Vincy Workplace
August 27, 2004
Etiquette lessons from the Olympics

The Olympics is a great example of the importance of proper etiquette and its impact on success and one’s reputation. Athletes, like employees, work to perfect their craft but a few simple missteps can negatively affect the individual and the public’s perception of his/her country, just as it would an employee’s career and company.{{more}}
First time impressions: As the grand procession of athletes flowed into the Olympic stadium, athletes had but a few seconds for the world to make a first and lasting impression about their country. The majority walked proud, heads held high, well dressed, thrilled to represent their country before the world. It was their moment to shine, as some will never win a medal of any kind. Some athletes, however, entered the stadium chewing gum obnoxiously and walking in a lackadaisical manner. How embarrassing for themselves and their country. It’s the same in the workplace. What kind of impression do you make when you walk into a room, into a meeting? Do you walk in confidently, with an aura that says you are ready to work, or are you less than enthused and sloppy?
Body Language: There is a big difference between confidence and arrogance and the 100m. men’s track and field event held on Sunday had a field full of athletes who were both. It was a big turn-off when American athlete Shawn Crawford kissed the TV camera lens during preliminary warm-ups, and then he later went on to wink at the camera and point to himself as if to say he will be the winner; he was not. Contrast his body language to the American gold medal winner Justin Gatlin, and silver medallist Francis Obikwelu of Portugal. These men were ecstatic about their victories but were humble, demonstrating respect for themselves, fellow runners, their countries and wise enough to contain their bravado in public. What does your body language say about you? Are people turned off by your know-it-all attitude? Do you showboat around the office when you get a promotion, win a large account or even brag about the connections you have? Does your behaviour intimidate other people and make them feel less than important?
Teamwork: When Australian swimmer Ian Thorpe accidentally slipped into the water before the race and was disqualified, a teammate gave up his spot so Ian would have the opportunity to defend his swim title and make the Australian team. What a great demonstration of teamwork and sacrifice. His move paid off as Thorpe and the Australian team went on to victory in several events. When you are at work do you think about what’s best for your team? Do you look for the best person for the job or do you try to make your skills fit the need? Are you supportive of colleagues or is your work environment so competitive that everyone is out for self-promotion?
Make sure that you are not hindering your career and success because of your lack of simple etiquette skills.