Seven Essential Etiquette Tips for Grant Proposal Teams

Although we may call it by different names, etiquette is all around us, even on grant proposal teams.  Without spoken or unspoken rules of etiquette, a grant proposal team would fall apart by lunchtime.  As Emily Post once said, “any time two peoples’ lives touch each other, you have etiquette.”

Etiquette provides the glue that holds our social lives together.  Even in an informal environment, etiquette shapes our social expectations and behaviors.

Because grant proposal teams often work together on tight deadlines with the potential for big awards in high-stress environments, it is important for Proposal Managers and their teams to pay attention to several important social courtesies in order to work productively and with a minimum of social friction.

Below are my seven suggestions for good proposal team etiquette.

Show up on time.  Woody Allan once said that 80 percent of life was showing up, and he may have underestimated its importance.  Keep appointments and show up on time.  If you cannot, apologize.  Adhering to schedules shows consideration for others.

Give people your full attention.  As a Proposal Manager or member of a grant proposal team, one of the most important things you can do is to give people the courtesy of your full attention.  They will appreciate your attentiveness, and you will gain friends and respect.

Put the phone down.  Nothing says bad manners and inattention more loudly than talking on the phone during meetings and conversations with others.  If you must take a phone call, excuse yourself and later apologize.

Don’t text around others.  Nothing says bad manners and inattention more overtly than texting during meetings and conversations with others.  Whatever messages you have received can wait at least a few minutes to answer.

RSVP.  RSVP is French for “respond please.”  Put simply, this means reply.  If you have been invited to a meeting or lunch, take a few seconds to reply, whether you are coming or not.

Shake hands frequently.  This basic social skill is important in introductions and day-to-day greetings.  Stand, smile, look the other person in the eye, shake hands firmly, and repeat the name of the person.  This kind of greeting sends an important message:  “I am confident, secure, and poised, and I am pleased to meet or see you again.”

Use the phrase “Thank You” frequently.  Few of us use that simple phrase, “thank you,” enough.  In your e-mails, phone calls, and conversations, thank people for all the little and big things they are doing on your behalf.

Besides, coffee, etiquette helps us get through the day and makes good social relationships possible.  Practice good etiquette on your grant proposal team, and you will help your team perform better.


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