Business etiquette is a practical and profitable social skill that plays an important role in career success, building better relationships and increasing professionalism. The ability to successfully relate to and engage with co-workers, clients and prospects are key interpersonal skills. Professionals who arm themselves with the principles of business etiquette distinguish themselves in the workplace – and beyond – and display a confident professional presence.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit."
No one wants to work with mean, aggressive people. Kindness, attitude and respect go a long way. It represents leadership, respect and consideration for one another. Companies hire likeable people who know right from wrong, and companies promote those people who continually exhibit such qualities. It’s as simple as that.
Treating others like you’d like to be treated (the good old Golden Rule) exemplifies consummate business etiquette. From handshakes to punctuality, to kindness and character, business etiquette matters – a lot – in the workplace. Here are 12 foundational business etiquette tips to establishing great relationships and career success.
- Common Courtesies- Whether you're speaking to a janitor or CEO, please, thank you and you're welcome go a long way in showing respect, consideration, and politeness.
- The Handshake- When meeting a person for the first time, a firm handshake coupled with good eye contact creates a great first impression.
- Please, Take My Chair- Nothing showcases courtesy more than giving up your seat to let someone who needs to sit down more than you do.
- Remember Names- Remembering names is an important skill on so many levels. It not only makes a person feel good to hear their name, it shows you're listening and that person you're meeting and conversing with matters to you.
- Opening and Holding the Door- It's a simple act of kindness and unlocks so much good. What's even better is the "Thank you" and "You're welcome" that follow!
- Dress Appropriately- Dressing professionally says you take your job seriously and respect your organization as well as those with whom you work. Dressing for the job also communicates your level of professionalism, confidence and credibility.
- Take Responsibility for Your Mistakes- To err is human; we all make mistakes. Own up to it - whatever it is. Apologize and offer a solution.
- Modulate Your Voice- There's nothing ruder than talking on the phone (especially when using public transportation) or chatting with a fellow co-worker for all to hear. Taking your volume down a couple of notches is not only good manners but good for office productivity.
- The Elevator- The plain and simple elevator decorum is this: Allow people to exit the elevator before entering. Men should allow women to enter and exit before them. Pleasantries are always welcome such as "Good morning," "Good evening," and "Have a nice day!"
- Be on Time - Arriving late for a business meeting or lunch without notifying them that you're running behind is rude. Everyone's time is valuable. Arriving early, on the other hand, shows preparedness and respect.
- The Gift of Gab- Making small talk with others exhibits confidence and kindness. It helps others relax, engage others in conversation and build rapport.
- Attitude is Everything- Your technical abilities are important, but it's your attitude and character that will make you shine. Your attitude can determine your success or even derail your career.
About the Author:
Nancy Schnoebelen Imbs is an empowering professional development consultant, dynamic motivational speaker and author. Highly dedicated and results-oriented, she has the skill and passion for helping individuals become more confident and successful in business and beyond. She and her company Polished help clients focus on key adjustments that result in meaningful impact and effectiveness.