Etiquette. If our mothers didn’t teach us we certainly got a dose or two in school. But have you thought about it lately? Most are saying… "I just don’t have time for such things." Well think again! Etiquette can make you stand out… it adds to your personal brand. Another point of differentiation.

I ran across an article in Inc. Magazine by Eliza Browning titled "Business Etiquette: 5 Rules That Matter Now." I think in these times of electronic everything we could all take note…

1. Send a Thank You Note

Lawyers, I know this one is elementary… but you JUST don’t take the time. Take the time! Buy note cards, so they are at your fingertips when you need them. Otherwise, you will never make it happen, will you?

2. Know the Names

It is important to know the names of the people at all levels: in your client’s organizations, in the courthouse and not to mention your own firm. It is plain rude to see people day-in-and-day-out and not know their names. Learn their names.

3. Observe the ‘Elevator Rule’

I love this one. How many times have you been in an elevator and heard people talking as though you were not there… and they have no idea who YOU are. You could be directly related to the people they are talking about, couldn’t you? An elevator is not the place for such conversations. Plain and simple… don’t do it, it’s bad manners. 

4. Focus on the Face, Not the Screen

When you are in a meeting it is REALLY rude to have your eyes on your PDA, IPad or any other device with a screen. Be in the present and pay attention to those that are in front of you. To tell you the truth it is more productive. Most people that do this think they are being efficient… not so much.

5. Don’t Judge

Browning nailed this one…

We all have our vices—and we all have room for improvement. One of the most important parts of modern-day etiquette is not to criticize others.

You may disagree with how another person handles a specific situation, but rise above and recognize that everyone is trying his or her best. It’s not your duty to judge others based on what you feel is right. You are only responsible for yourself.

We live in a world where both people and businesses are concerned about brand awareness. Individuals want to stand out and be liked and accepted by their peers–both socially and professionally.

The digital landscape has made it even more difficult to know whether or not you’re crossing a line, but I think it’s simple. Etiquette is positive. It’s a way of being—not a set of rules or dos and don’ts.

So before you create that hashtag, post on someone’s Facebook page or text someone mid-meeting, remember the fundamentals: Will this make someone feel good?

Today more then ever we need to remember what our mothers taught us… manners and etiquette will NEVER be old fashioned, we just have to apply it differently than we did years ago. It’s what helps make you a likable human being. A lawyer that clients want to hire and a colleague that others want to collaborate with… NOW do you have time for THAT?