.


October Writers' Forum Topic

Here's your chance to tell us how your work environment operates. Send us your responses to the forum question below, and we'll print the most interesting in our eTips Mid-Month Mini.

This month we’d like to tie in to our main topic—office etiquette. One of our readers wrote to us, asking for help dealing with a troublesome coworker—someone who frequenly invades others’ space, talks loudly, and listens in on other people’s conversations, in general making coworkers feel uncomfortable. Those coworkers have taken the matter to their supervisors, but no action has resulted. The reader wonders how to deal with these intrusions. Have you had a similar experience? Can you offer any suggestions for bringing harmony back to this office?

E-mail your response to writersforum@upwritepress.com. Write "October Writers' Forum" in the subject line, and you could see your reply in the eTips Mid-Month Mini.

We Want to Hear from You

This is your chance to be part of the UpWrite Press newsletters and blogs. What writing topics do you want to hear about? Have you any favorite communications tips you’d like to share? What words do you constantly mix up? Send us your ideas and you could see your name in Writing eTips or The Mid-Month Mini.

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Write for Business Blog

Entries for the month of September:

Staff Articles

Using the Right Word

Avoiding Sentence Errors


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Coming in November

Using Reliable Thinking Methods

eTips is a publication of UpWrite Press, P.O. Box 460, Burlington, Wisconsin 53105. Copyright © 2010,
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