With the help of The Etiquette Edge: The Unspoken Rules for Business Success, a book by Beverly Langford, readers learn the ins and outs of business etiquette that will help improve relationships, advance their careers, and avoid awkward situations in the workplace. A copy of this resource is available in the Career Development Office.

The book is well-organized: it consists three parts, and each chapter within those parts concludes with a “Bottom Line” section that summarizes the chapter’s key points. There are many real-life and hypothetical examples throughout the book that help the reader understand and apply the main principles.

The first part discusses generally the concept of courtesy and its importance in helping establish and maintain credibility in the workplace. In particular, the author highlights techniques for making and keeping promises, listening effectively, communicating nonverbally, using cell phones responsibly, and travelling.

Part two elaborates on workplace behavior and how to interact with bosses and peers. Specifically, the book offers advice for interviewing and starting at a new job, sharing office space with other employees, using email conscientiously, dressing appropriately, dealing with difficult personalities, dining out on business occasions, working with members of the opposite gender, and leaving a job gracefully.

The final section explains how to handle sensitive issues in the workplace. First, the author gives tips on handling certain discretionary issues, such as deciding when and how to make or give an apology and determining whether one should complain about a problem or just let it slide. Additionally, this part discusses dealing with other sensitive issues, such as how to give and receive bad news, interact with peers who have recently experienced a death or other personal tragedy, and communicate courteously with colleagues from other cultures.

All in all, this book contains a vast array of business etiquette issues and serves as a great resource to anyone in (or about to enter) the professional world. Its short chapters (each one lasts only 5-10 pages) and simple style allow for easy understanding and quick reference regardless of whether the reader is interested in a general survey of etiquette or simply a particular issue.