By | Shital Kakkar Mehra | Executive Presence Coach for CEOs I Business Communication Expert I Best-selling Author I Co-Founder Katalyst, NGO
Offices in big cities are located in tall commercial complexes and taking the elevator to get to work is inevitable. These are public spaces and understanding elevator etiquette is a step in understanding civility at the workplace. People pay scant attention to these brief journeys, making the lift a site for unintentional blunders.
» Game of four corners: As in the game, take your corner when you enter the lift, ensuring maximum distance between you and the next person. » Where do I stand?: At the back, if getting off on a higher floor; in the front, for a lower floor. Face the door, keeping your hands by your side, without touching anyone.
» Personal space: Reduce invasion of other’s space by avoiding unnecessary body movements and hand gestures. Also, we can invade the 4 x 4 cubicle with body odour / strong perfumes too!
» Right of way: Is with the passenger inside – let him/her disembark before barging in. In our rush to catch the lift, we often rush into the elevator, blocking the exit for those inside.
» Eye contact: Make no eye contact and direct your gaze at the button panel, papers or mobile in your hand; better still practice the blank stare.
» Minimum conversation: Fellow passengers will not enjoy your loud conversation with another passenger. Keep your mobile handy, disconnect your call before entering the lift and take no further calls. Don’t burst the eardrums of fellow passengers by shouting into the phone: “the reception in the lift is poor.”
» Bumping into your boss: Lifts are not networking events – stick to a quick “hello” with a smile and keep further conversation for later.
» Grooming: Mirrored lifts are good for a quick look before the meeting, but are not to be confused with locker rooms. Brushing your hair, applying lipstick or knotting your tie is a complete no-no in this public arena.
» Holding the lift: If you spot someone running for the lift, hold the door for them. However, asking a junior or a security guard to hold the door indefinitely while you belt out last-minute instructions is unacceptable.
» Extending help: If you are standing next to the button panel in a crowded lift, politely ask fellow passengers, “which floor?” and press the required buttons. If you are at the back, make the request with a ‘please’ followed by a ‘thank you’.
» Going to the 2nd floor? Take the stairs!