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Resolved: 2 ticklish office etiquette situations

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in Business Etiquette,Workplace Communication

Knowing whether or not to tell your CEO that he has spinach stuck in his teeth is one sure test of your etiquette skills. (Answer: Tell him, but discreetly.) How would you handle the two difficult or embarrassing situations below?

Situation 1. You find a personal—and potentially embarrassing—document left behind on the photocopier.

Solution: Normally, you'd put forgotten pages in a tray beside the copier, for people to claim later. In this case, though, deliver the document in person, advises Peter Post, author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business. And don't peruse its contents.

"Save the person any worry," writes Post, "by volunteering: 'I didn't read this when I opened the copier lid, but I could tell it was private and thought I'd drop it by.'"

Situation 2. The boss is expecting a visitor any moment, and you notice his fly is open. You wonder whether you should tell him or just hope someone else does.

Solution: If you're a man, tell him. If you're a woman, ask one of the guys in the office to let him know.

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