Although termed as going against the socially accepted norms, my personal favorite definition is more literal, "missteps, or false steps". Since I was at the Animal Welfare Symposium all day, I decided to keep some notes on behaviors and attitudes that are just unacceptable in a professional setting, and all of which I guarantee you happened today.
1) Spilling food on yourself. Everyone does it, but that doesn't mean you ever want to be the one. Spilling food on yourself can be embarrassing, even before you also consider the occasional super embarrassing spots you can drop food or drink. The only thing worse than spilling food on yourself is spilling it on someone else. But if you are spilled on, consider it a favor. That person severely owes you in the future and you would be wise not to let them forget it.
2) Cutting your colleagues off in the parking lot or even a few miles down the road. Just because you are out of the meeting, that doesn't mean your peers and colleagues might not be just behind you or beside you as you make your way down the road. It goes without saying that you should be courteous on the road, but ever more so when you are leaving a meeting where you are hoping that some people will favorably remember you.
3) Striking up conversation in the bathroom. Men, you better really know a guy well if you think you're going to start a conversation at the urinal. Talk about ultimate awkward... it's best just to avoid any conversation in the bathroom and save it for where normal conversations take place.
4) Taking this one step further, I would like to specifically degrade the man who caught a presenter in the bathroom to tell him how much he liked the guy's talk. Well, despite whether or not this bit of praise mattered to said presenter, any brownie points gained were lost before they had been tallied. To make matters worse, he proceeded to correct the presenter's grammar on a particular slide, criticizing him for his use of "disinterested" instead of "uninterested". Speaking of, he probably also wrote this link.
5) Pretending to care about people you don't give a hoot about is nearly as rude as blowing them off. There is a way to be both formal and unfriendly while professionally communicative to people you don't like, unless of course you are good enough at pretending to take interest in those you dislike in a convincing, falsely genuine manner.
6) Finally, never make the mistake of assuming you know something about people only to find out your error after the fact. Most people like talking about themselves, so ask questions and let them remind you of what you most likely forgot.
I leave you with the following picture, courtesy of floatingfoam.com.