Professional situations are challenging and unique from social situations. If you want to succeed in both, you have to know the difference between business etiquette and social etiquette. The former isn’t about using a fork or knife correctly when meeting a client or customer, though they do matter. It’s more about how to present yourself and what things to do and not do. It’s about how you behave, and if you don’t learn this etiquette, you can make an unintentional mistake that can cause your career to take a hit and swindle.
Unfortunately, business schools don’t focus much on etiquette. Fortunately, we have some business etiquettes for you to grasp and use, coming straight from experts.
Table of Contents
Introduce yourself well
When you meet someone to conduct a business or at a meeting, how you introduce yourself is highly critical. You cannot introduce yourself only by your first name. Instead, tell your full name when you meet someone. However, it comes with twists which are:
- If your name is too long, you can shorten it. For instance: Jonathan Mike Ross Pierce is a handful, and you can professionally go with Jonathan Pierce.
- If the pronunciation of your name is challenging, you can either change it or write the pronunciation on your business visiting card. That will help people understand it clearly and say it clearly.
Other than these two points, be careful how people introduce themselves. If they are using a certain name or shortened version of their name, you should be addressing them using that name only or the one on their business card.
The host should always pay
When you meet a client or a partner out for a meeting, who pays? When you invite a partner, client, customer, or prospect, you must pay the bills, it’s a basic etiquette which can make a difference. There are a few ways to do so:
- First, be clear from the start that it’s your party and you will be paying.
- You can excuse yourself from the table and pay the bills away from the meeting.
If you are a woman hosting the meeting and the client is a man, they may insist on paying. How to deal with this?
- Well, you can pay away from the guest
- Let them know that the company is paying and you are the host, so bills are your responsibility.
- Lastly, if they persist a lot, you need to let them pay the bill because you are not there to fight. You are there to do business and build relationships.
Replying to emails is a necessary skill
When you work with a team, you cannot ignore emails from them. You must take the time to reply to all essential mails, and the reply-all button works pretty well here. For instance, if one of your team members asks an important question or needs details about a project, you should reply to him and all the other team members. It will keep them in the loop. Otherwise, the person asking will have to share the email with everyone one at a time.
Another part of this point is to remove all unnecessary email threads from your inbox. If there is an annoying thread or someone in it that doesn’t need to be part of the entire conversation, remove them timely. You don’t want a cluttered inbox.
No asking for to-go-boxes
Another etiquette to follow when out for a business lunch is never asking for go-to boxes. It doesn’t look professional, and you should always avoid the urge to do so.
Do not point fingers when talking with a client
Often, we use hand gestures when talking with a client or customer. Now, using hands or open palms is a good thing as it makes you look open. However, never point your fingers towards them as it looks aggressive. Studies suggest women do it more, so be attentive to your gestures.
Follow these etiquettes, and your professional career will thank you. You do not want to be considered rude and get work only because people are intimidated. That may work in the beginning, but it doesn’t always work well. Thus, don’t compromise on your skills or principles, but also keep these etiquettes in mind.