To establish a successful career, you have to be more than an outstanding professional. You have to build a network. And to socialize well with your colleagues, customers, associates, and potential investors, you should know the rules of business etiquette.
Etiquette aims to create a comfortable, secure environment for communication by considering the interests of all the people involved to minimize misunderstandings. If you are unaware of them, you risk presenting yourself in a disadvantageous manner, and you can end up embarrassing yourself.
In the business world, no matter what role you have or what business you run, these rules still apply. If you want to show some professionalism and earn respect, here are the rules to follow.
1. Dress accordingly
Your looks are the first thing people notice about you. You don’t want to get embarrassed by being the only one dressed awkwardly for work or an event. If you are unsure of what to wear, pick business casual for the office and business formal for meetings.
If you are attending an event such as a networking conference, check to see if there are dress code instructions and follow them. If there are none, a business casual look is a safe bet.
Take time and learn the rules of dress codes and stick to your company’s dress code rules. Being familiar with the dress codes helps you bring out your individuality while still sticking to the rules. For instance, you can always add a personal touch with your accessories such as cufflinks, ties, or even custom socks.
2. Give a firm handshake
Whether you are meeting someone new or an associate, always give a firm handshake. It conveys confidence, sincerity, professionalism, and warmth. It shows that you are pleased to meet them.
3. Use your full names when introducing yourself
A lot of people are bad when it comes to remembering names. You often run into people you have met before, and it’s clear they cannot remember your name. For instance, if you attend a networking event, introduce yourself by your full names.
Also, stand up when introducing yourself. This way, you distinguish yourself from everyone else they have met. It also makes it easier to find you on social media platforms.
4. Introduce others
If you are at an event or any gathering with your business associates, always introduce them to your colleagues, partners, clients, or even to other business associates. This way, you break the ice instead of leaving them baffled, wondering who everyone is. Not formally introducing them will look rude and unprofessional.
5. Avoid eating at your desk
Eating your food at your desk subjects your colleagues to sounds and smells that can be quite distracting. Sometimes it can be hard to find time in your schedule to leave your desk and eat, but it is essential to do so even if it is for a few minutes. It is preferable to eat elsewhere such as in the breakroom or at a canteen.
6. Be polite to everyone
While it might seem obvious, it is essential to be polite while conducting any business. Saying please, thank you, pardon me, sorry, or you are welcome are some of the ways you can be polite while showing your gratitude and appreciation of others.
7. Remember people’s names
Remembering the names of other people, whether they are your co-workers it business associates, shows that you are interested in them and what they have to say. Also, if you refer to people by their names that are more likely to be more helpful and more receptive to you and what you have to say.
8. Always knock
An office or cubicle is someone’s personal space, so it is polite to knock rather than barging in. Even if you are familiar with them, it is still essential to show that you respect their workspace. Knocking conveys politeness, patience, and respect even when you have something urgent to say or show them.
9. Don’t go overboard while thanking someone
While showing gratitude is admirable, you have to be careful at the extent to which you show it. There is a thin line separating being grateful and sounding desperate and insecure. One confident and sincere thank you or show of appreciation is enough.
10. Be mindful of your phone use
Your phone is a big part of your life, and even at work, it is hard to stay away from it. However, you have to be mindful of how and when you use it while at work. If you are in a meeting, put your phone away and pay attention to what is going on. It is impolite to overshare your personal life with your workmates, so take your calls in private.
Avoid taking private calls in shared office spaces or even the washrooms. If you have to take or make a call, do so in a private place. Also, avoid using your work phone to place personal calls.
11. Email rules
Before sending an email, make sure that you are sending it to the right people. This way, you avoid spamming and distracting your colleagues. Respond to messages promptly and comprehensively, paying close attention to your tone. This shows that you took the time to read the email. Always proofread your emails before hitting the send button to remove any typos and other mistakes.
12. Maintain eye contact
Always maintain eye contact when speaking or listening to colleagues, employees, clients, or business associates. You show that you are genuinely interested in what they are saying, and you are paying attention.
13. Be punctual or on time
Always keep time, whether it is getting to work, for a meeting or an event. Time is money, and keeping time shows that you value their time. In case you run late, it is polite to inform the other person before the time you had set to meet.
Business etiquette goes further than just being sharply dressed. By observing these simple rules of etiquette when engaging in business, you are poised to go much further in your career and achieve more.
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