Six Business Etiquette Tips – Make Your Impression Count!

Every business concern, irrespective of the product or service on offer, is inherently people oriented. We are in a day and age where globalization is rapid and our interactions with people across various platforms is at the core of our business transactions. These interactions have a direct impact on our businesses at a profound level. In such a scenario, awareness and practice of ethics and business etiquette is vital. Business etiquette, simply put, is a set of manners that is accepted or required in any given profession. Often unwritten and upheld by custom, it is enforced by societal conditions and professional ethics. A violation of the same may prove detrimental and can have a lasting impact. In this article we will take a look at 6 simple business etiquette practices that will help you put your best foot forward!

1. Introductions

Unless you know that a person is already acquainted with the other person, always make it a point to introduce one to the other as a formal gesture of politeness. This courteous act will always make one feel valued and important even when in the company of unfamiliar people, especially in a formal environment.

The handshake is still the standard for professionalism

Just as the English language is the international language of communication and commerce, there are certain standards of professionalism that are immutable regardless of which culture you encounter in the course of your professional journey. The handshake is right up there on top of the list. The humble handshake communicates that one is confident and firm, yet approachable.

2. Always say “Please” & “Thank you”

There are hardly any words in the English language that are more polite than “please” and “thank you”. This is manners and courtesy at its simplest and will never fail you. Always remember to express your gratitude for every level of assistance your receive.

3. Please don’t interrupt

Someone once said that there is a reason we have two ears and one mouth – so that we may listen more and talk less. We have become a generation of excessive talkers always in a hurry to state our point. In a professional setting we must curb the itch to interject someone mid-conversation regardless of what we think or how we may feel about the topic. We will always get our chance to speak and when that chance comes, we must know how to put forth our point with courtesy and respect to the other opinions shared.

4. Appropriate language

Sometimes as colleagues get familiar with each other, it is easy to settle into more candid mannerisms of communication. But professionalism must be maintained at all times regardless of the comfort level within the workplace. Intimate or casual language must be avoided at all costs and appropriate terms or jargon must be used according to the needs and circumstances.

5. Written communication

In this modern age of emails, business correspondence is flying more frequently across the web than before. Etiquette is not confined to only spoken or face-to-face communication but also to digital interactions. Always make sure to double-check emails and letters for grammatical errors and especially tone of voice before you click the ‘send’ button.

6. Avoid touchy topics

While casual banter is a part of every workplace, there are certain topics that are off-limits in most places around the world, for example; politics and religion. Regardless of one’s views and opinions on the most trending topic on the local news or social media, one must refrain from discussing such issues within the context of a workplace. Remember it is very easy to get pulled into a personal battle. Always be on guard and remember to stay calm and objective through all situations.

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Powerful Business Etiquette Tips

Have you observed social gaffes and just plain inappropriate behavior at business meetings? Have you ever seen someone make a fool of themselves in a business meeting? Do you feel comfortable in knowing what to do as proper business etiquette in a business meeting? It is very important to know proper business etiquette because it is very critical to your image and the relationship building process.

In my business career and in particular, during my business coaching endeavors, I have learned some very powerful tips to help avoid mistakes in business etiquette that are so easy to make. Your strategic thinking business coach wants to share ten (10) of my favorites. Here they are:

Business Etiquette Tip #1: Always pay attention when someone is talking with you. This is one of the best tips and a great compliment to give the other person.

Business Etiquette Tip #2: Use a firm handshake when being introduced to someone. This shows confidence, warmth, openness and sincerity. Avoid a strong aggressive grip handshake, which makes you appear insensitive and domineering.

Business Etiquette Tip #3: Only speak after the other person has stopped talking. It is very rude to interrupt. This will indicate you are polite and will enable you to listen better, which will enhance your becoming a great conversationalist.

Business Etiquette Tip #4: When speaking, use a calm and even voice and a volume to suit the business situation.

Business Etiquette Tip #5: Dress appropriately for the business meeting situation only “dress down” only the host or hostess of the meeting has given permission.

Business Etiquette Tip #6: Squarely face the person you are speaking with and avoid turning your body away from that person. This behavior can be insulting and very negative.

Business Etiquette Tip #7: Always obey the rules about smoking. Remember that when you light up to smoke you will be instantly disliked by those who do not like smoke and even by those people that do.

Business Etiquette Tip #8: When drinking alcohol, always hold your drink in your left hand. This enables you to shake someone’s hand with your right hand. And it keeps your right hand dry and warm. And remember to always control your drinking!

Business Etiquette Tip #9: Record the person’s name, along with contact and personal and business information in your personal organizer. Visualize the person as you do this and repeat their name aloud a few times also.

Business Etiquette Tip #10: Always respect the other person’s “comfort zone” which is about 3 feet around a person’s body. Be sensitive to avoid standing too close and invading the person’s “comfort zone” which will cause them to dislike your intimidating and insensitive behavior. And be careful with touching gestures. The only safe place to touch another person is the hand when you shake hands.

Appropriate Behavior of Business Etiquette

Professional Etiquette is an important facet of working in a business environment. In the workplace, people understand that there needs to exist a certain type of behavioral dynamic that makes it possible to work harmoniously with others by adhering to minimum standards or norms of appropriate interactions. While there are numerous resources on a wide range of subjects that deal with professional etiquette, in this article we are going to look at, what some would consider more trivial aspects of behavior in the workplace, but which are just as important as the others:

Let’s begin with cell phones. If a phone call must be taken at the workplace it is considered professional to speak in a low volume and to especially keep the conversation as short as possible. Discussing loudly and boisterously with a friend about the plans for the weekend is not a conversation worthy of attention at the workplace.

Maintaining a safe ‘phone distance’ is also just as important so as to not make people uncomfortable by being within earshot of a private conversation. A safe distance is generally considered to be anywhere from 10 – 15 feet.

Put the phone away while at a meeting or a meal. Checking it constantly gives the impression of isolating oneself and not engaging with others around you. This is just another way of being unsocial and is considered rude.

It is not professional to borrow something from someone’s desk or workspace without getting their permission first.

There must always be a sense of general cleanliness whether it is doing something work related or not. Even if it entails cleaning up behind oneself at the water fountain or kitchen, it is good to not assume someone else will cleanup behind us.

Gossiping or slandering at the workplace is never professional. As a general principle it is always better to never talk about someone else regardless of whether it is positive or negative. Personal boundaries are just as important as professional boundaries and apply to one and others around you.

If a coworker’s behavior is affecting the way you do your own work, make sure to address it directly with the person in a tactful and professional manner. Confrontations and boundaries can be made without stooping to uncivil levels. Making a scene or threatening to complain to the boss is not the right manner in which to handle it.

Dressing appropriately is a fundamental tenet of business etiquette. Dressing professionally not only helps us to be in the right mindset to work but also allows coworkers around us to be comfortable in our presence. See-through shirts, skin tight clothes and plunging necklines don’t create the right atmosphere for the workplace.

And lastly, just being nice to people in general goes a long way. While it is important to be professional and formal when necessary, it does not have to be at the expense of basic courtesy or decency. Warm smiles, genuine handshakes and a polite disposition speak volumes of professional etiquette.