I just finished watching the Netflix series “Suits” and I loved the scenes in the high-rise buildings. Especially when they were getting off the elevators. It seemed as if someone was always ready to greet the main character, Harvey Specter, as the elevator doors opened. No one was pushing their way on or off the elevator. They were all very civil as they entered and exited the elevator and I bet those high-powered attorneys were just as polite in the elevator. At least while the cameras were rolling.
That’s usually not what happens in the real world. Many times, we’re met with a throng of people trying to enter the elevator as we’re trying to exit. Or there’s someone talking loudly next to us on their cellphone. That’s where this blog post comes in. Here are some things to keep in mind the next time you press that elevator button.
Entering and Exiting an Elevator
When waiting for an elevator, stand a few feet back to allow people on the elevator to exit when it arrives. If you stand too close, there won’t be enough room for them to exit. Instead, stand to the side to allow those on board to exit before you enter the elevator.
Traditionally, a gentleman would enter the elevator first to make space for the lady and when they arrived at their floor, the lady would exit the elevator first. When I see someone still practice this tradition it makes my heart happy. With today’s modern manners, many choose not to follow this tradition and instead allow anyone to go first.
Be aware of others as they make their way on or off the elevator with you. Allow a person in a wheelchair, someone with a cane or walker, a pregnant woman or someone with a stroller to enter and exit first. Hold the elevator door and say: “After you!”
Elevator etiquette in a business situation is slightly different. In a business environment, the person with the higher ranking or a client would be the first to enter and exit the elevator. If there are several people in your party, hold the door for them as they enter and exit.
In the Elevator
Keep in mind that the idea around etiquette and manners is to be aware of how your actions affect others. In a confined space, such as an elevator, we need to be extra mindful of our behavior. Having a personal conversation in that space can make the people who are overhearing it feel uncomfortable.
Here are some things to keep in mind about cellphones in an elevator:
Make space for everyone as they enter the elevator. If it’s crowded, don’t squeeze on. Wait for the next one.
As you step into the elevator, push the button for your floor. If you’re in the elevator with others and standing next to the button panel, offer to push their button by asking “What floor?”
Many of these tips can also be applied to trains, buses and subways.
Whether you’re in a high-rise building or using public transportation, keep these tips in mind as you channel your inner Harvey Specter.
Suzy Lins is a certified etiquette trainer located in Southern California. Educating on manners and etiquette to help people gain confidence to master business and social situations is the core of her teaching.