Updated May 22, 2023
What is Business Etiquettes?
Business etiquette is a collection of procedures that are approved or expected by a professional. And as the word business etiquettes come to your mind you might be thinking about how to hold your salad fork correctly or how to stand, sit and talk in a so-called cultured society. But we need to adopt business etiquettes, or what we often call as a corporate culture to establish our place in the hierarchy level. Polishing skills are one part but learning to set cordial relations with your colleagues through your behavior, mannerism, and professional interactions is equally pertinent.
Top 10 Business Etiquettes
Building business etiquettes are a sign of a good atmosphere.
Here are some foundational tips you need to know:
1. Respect Everyone at each Hierarchy Level
When you are managing or dealing with your colleagues or your juniors or the ones below your hierarchical level, always remember to behave diligently with them. Each person in an organization has his or her role to play in the operational activities. Whether you are having a conversation with the janitor or the cleaning lady, you need to maintain a certain polite tone with them.
You cannot talk trash or make jokes about someone at work. It is not appropriate to trash talk at all or uses curse words at your workplace. It doesn’t matter if you like or hate the person; you need to show that you always talk politely to everyone around. Your dismissive nature or disrespect can lose your credence and you can also miss the opportunity to gain knowledge or information from the respective person that could be of important business etiquettes to you.
Employees understand and know more than managers which means they have more capability to manage themselves and establish relationships with the boss, colleagues, partnerships, customers, and suppliers. Each person in the organization is managing his affairs and is an assignment or authoritative attitude of a manager who loses credence in the corporative culture of today.
Our manners and respect for each of our colleague will ensure that we are also adopting what is known as Organizational collaboration which is as explained by Michelle A Miller, “a rich interplay of feedback loops, communication, conversation, participatory decision-making, co-creation, idea sharing and information exchange across boundaries”. All this combined helps us to achieve our objectives.
2. Make Meetings Productive and Valuable
If attending and organizing a meeting is necessary, make sure and take care of the schedule of the other participants too. You should be well prepared with all the materials and information you required for the meeting. Most important of all make sure that the meeting starts on time, and there is no delay because of technical errors. Set up a culture where the attendees’ time also is highly valued and cherished.
Remember that a meeting that needs no action is not necessary and organizing it is only wasting of time. To ensure that meeting generates some value and response from the people. If you have set up the agenda of a meeting with a clear objective then you can also easily confine the meeting within that time frame.
Show your gratitude to the attendees for their time and the contribution they have made, mail them all the written record that was discussed, and also, if possible, get the attendees feedback. Avoid taking or picking calls during meetings as it is quite disturbing and can distract the speaker and others.
3. Give Prompt Reply and be Quick in Communication
Whenever you receive any mail from your client, be sure to respond quickly. Your immediate mail or a reply and your prompt up-dation on the status of your task will be highly appreciated. Equally important is to give a quick reply to your colleagues too, even though you are busy, you can say or leave a message “I am busy”, I will surely respond to your queries or reply to you very soon”. This builds respect and credence in the eyes of your colleagues. Though the written and verbal communicative message is not a formal way be very careful in your selection of words. Avoid using rude or derogatory language. It might be common in society but it not accepted professionally.
Also, several company emails usually go to all the workers, and if your reply is not what everyone needs to read, then only reply to the main sender and don’t click the reply-all button. Not everyone has time to keep reading tons of replies they constantly get on a company thread emails, which do not matter or relate to their work.
When working in a big company, you are expected to be on point. Besides, remove the name of the people from email threads who are not needed for the projects or in a department you are working on. Sending the emails to the unconcerned staff means you are disturbing them and causing them unnecessary irritation. In short, be organized and be very careful in sending emails if it is meant for the whole team.
Do not forget to say Please and Thank You. Even in a most casual atmosphere this typical form of courtesy shows you as a good-natured human being. Sending a Thank You e-mail is accepted gracefully but if you send a handwritten thank you that is always best.
4. Do Not Interrupt
We are always eager to give our own opinions and focus on our point, this causes us to interrupt others even when they have to complete their sentence. This might be very difficult to be tight-lipped when any heated argument is going, but it is best to wait until the other person has completed his sentence.
If ever you feel interruption is necessary, say politely, “Sorry for the interruption but this is important.” Here you have shown courtesy by apologizing for interrupting and then speak what you want to say. But if you are a speaker too you should restrict your speech within the time frame as an audience would then get bored. While in meetings give space to allow others also to speak and express their view. This shows you are showing respect to the other people’s point of view.
Avoid gossiping or eavesdropping during the conversation. You feel that gossip is a harmless conversation but it is quite disturbing and shows disrespect and may show you in poor light. It is no doubt quite natural and interested in what the other people are talking about and doing, but talking about someone who is not present in front of you is highly disregarding and disrespectful.
