Make eye contact. Slap on that grin and prolong your attention span even if you lack the capacity. Pretend to enjoy every idea, even if your boss’ thoughts on chicken sandwiches and waffle fries contradict your own. And – for the love of God – don’t give him the limp wrist!
Manners in the business world are virtually universal and are essential toward nailing that dream job that will keep your electricity on and the water flowing. Without the proper etiquette and aptitude, you’re a sitting duck in a dog-eat-dog world. My hope is this column will wake you from your mid-week stupor and gear you up for an exciting career. Because, no – professional beer pong is not a career, albeit a very engaging lifestyle. God willing, by the end of this rant, your bark will be as equally jagged as your bite, and you will climb the corporate ladder with style.
First and foremost, do yourself a favor and never use a limp wrist to seal a deal. True, your presentation skills may be worlds ahead of the competition, but if you can’t put some elbow grease into a finalizing – or initial, for that matter – handshake, you are screwed. Honestly, if your would-be boss wanted to hire a jellyfish, he’d scope out the Red Lobster, not some spineless college newbie with a blank slate for a resumé. As a member of a fraternity, I want to admonish you potential rushees to never extend a flapping hand in my direction when I meet you, because, quite frankly, you will be done. I don’t care if you cured AIDS, kissed babies with the president or built shelters in South Africa – say “goodbye” to your self-respect and opportunity to enjoy the perks of the Greek system. Although I believe my point has already shone ever clear through this mess of words, I can’t help but reiterate: A good, hardy handshake can go a long way in the social, political and business realms.
On that same note, please refrain from ever giving people half-assed hugs. True, you may have just met Debbie Down-for-Anything, but if you embrace her with any reluctance, I’m sure she’ll gladly swing on to the next branch. A word of caution: Don’t crush her bones either and, more importantly, copping a feel is definitely not the same as offering a legitimate hug. In addition, a weak bump between bodies – regardless of gender – basically stipulates that you really couldn’t care less about who the person is or what they mean to you. I advise that you summon up just a bit more courage, perhaps liquid – though natural is preferable – and legitimately show someone you’re glad they exist. We all need a hug every once and a while, so get over here and show Papa some love!
Finally, it’s imperative that you always smile, regardless of how much you disagree with someone. One advantage to this strategy is you have the option to inject a little sarcasm into that graveyard of pearly whites. And, while being polite, lash your boss an invisible expletive – nothing says “F- you” like a soulless grin. Of course, a smile can simply be a smile. In fact, spread a grin from ear to ear and you’ll likely put a few smiles on other people’s faces. In other words, there really is no excuse for rudeness or negativity, especially if you’re dealing with the bureaucracy that handles your paycheck. Don’t forget to reinforce that genuine smirk with a firm handshake at the end of your pitch. Coupling visual signs of interest with direct body language will earn you that job faster than your own merits, even if there is a resounding lack thereof.
That said, strap on your shiniest shoes, bust out that briefcase and exhibit the professionalism and good nature that mark us Gauchos as the cream of the Californian crop.