Ask Dr. Ghada: Office Etiquette & Protocol

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Q1- What business etiquette advice can help me wearing the professional mask successfully at the work place?

A1- To keep your professional mask at the work place, work on the following, as not to sabotage your image, in the business market:

  • Keep your self away from gossiping
  • Be friendly but not over friendly
  • Be sociable but do not socialize
  • Be humble and do not be arrogant
  • Be punctual-know the time “When to leave home, not when to arrive at work”
  • To be punctual avoid the last minute call
  • Get to know that personal life is personal and business life is business
  • Do not use office property in personal issues (Telephone, photocopier, fax etc)
  • At work actions count not intentions (achievements and results)
  • Never outshine your master
  • Get the art of delegation, let others work for you and you get the credit
  • Respect experienced ones, “Gray Hair People”
  • Apply the attire culture of your organization, be composed


Q2- I want to speak with confidence and be a professional conversationalist, what do I have to do?

A2- To be a professional conversationalist, you have to be an active listener and please follow the following:

  • Be prepared up to the subject you will talk about
  • Gather information
  • Be tactful at asking questions
  • Apply 80/20 Rule, listen 80% and answer with 20%
  • Never build on assumptions or expectations
  • Do not add two pence to the situation
  • Write as much as you can, what is not written is not said
  • Do not build on stereotyping
  • Be able to speak concrete not abstract
  • Simplify you words
  • Be able to re-phrase
  • Do not use technical terms
  • Use digital informative language


Q3- I want to prepare myself for a business interview; what do I have to do, to get the job?

A3- You can easily get the job, if you follow this:

  • Gather information about the company you want to apply for, as to know, the vertebral column of the business in this organization; is it selling skills, marketing skills, customer care etc.
  • You have to be in formal attire
  • In the interview, sit up right
  • Speak about your abilities not your disabilities
  • Do not give bad mouthing about a previous organization
  • Speak about the added value from any previous organization


Q4- At the work place, in business, does gender matter?

A4- No, at the work place it is not a matter of gender but it is a matter of rank.

For example, ladies believe that they have to shake hands, while they are sitting. This is a wrong belief, as a lady is to rise to the situation, other wise she will sink with it. This applies, in social and business etiquette. In business etiquette reflects respect to seniors and juniors. In social etiquette, it reflects respects to seniors and an ideal moral to the juniors.


Q5- How can I criticize someone in a civilized way?

A5- Giving Criticism is an art, so go through the following:

  • Start with praise
  • Focus on the problem
  • Be specific
  • Do not generalize negatives by saying (you are always so and so….. )
  • Never use “You + Not”
  • Never criticize personal issues, speak the problem
  • Never criticize in public, keep it private
  • Do not criticize to demonstrate power or authority
  • Do not criticize to proof who is right and who is wrong
  • Do not criticize by blaming
  • Offer help and suggestions or solutions
  • Show that criticism is a constructive tool
  • When criticism is over it is over
  • Do not string more than a criticism at a time

Please mail us your inquiries and Dr. Ghada Gomaa is happy to answer in her column or via e-mail. Please mail to and mention "Ask Dr. Ghada" in the subject line.

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