3 Tips to Good Business Etiquette

These days popular sociological theories tend to adhere to the view that there is really not that much that separates human beings from animals – we are still savages merely reformed ones. This seems to be at face value quite reductionist but also inherently false. There are, it seems, several aspects of humanity that make us distinctly different from animals – our higher senses, self-awareness and interpersonal skills put us at the top of the biological totem pole. But the way we treat and behave around each other also factors into who we really are. In the civilized world, this would be simply called Etiquette. Etiquette is basically a certain intangible benchmark that governs or dictates acceptable or appropriate standards or norms of social behavior.

These standards also apply to the world of trade, commerce and economics that drive the industrialized world today. Business Etiquette then governs social behavior within the boundaries of corporate culture. There is after all an appropriate way to present ourselves, communicate, interact and do business with others. Professional Etiquette is paramount to harmonious corporate relationships within the civilized industrial world. In this article we will look at just three keys traits to having good workplace or business etiquette:

Personal Impressions

The manner in which we carry ourselves speaks volumes of who we are and what we value. We seem to intuitively understand this. Before we attend a professional meeting we make sure that we are wearing appropriate and professional business attire. One must make sure to be well groomed and clean. Standing up straight with a warm smile and a genuine handshake are qualities of authenticity and confidence. Eye contact is also crucially important because it communicates attentiveness and interest. This makes a good first impression.

Positive Communication

When talking to a person, addressing them by name a couple of times within the first few minutes of the conversation is considered very professionally personal. This demonstrates genuine interest and a personal connection with the person we are talking to. Occasionally nodding politely also indicates an interest and attentiveness in what they are saying. In professional settings it is generally considered appropriate to avoid personal questions or topics. The threshold for this appropriateness however varies from culture to culture. This is another reason why it is considered appropriate to avoid personal issues altogether. Giving each other the space to talk without interrupting each other is also just as important.

Communication etiquette also applies to non-personal communication. It is considered appropriate to return e-mails and voicemails as soon as possible. Voicemails must be polite and to the point. E-mails must avoid spelling or grammatical mistakes. Business etiquette also implies that one must not use slang language or pop-culture terminology within a professional E-mail correspondence. It is also better to avoid unnecessary exclamation marks, words in bold or underlining, as these can seem overtly aggressive and rude.


Generally a meeting is the environment or setting where the dynamics of professional etiquette will converge. One must never arrive more than five minutes early to a meeting as the person might not yet be ready for you as they might be still preparing for the meeting or doing something else. One must definitely not be late to a meeting, as this can be considered rude and unprofessional. This is also considered discourteous because it leaves the other people involved waiting for you to show up and this implies a lack of respect for other people’s time. If one must leave the meeting prematurely it is appropriate to explain why you need to leave, to make sure that everyone understands why one’s reason warrants the necessity to leave the meeting early.

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What in the World Does Business Etiquette Have to Do With Entrepreneurship?

The basis of etiquette is simply self-respect, respect for others and being a gracious person not just sometimes but always. That means making others feel at ease and comfortable in doing business with you, hence the need for you to practice and master business etiquette. In today’s world, more and more individuals are starting their own businesses making entrepreneurship very competitive no matter what industry you are in. As a results, some business owners keep trying various marketing techniques to differentiate their products or services from the competition in order to win more clients or customers to make more money.

However, in business, it is not all about your product. In today’s shrinking global place of doing business, there is greater awareness of what appropriate business behavior must be. Knowing and practicing business etiquette is not all about what fork or knife to use but the ability for you as a business owner to transcend cultures and individual differences to be able to bridge the gap in trust between you and your clients in order that you can easily and confidently focus on making more profits. Never in the life of any business has it been so necessary to know how to deal with all kinds of people and situations.

It really does not matter whether you are an Internet Marketer or a Brick and Mortar business owner. The reality is that everyone you encounter in your business whether on line or off line is very human and would want to be treated as such. Therefore, it is very important that as an entrepreneur, you learn to show courtesy to people at all times in your communications and encounters.

It is important to note that business etiquette varies from culture to culture – and that is the challenge when it comes to doing business as an entrepreneur participating in a global economy. Business today is not all about how great your product or service is but more about your people skills. But how can you behave well in business settings if you have no idea what is right behavior in the business environment.

As the saying goes “You only stop learning when you are dead”. It is never too late to take the initiative to begin your own professional development to avoid and prevent any self sabotage and embarrassment. You need not loose any more opportunities or prestige because of some little slip.

Just as the astronauts master the stars or the fox it’s prey before attacking, so can you also master the principles of business etiquette – the science of good business breeding that keeps you in good business and makes you outstanding or you can overlook it and become a “me too” in your industry. The choice is yours.

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