Q. I am a new author and want to make a great impression at book signings. How do I politely continue to pay attention to everyone around me when I have one individual who wants to monopolize the time I have for everyone?
A. S., Lafayette LA
A. It can get hectic at a signing and staying focused is key. Give your full attention to each person as they approach the table. Ask to whom they want you to sign the book and what the spelling of the name is. Even a name as simple as “John” can be spelled “Jon.”
If the person tries to strike up a conversation or monopolize your time, not only is it appropriate to end the conversation, it’s the considerate action to respect the other people who have come to meet you and have their books signed. You can be direct without being rude by saying, “I’ve enjoyed talking with you but, I should keep signing books for the other people who have come here today. Thank you so much for stopping by.” And then turn to and greet the next person.
Q. I received a handwritten note from my manager saying that she was "impressed with my development in my new role" and has noticed how I am "always trying to improve our processes," and thanks for my continued good work in my newly appointed position. My question is this: Do I respond in kind and send her a thank you note for her praise, do I thank her verbally when next I see her, or do I not respond at all?
R. S., Cascade, WI
A. I advise managers to recognize and compliment employees’ effort and initiative. That your manager has made the extra effort to put that compliment in written form is great. It’s now a part of the record of your work. Acknowledging her compliment by thanking her verbally is totally appropriate. It can be as simple as poking your head in her door and saying, “Ms. Smith, I just got your note and I wanted to thank you. I’m really enjoying working here.”
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.