In every social setting, there is a certain set of ‘rules’ to follow and the business world is no different. Courtesy and manners are fundamental in that how you present yourself to others in the business world speaks volumes.
From answering a phone or replying to that email to how simple introductions, here are a few etiquette tips you need to adhere to:
1. Remember to take your manners with you. Phrases like ‘please,’ ‘thank you,’ and ‘welcome,’ have to be in your everyday vocabulary. Thank you is one that most people don’t acknowledge. It changes an expectation to appreciation; and whether you got the deal or not or whether you’re from an interview, always take the time to write and send a thank you note or email.
2. Know people’s names. It is very important to develop a relationship with partners, clients and employees and all this starts by knowing the details of these people. It isn’t a matter of knowing everything about them but basics like knowing their names can be a make or break situation for you. However, sometimes we might forget a person’s name, for example while making an introduction. Rather than forfeiting the introduction all together, just start with, “I’m sorry, your name has just slipped my mind.”
3. Handshakes. A handshake leaves a powerful impression. From the home to an event to the office, a strong confident handshake sets the tone for conversation and in the business fraternity, a rapport for future business association.
4. Electronic etiquette:
- Emails: Emails are an example of professional correspondence. Unless it is someone you know very well and have an already personal relationship, stay clear of smileys and other emoticons. Also make sure you double check on spelling mistakes that you may have in your email.
- Mobile phones: Phones can be a true lifesaver especially when an urgent matter comes up. However, since we are being professional, adhere to business hours if it is business matters. Don’t start calling people at 11 p.m. to confirm whether a meeting is still going to take place. When and if you do remember an urgent matter you need to confirm, you can write an email, save it in your draft folder and send it in the morning.
- Avoid wearing earphones and headphones all the time: Yes there are times you crave moments of peace and your own choice of music, but headphones are a ‘Do not disturb’ sign and his might send an unfriendly gesture to others.
5. Time: Time is a gift that cannot be taken back, so if you have the opportunity cease it. Make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before hand. You’ll have the time to catch your breath, compose yourself and prepare for the meeting. Arriving early also shows you have a sense of respect for people’s time, if not your own.
6. Timeliness: If there is a time factor in the equation, always make sure you keep mind of this. Don’t be late for deadlines or project submissions.
7. Focus on the people you’re with: Whenever you’re speaking to or listening to someone speak, it is always vital to focus all your attention on them. Don’t get distracted especially by your phone. If you get a call or text message at that moment, ignore it, it can wait a few minutes. But don’t forget to reply an unanswered call. Be timely in returning calls, especially in the first 24 hours.
8. Always dress appropriately: Office attire should always stay smart and conservative. Always keep in mind who you’re going to meet and dress accordingly. You can get some tips here and here.
9. Take responsibility of your mistakes: There are no two ways about this. First, apologize sincerely. Second, offer a solution to the problem which was made.
10. Respect everyone: No matter what rank a person is in, make sure you show a desirable amount of respect and always be kind to the wait staff. They go out of their way to make sure that you’re comfortable, the least you can do is show them a bit of respect and appreciation as well.