Manners and Etiquette: The Best Rules to Follow

Stop annoying other by keeping your cell phone off the table, holding doors for people, and learn the proper rules of etiquette for every situation.

from Reader's Digest | Dec/Jan 2012

1. Wait for everyone to be served

If you're seated at a table with eight or fewer guests, wait for everyone to be served and for the hostess to begin eating before you dig in. At a long banquet table, it's OK to start when several people are seated and served.

2. Keep your things off the table

All things not having to do with food (and decoration) should remain off the table: keys, clutch bags, cigarette packs, sunglasses, BlackBerrys.

3. Don't text at the table

Farhad Manjoo on "If you're in a situation where you'd excuse yourself to go to the bathroom, you should also excuse yourself before reaching for your phone."

4. If you prefer not to have wine while dining out, don't turn your glass upside down

Don't make a big deal of saying you don't drink. Simply place your fingertips on the rim of the glass and say "Not today, thanks." This implies no judgment of those who wish to imbibe.

5. Practice good speakerphone manners

Don't use a speakerphone unless you're in your office and holding a meeting that's being attended by someone remotely. Alert the person you're speaking with that others are present, and close the door. FYI: Using a speakerphone at full volume to go through your voice mailbox is the definition of annoying.

6. Whoever arrives at a door first holds it for the next person

It doesn't matter the gender of either.

7. Don't microwave stinky foods in the shared lunchroom. (Come on.)

8. At the airport, don't crowd the boarding area

And once on board, stow your stuff and get out of the aisle quickly. When claiming your baggage don't crowd the carousel. Step forward only when you see your bag.

9. Let people off the elevator and hold the doors for others before you board

10. If all you have to say in your e-mail reply is "Thanks!" refrain from sending it.

You're just clogging an inbox.

11. Keep your cell phone out of the conversation

When talking to someone in person, don't glance down at your cell phone to see who's trying to reach you.

12. Be polite in e-mail

Things not to do when e-mailing: shout in all caps, use colored fonts or clip-art emoticons, attach large files, forward an e-mail unless appropriate.

13. Respect the text

Work e-mails can be sent anytime, but business texts should be restricted to one hour before the start of the workday to two hours after it ends, according to The Modern Gentleman.

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