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Office Etiquette: Ways of Addressing People

How to address your boss and colleagues? That is the question.

It is a headache for some 40 percent of people starting out on their careers according to the latest survey conducted by recruitment website Zhaopin.com of 6,000 working people, as cited by today's Oriental Morning Post.

In the results Zhaopin disclosed, 23 percent of novice employees are at a loss as to how to address their bosses and colleagues, while one-third said they have quickly managed to get accustomed to their companies' style of address. Only 5 percent saw it as no problem at all.

The survey indicates most working people prefer to be addressed directly by their Chinese names (66 percent), or, less favored, by their English names (17 percent). Fewer-still like to be addressed by their titles (7 percent) or as sisters or brothers (5 percent).

In reality, on business occasions, most people address their customers by their titles (65 percent) such as "manager", and many like to use Ms. or Mr. (31 percent). Only 3 percent use the other parties' English names and 1 percent adopt "comrade", the previously popular form of address.

English names are most often used in foreign companies (31 percent) while titles are most favored in state-owned enterprises (45 percent).

When addressing bosses, using titles scored highest, at 33 percent, among all types of enterprise and nicknames were the least used (2 percent). Chinese names (16 percent), English names (9 percent) and addressing someone as "teacher"(8 percent) were also used.

(Shanghai Daily August 3, 2005)

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