Emily Post may have written the accepted rules on proper etiquette and good manners for most social occasions. However, when it comes to business etiquette rules, you may need to make some adjustments.
Why is business etiquette so important? Even though many business interactions utilize internet technology, smartphones, texting, email, and video conference calls, good manners still maintain their evergreen qualities.
Even if a candidate for a position within a company has the applicable experience and skills to handle their expected duties successfully, if a person fails to keep their etiquette skills up-to-date and polished, they might end up losing out on new opportunities.
When it comes to understanding etiquette rules for business, you will want to make it a priority to utilize rules that have the most impact. Specific scenarios are going to occur more frequently in your career, so knowing what rules to follow will help you better approach a person or event.
For the most part, you will need to know good etiquette rules worth following under the following events.
- You have to interview for a new position or are vying for a raise.
- You have to sit down with prospective partners or your boss for a formal dinner.
- You wish to build and maintain stronger networks within your organization and beyond.
Thankfully, learning and putting to use proper business etiquette can also be applied in other moments in daily life.
So, learning etiquette rules worth following in business is a valuable asset to have up your sleeve at all times. Interacting with someone who has good manners in business and other occasions is refreshing.
Importance Of Proper Business Decorum
You will find value in applying good business etiquette in a myriad of scenarios. Being someone who is good to work with, greases the social wheels with appropriate behavior, and maintains their professionalism at all times does make a difference in a workplace.
Whether is it meeting someone for an interview, or arriving at a company event, following the expected dress code is appreciated. Depending on the occasion, one might be better off wearing more casual clothing but should refrain from walking around in cut-off jean shorts and flip-flops.
Making sure to keep up a good appearance by being mindful of one’s choice of apparel speaks volumes about personal brand, presentation, and fitting in with company culture.
When in doubt, make sure to ask and confirm what attire is appropriate to wear.
If a superior in the workplace has committed a faux pas, or a co-worker has accidentally left behind documents exposing information not meant for everyone’s eyes, showing discretion is good manners. Find a polite way to inform someone that they need to adjust their clothing, remove something garish from their teeth, or give people a chance to claim items that shouldn’t be laying around.
If you find yourself working in a cubicle instead of an enclosed office with a door, it can be challenging working in such close proximity to others. Focus on the work in front of you, and do not get involved in office gossip, or conversations to which you are not privy.
When possible, it is better to eat snacks or lunch in a designated area, instead of helping your surrounding co-workers to unwanted odors wafting from your workspace as you chow down.
If you want to be social with your co-workers, you should get up and walk over to their cubicle, instead of shouting overhead or peering down on them from above.
- A Smile And A Handshake Can Go A Long Way
There’s no need to deliver a bone-crushing handshake, but a genuine and firm handshake will certainly fare well in the business world. Additionally, it pays to offer a smile and make eye contact when speaking to individuals, giving a handshake, and remembering to use people’s names correctly.
If a co-worker is let go from the company, it is best to keep things short, sweet, and with a touch of sensitivity. Saying “I’m sorry,” is better than giving awkward stares, stammering and making excuses, or pointing fingers with the blame game.
Any employee of a company at any time can be discharged for various reasons, and the event can be a shock emotionally, financially, and psychologically.
Give people their time to grieve and offer to help an ex-employee move on with an intimate get-together if possible. Offering to help with future job searches may be appreciated if you can forward resumes or be available as a professional reference.
In a professional setting, it is best to use your full name when on the phone, speaking to clients, and to stand for introductions. Be mindful of correctly pronouncing other’s names, and ask for the correct pronunciation or for the name they prefer to be called.
Saying “Thank you,” goes a long way. It is valuable to say thank you a few times in conversations if warranted. Sending a follow-up email to say thank you to co-workers, a boss, or clients promotes positive vibes and a memorable presence.
It is a good idea to send a thank you note within a 24 hour period, and if applicable, it may be better to choose an email over a handwritten note.
- Watch The Gestures And Body Language
Avoid crossing your legs when seated. When speaking to others, try not to cover your eyes, mouth, nose, or touch your face too often, because it may be a sign that you are being dishonest or holding something back.
It is rude to point, but if you must, use an open palm to point at something which comes off less aggressive to others.
Business dinners are an expected event, and when they occur, it is best to keep some things in mind. When breaking bread, do so with your hands, and butter pieces as you go along instead of the whole roll.
Try to follow your dinner guest and eat a similar amount or style dishes when it comes to ordering appetizers, courses, or dessert to keep everyone feeling more comfortable.
Be mindful of dietary restrictions when choosing a restaurant for a guest or client, if you want to impress.
If you are the host of a dinner event, you are to pay, not the guests invited.
Know which choice of cutlery or silverware to use for specific dishes, how they should be placed, and utilize them appropriately.
When you have finished with your meal, you can put your fork and knife at the 3 o’clock position on your plate. Do not stack your dishes and let the waitstaff do their job.
If you are seated for a professional dining experience, it is frowned upon to ask for a to-go box. The focus of the meal should be about business, not scooping up leftovers.
Make sure to have a smooth exit if needed. You do not want to leave the table or an event leaving people feeling offended, or having a feeling that you are harried, bored, or appear that you are escaping.
There is a saying about time and money, and it is true. When it comes to meeting people for an interview, arriving for an event or dinner meeting, or making a conference call, timing matters. Make sure to be punctual to show that you value everyone’s time and that you are focused on business.
Give yourself enough time to prepare before headed out, so you do not look or feel rushed when you do arrive. Being punctual is a good sign that you are respectful of other people’s schedule and your own because once your time is gone, it’s lost for good.
- Show Genuine Interest And Use Conversation Etiquette
When speaking to people, use good eye contact, use people’s names, and show that you are engaged in the conversation. Avoid playing around on your phone, computer, and listen with focus. If you make people feel ignored, they will remember how distracted you were, and how little regard you have for their input.
If you forget someone’s name or job title, feel free to introduce yourself or do a reintroduction if necessary. Help make newcomers feel welcome by introducing them to others, asking questions, and showing them the ropes.
When people are speaking, wait for a pause to interject. Hold off on blurting out any great ideas that come up during a conversation, and don’t be quick to interrupt or talk over others.
Make sure to avoid using any vulgar language in a conversation, as this is not a professional move. Language that casts judgment or involves abusive swearing is an absolute no-no.
- Good Business Etiquette Goes The Distance
When in a professional setting, you are constantly being scrutinized for your behavior, conversation, and presence.
Maintaining a solid and reliable brand is critical to one’s value, assessment of performance, and can influence salary and job title. In the end, using “Please,” and “Thank you,” often have more impact than you might think, and remembering people’s names when speaking in conversations.