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Part II: Mind Your Manners > Practice Gender-Neutral Etiquette

Chapter 11. Practice Gender-Neutral Etiquette

Men and women are treated equally in business settings. What is acceptable behavior on a date is inappropriate in the office. Gender-neutral etiquette means that everyone is treated respectfully and courteously, regardless of gender. Here are some tips to make sure you treat men and women equally (see also “Tip 49: Practice Intercultural Courtesy” later in this book):

Shake hands with both men and women. Use a firm grip, not limp and not too strong.

Stand and greet people who enter your office or cubicle.

Use “Ms.” if you don’t know what form of address a woman prefers. Wait for her to correct you if she prefers “Miss” or “Mrs.”

Make introductions and open doors according to rank. Higher-ups and customers always go first.

At meals, everyone orders their own food unless the menu has been pre-ordered. The host orders the wine and pays the bill.

Don’t use endearments such as “Honey,” “Sweetheart,” or “Dear.”

Watch your language. Waiters and waitresses are servers. Stewardesses are flight attendants. Secretaries are usually administrative assistants. (Never call them “girls” or “Girl Friday,” even if they are female!) Mailmen, policemen, and firemen are, respectively, mail or postal carriers, police officers, and firefighters.


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