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What are good manners?

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Quick Answer

Good manners are behaviors deemed polite or respectful in a given culture. Saying "please" and "thank you" are simple examples of good manners in American culture.

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Full Answer

Manners, rules of etiquette or norms are often divided into different categories. Good social manners refer to a person's ability to interact with others in a way that is respectful and appreciated. Looking someone in the eyes in a conversation, waiting for a turn to speak, listening actively and holding the door are examples of basic social manners.

Table manners or dinner etiquette include norms during sit-down meals. Placing a napkin on the lap, sitting up straight, chewing with a closed mouth, not belching or slurping and cutting meat with a knife and fork are common examples of good table manners.

The business world has its own set of good manners and etiquette. A guest should follow the lead of a host during a business meeting or meal. Standing and offering a firm handshake and friendly smile is an accepted way of meeting someone new in a professional setting. Sending a thank-you note after meeting a prospect is also proper. In a professional office, good manners include respecting the space of colleagues and coworkers, maintaining a clean-smelling environment and keeping a tidy workspace.

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