Category Archives: Diversity

Do political discussions give you “foot-in-mouth disease?”

Ms.MannersI am both fascinated and appalled by today’s politics. Like watching a train wreck, I am glued to news shows that upset me and political subjects I’ve formerly considered taboo. “Never discuss politics or religion” is great advice, but with today’s upcoming election, that suggestion has gone by the wayside. Talk politics, but keep it polite.

You do want to avoid expressing personal opinions on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. According to a recent Intel Mobile Etiquette study on mobile etiquette and digital sharing, 90 percent of U.S. adults think others share too much information online and 39 percent say they choose not to associate with people with whom they disagree on political opinions.

A polite political discussion is in a respectful, two-way conversation. Let the other person state his or her opinion without interrupting. Ask questions, listen to learn and understand, and you may find yourself actually enjoying another perspective. If the conversation starts to get heated, don’t resort to name calling or shaming. Maintain control by keeping your own voice low and your tone nonthreatening. If all else fails, smile and say, “Well, I enjoy your perspective, but we obviously don’t agree and are not going to change each others’ minds, so let’s change the subject instead.” 

Ms. Politically Incorrect Corporate Manners

Tattoos and piercings in the workplace

Ms.MannersDear Ms. Corporate Manners:
What is the etiquette on tattoos and facial, tongue and ear piercings? I thought tattoos should not be seen in the workplace, but I’m seeing more and more of them exposed. And I thought earrings were the only piercings allowed, and only for women. What do you think? 

Just Wondering 

Dear Wondering,
Although about one in five American adults sport at least one tattoo, opinions on its appropriateness in the workplace often vary according with age. A 2012 survey by Captivate, a digital media firm, found that participants over the age of 50 were far more likely to find tattoos distracting than those in the 35-49 age range. I HATE most tattoos and body piercings (except ears) and prefer body ink be concealed under clothing in the workplace. That said, I’m over 50 and come from a conservative office environment. Many companies don’t want to limit piercings and tattoos because it would impact their ability to recruit the current generation.
Ms. Corporate Manners

© Penny Aviotti and Ms.Corporate Manners 2003 – 2013.

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Respecting diversity; valuing Hispanic customers

LogoDear Ms. Corporate Manners,
I am in shock of the numerous employees I’ve heard make derogatory comments about our Hispanic customers along with the cleaning crews that come in at night and tidy up the branches. I can understand being upset if the office was poorly cleaned, but for some reason they always feel the need to address their ethnicity when complaining about them. The same ignorance can be seen by many co-workers that have to deal with a customer who either speaks poor English or none at all and is usually followed up by a “if they’re in the country they should speak the language” or something along those lines. I have news for all of them…..THERE IS NO OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IN THE UNITED STATES!!! This country is a melting pot and we as employees should be aware that we hold ourselves to a higher standard and should be providing OUTSTANDING customer service, regardless of race or nationality. Allowing one’s biased views to be shared not only makes the individual look ignorant, but it makes others feel unwelcome and unaccepted. Take a long look in the mirror before passing judgment. Sorry for the rant, I’ll climb off my soapbox now. 

Outraged By Ignorance

Dear Outraged,
Most successful companies have a goal to strengthen and maintain a diverse, all-inclusive environment. To bring divisive ethnic, religious or political issues into the workplace disrespects that goal, disrupts our relationships, our projects and the workplace itself. If someone discusses these issues in front of you, it’s best to be candid with that employee and tell him or her in a direct but kind and courteous way that our country was founded on the principle that all people were created equal, and you find their remarks offensive and disrespectful of our customers and employees.

Senora Corporativa Modales

© Penny Aviotti and Ms.Corporate Manners 2003 – 2013.

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