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Sprinkled, glazed...just don't consume too much

By Joyce Grant

There are doughnuts with sprinkles, glaze and filling. Plain doughnuts, and doughnut holes. You may not like every doughnut in a box, but if you look long enough, you’ll find something you can digest.

So it is with the book, Don’t Take the Last Donut. The (American, hence the spelling of doughnut) author of this book has included everything you could possibly want to know about office etiquette. She tells you the right things to do when in a meeting, at a business function, being introduced or having dinner with colleagues. She tells you what to wear, how to e-mail and use the telephone, and even how to pull into a client’s parking lot (don’t, for instance, park the car and then put on your lipstick or adjust your nylons. Office buildings have big windows.)

A reference guide

This glut of information turns the book into reference material. A box of assorted tips that you can keep on hand for the right occasion. And just like with doughnuts, consuming too much at once would be unhealthy.

For instance, while Bowman may be able to keep in mind, when sitting in the CEO’s office: the chair to select, and the perfect positioning of the hands, location on the seat, spacing from the spine to the chair back (a V is best, leaning forward to imply interest), leg position and facial expression… the rest of us may be forgiven if the only thing we remember is, “don’t burp.”

Fortunately, the book is liberally sprinkled with tidbits of useful information that can be used in the real world (see sidebar, below).

Each chapter is broken into bite-sized pieces for easy digestion, with bullets, tips, recaps and subheads used throughout.

Don’t Take the Last Donut is available from, or at

Some tasty tidbits from the book

Getting control…

“When being seated in business, endeavour to identify and get the control seat – the one facing the door… the more you exude control, the more purpose you convey to your business counterpart, earning trust, respect and confidence.” (The book goes on to mention that Donald’s Trump’s Carolyn Kepcher used to do this. When her male counterparts respectfully allowed her to enter a meeting room first, she would grab the seat to the right of The Donald, so everyone assumed she was his right-hand manager.)

Resist the urge to grab a drink and leave...

“No one invites us anywhere in business because they believe we need to be fed. We are invited for one of two reasons: As a way to say thank-you for your business; or because others believe you have something to contribute.”

An awkward moment...

“Challenge: You are in a group at work when a senior manager approaches with an important customer in tow. The manager introduces the customer to other members of the group but inadvertently overlooks you. What do you do? Solution: This is a faux pas on the part of your senior manager. However, you must use tact and discretion to rectify this. Do not roll over and give up. Rather, wait for an opening, such as eye contact from the client, then extend your hand and introduce yourself quickly and succinctly. Adopt an air of confidence, warmth, and professionalism.”

What to do when you’re presenting and your audience looks bored...

“Take your own energy up a notch. Convey through voice and body language that you are high energy and this will be contagious. Change up subject matter and your physical positioning in the room. Your efforts to regain control and command attention will be realized. Or, you can try an unscheduled role-play to get the audience re-involved or call an unscheduled break to regroup.”

This article appeared in the December 2007 issue of 
Administrative Assistant’s Update, a monthly publication of Carswell, a Thomson business.
Tel: 508-888-7800   E-mail: Judith Bowman

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