Today, the Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry of Singapore continues to thrive, propelled by Asia’s steady economic growth.
In the MICE industry, networking is equivalent to our net worth. In the course of work, communicating and interacting with different stakeholders such as colleagues in the company, service providers, clients and government agencies is inevitable. Generally, first impressions are easily formed through various business interactions. These may be positive or negative. Some instances of creating good first impressions include giving friendly smiles, making eye contact, presenting a well-groomed image of oneself as well as projecting enthusiastic and confident attitude when approaching potential clients or other professionals.
However, as compared to positive first impressions, negative impressions often linger the longest. What appeals to one person may not apply to another. Hence, it is highly recommended to comprehend the different negative impressions that may be intentionally or unintentionally cultivated across various circumstances, and avoid them as best as possible.
Therefore, to successfully continue building positive work relationships without being a subject of negative impression, business professionals should be equipped with the fundamental social etiquette when communicating with the various MICE stakeholders (Management Study Guide (MSG), 2017).
Working in the MICE industry requires meeting different stakeholders in the industry. Stakeholders include clients, venue providers, meeting planners, attendees, and even colleagues within the company. However, MICE professionals often forget the importance of manners and etiquette in the way they present and express themselves.
Often, social etiquette is slighted in situations where MICE professionals become overly familiar with their clients or other stakeholders, stepping beyond implicit boundaries or even in situations where individuals are not being trained on how to professionally portray themselves. Additionally, the lack of social etiquette can be attributed to personal nonchalance or personal focus on other goals such as reaching sales targets.
As a MICE professional, such neglect may lead to the development of an unfavourable reputation and lost business opportunities. Hence, observing social etiquette plays a key role in this people-oriented industry.
Objective of Study
Etiquette is what sets human beings aparts. The aim of this study is to explore the key types of etiquette in the MICE industry. Types of etiquette to be covered are: social etiquette, meeting etiquette, email etiquette, eating etiquette and business etiquette.
Through this study, the importance of etiquette and education of future MICE professionals on the proper mannerisms to observe when working in the industry will be illustrated.
Potential Solutions/ Implementation for Problem Resolution
A survey conducted across 40 professional services firm by Kessler International outlined the state of workplace manners, etiquette and ethics. Through this survey, it was found out that 84% of respondents indicated that staff was inconsiderate and rude in the workplace. In addition, 56% of respondents felt that staff lack moral ethics (Kessler International, 2017). Therefore, despite many MICE professionals being in the industry for a long period of time, there is an existing knowledge gap as many of them are oblivious to such necessary workplace etiquette.
Social Etiquette – Observing the way one act in public is important so as to not offend or annoy people. Showing respect by not stereotyping is recommended, and you may even charm the other party as a result. For example, one should always ask when in doubt, and not cast assumptions on to a person based on his or her demographics or psychographics.
Meeting Etiquette – At meetings, it is important to be respectful towards the speaker. Always pay full attention to what the other person has to say and switch off your phone to silent mode to avoid distractions or disruptions (Barker, 2016).
Email Etiquette – Upon having conflicts, one should never get “email angry” by expressing anger or disparaging others through emails. An email correspondence lasts forever and once an email is sent, it could never be retracted. Instead, one should calm down and talk it out face-to-face to resolve the conflict (Hubb, 2017).
Business Etiquette – In the MICE industry, ethics is important to create a reputation. It may be tough at times and one may think of different ways in order to secure the business. However, always be ethical so as to maintain long term relationships with stakeholders. For example, one should not offer sexual favours just to seal the deal. Instead, one should negotiate based on their capabilities (PCMA, n.d.).
Eating Etiquette – During networking lunches, no matter how hungry you are or how appetising the food may be, observing table manners is important. Never talk with your mouth full or take from others’ plate. Food is not the priority, establishing relationships at the table is the key to seal the deal (Barker, 2016).
Still, the crux of obtaining the wisdom of proper workplace etiquette is in fact, through continuous learning and observation in the workplace, picking up organisation cultural norms in the process.
Data Collection/ Research Method
Both primary and secondary sources were utilised to collect the relevant data. Primary sources were utilised predominantly, citing direct observation methods and personal interviews with the career services faculty for inputs.
During a personal interview with Ms Kelly Chan from the career services faculty, she elaborated on the different aspects to take note of when individuals are engaging in networking sessions. During internship, personal experiences in the workplace such as company culture and email etiquette were observed.
To effectively illustrate the relevant workplace scenarios, additional secondary sources such as relevant trade publications or online articles were utilised to supplement and support the information provided.
The different acceptable approaches to various prevalent MICE work scenarios will help and enable a MICE professional to portray oneself in a responsible manner acceptable in the industry.
Being in a people-oriented industry, learning how to behave like a hospitality MICE professional will earn a person respect, appreciation and individual network value. The way each individual behaves and interacts with industry stakeholders reflects the company’s reputation. In addition, this speaks a lot about one’s upbringing and background. Therefore, displaying positive etiquette in diverse scenarios such as meeting, social and business will also help an individual to frame a lasting and favourable first impression, which is beneficial to any MICE professional when dealing with different stakeholders in this industry. Etiquette inculcates a feeling of trust and loyalty in individuals as one will seem more responsible and mature, therefore, assisting in establishing long term relationships (Williams, 2017).
The MICE industry is a dynamic and people-oriented business where various stakeholders gather and establish professional relationships every day. Knowing how to carry oneself as a MICE professional when dealing with the different stakeholders will help one to go a long way in building professional networks and career development.
To conclude, etiquette transforms a man into a gentleman, and a woman into a fine lady. An appropriate attitude and etiquette will definitely make a MICE professional stronger and be respected by everyone that he or she come into contact with.
–Revised as at 16/03/17–
Barker, H. (2016). Etiquette of event planners – things you should and should not do. Event Manager Blog. Retrieved 4 March 2017, from http://www.eventmanagerblog.com/etiquette-of-event-planners
Chron. (2017). Benefits of professional business etiquette. Chron. Retrieved from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/benefits-professional-business-etiquette-68902.html
Hubb. (2017, Jan 26). Email etiquette for email professionals. Retrieved from http://blog.hubb.me/email-etiquette-for-event-professionals?utm_campaign=crowdfire&utm_content=crowdfire&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter#249026319-tw#1486088875674
Kessler International. (2017). Survey shows workplace etiquette and ethics lacking in workplace. Retrieved from https://investigation.com/2015/01/08/survey-shows-workplace-etiquette-and-ethics-lacking-in-workplace/
Management Study Guide. (2017). Etiquette – meaning, its need and types of etiquettes. Retrieved from http://www.managementstudyguide.com/what-is-etiquette.htm
Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA). (n.d.). Principles of professional and ethical conduct. Retrieved from http://www.pcma.org/docs/pcma-defined-docs/code_of_ethics.pdf?sfvrsn=0