It really surprises me that I have to write something like this, but I’ve been seeing it happen with increased frequency in my personal and professional circles. These are things which I strive to do and that annoy me when they aren’t done. Really, they are fairly easy ways to show respect to people who you work with or interact with on a regular basis.
- Show up on time. Actually on time. If you have an appointment set with someone at 3pm be ready to start the meeting at 3pm. You shouldn’t just pulling into the parking lot or walking in the door. Your coat should be off and any notes or resources ready to go. Same goes for when your workday starts. Same goes for when class starts whether your a teacher or student. But I understand that sometimes unexpected things come up which means you should….
- Call if you’re going to be late. Let whoever you’re meeting with know that you’re running a little late. Give them an idea of when you’re going to be there and if your idea ends up being wrong, call them again to let them know. You should call before your scheduled meeting time. If you’re scheduled to meet at 9:00 and you call at 9:01 they probably have a pretty good idea that you’re running late already. Give them a heads up. Give them an idea of when you’re going to be there.
- Respond to emails. This one really amazes me when it doesn’t happen. Most people are either sitting in front of their computer most of the work day or have their emails going directly to their phone. You should respond to emails within 24 hours of receiving them. If the email requires more time than you have to respond right now, let the sender know that and give them an idea of when you’ll be able to respond. (The exception to this is over weekends. If I send an email late Friday night, I generally won’t expect a response until Monday. I also try to catch up on any emails that I received over the weekend by lunch on Monday.)
- Don’t interrupt other people while they’re talking. Seriously. You were taught this since you learned to speak in sentences. It’s rude. It’s disrespectful. Don’t do it.
- Listen. The key to effective communication and productivity is listening. If your boss is giving you instructions as to what to do, listen and take notes. Don’t make them repeat it. If someone who usually doesn’t speak up during meetings starts to say something, make a conscious effort not to talk over them even though you weren’t expecting them to say anything. If someone is criticizing your work, don’t be quick to speak up and defend yourself. Listen to what they have to say, take it constructively, formulate a response and then respond.
So, there you have it, five ways to show respect to the people you work with and interact with regularly. If do these maybe those around you will start doing them too!