In the corporate environment, it is quite often seen people eavesdropping in someone else conversation but never indulge in such behavior. Never stand over the shoulder of the other people and start reading their emails.
5. Listen Attentively and Avoid Sitting Legs Crossed
If you are in a meeting do not sit back on your chair legs crossed. It would be so very unprofessional, can be distracting as you are constantly moving. Other than this, make sure you are listening well during meetings. Listening skills play an important role, and they are the lifeblood of good business.
When you are in a meeting, whether it is boring for you or not interesting, you must pay attention. You cannot look here and there or yawn in between. Human beings often get distracted due to an increasingly short attention span and do not wait for others to finish their talks so that we can move to the next thing, Resist these distractions and lure, use some of your time to ask questions, and show your interest in other person’s thoughts.
Have some coffee before the meeting if you have not had enough sleep. If you are the one holding the meeting, jot down all the points you have to discuss and don’t be nervous. Avoid cracking one-liners as not everyone is going to laugh about it. Your seniors will find it an immature move as it is not appropriate to say random things during a meeting. Make sure you have everything prepped beforehand along with your opening statements and closing statements.
6. Your Attire Matters a Lot
When you work in a big business company, appear presentable. You cannot roam around with spiked hairstyles, casual jeans, and jackets. Dress up as per the company’s rule and demands. If your job calls for a suit, wear a crisp suit every day or wear a formal shirt with a tie. Keep your shoes polished and avoid wearing colorful socks. Appear simple and smart. Sometimes, people just look at a person and decide what they feel about them. Besides that, additions like a tie pin and cufflinks can make an impact!
7. Table Manners Needs to be Perfect
When you go for business lunches and dinners, follow the table manners. Don’t keep your elbow on the table and your palms on your chin waiting for the food. If you are with a very important client and meeting with him means a business, arrange lunch or dinner in a sophisticated beautiful corporate environment where you can discuss meetings peacefully and entertain your guests with a good meal. Don’t try to sneak into your client’s personal life, try to be specific but friendly.
8. Avoid Eating at your Desk
If you are new to an office environment, avoid having your lunch at your desk. You will find yourself ended up getting messed up, and it could be distracting to your colleagues who are sitting near you. It is best to use the break room or food area where you can enjoy lunch with the other colleagues who would appreciate your company.
Also, avoid keeping too many personal items on your table like the bunch of family photos, your mint packets, your personal belongings every time. While working keep your phone in silent mode. The Smartphone can be really distracting during work hours, which is a reason why many offices do not allow staff to use their phones during office hours unless it is very urgent. It is also highly advised not to click selfies or pictures of your desk with yourself in the middle of the working hours.
In short, try to keep your table neat and professional and maintain corporate decorum which is your duty.
9. Knock Before you Enter Someone’s Room
We usually have learned in life that we must knock when we see a door closed, and once we get a response to come in then we must go in. Seeking permission before entering even in a room of your junior is a professional decorum that you are maintaining and it is your duty too to maintain it.
Entering the room without permission means, you are intruding into their privacy, disturbing the person and making him feel uncomfortable which you must avoid. If you are feeling nervous to enter into your senior’s room ask your assistant to give a call on the phone and seek permission. Also, always maintain a tone at work, which could be normal, neither too high nor too low and never raise your pitch, neither too loud nor screechy at work.
10. Avoid using Office Computer for Personal Needs
A lot of interns and new workers often use their Facebook, Twitter, and several other social networking websites on their office computer, but do not use the same during working hours. You should not download songs, movies or open your social media pages when you are working. The downloading slows the network performance and can hamper the other work which can cause the company to loss of the working hours.
It is highly suggested not to perform any personal activity even if you have finished your day’s work. Some companies have strict policies regarding this and if found violated can be reliable for the penalty or punished. So, be careful when you are at work and do not misuse the company’s property, to perform any of your personal activity or college projects. Plus, avoid seeking the help of your co-workers on any of your personal work.
Workers would not like it and might file a complaint against you. You must maintain a professional relationship at work and behave your best at all times. A Little bit of fun or joke can ease the work pressure and reduce the tensions but throwing tantrums and speaking loudly is disregarded and against professional and business etiquettes.
These 10 business etiquettes should be written and marked as your holy grail tips to follow when at work. If you are doing all the above-mentioned things in the right way, then you will reach the peak of success with an incredible reputation!
This is a guide to Business Etiquettes. Here we discuss the basic concept and ways that would help you to enhance your skills as a conversationalist. You can also refer to our other related articles to learn more –