Business Etiquette Makes the Difference – Part 2



By Marie-Therese Phido

Last week, we covered Part 1 of Business Etiquette Makes the Difference. This week, we will continue. As we all know, good business etiquette takes you, your business and organisation to the next level. In continuation, according to Kyra Sheahan and Business Culture Organisation, we should always aim to do the following:

‘Thank You’ Note
If you want to differentiate yourself from others, then never forget to write a ‘Thank You’ note to your job interviewer or your client. This will leave a good impression and also reflect well on you and your company.
Following up correspondence is seen as a proper gesture. After working with a client, customer or coworker it is in good form to send a thank-you email or note, recognising their business or efforts.

Know the Names
Give others respect by knowing their names. This will increase goodwill and communication. It is also worth management stepping back and acknowledging people individually for their good work, as this will enhance their self-esteem and increase motivation.

Observe the ‘Elevator Rule ‘
Be mindful of saying inappropriate things at a job interview or client meeting. Don’t start discussing business with a client or interviewer as soon as you step out of the lift. By doing so, you avoid the risk of damaging your reputation because such interactions are deemed confidential and talking about what transpired can be construed as an inability to keep business secrets.

Focus on the Face, Not the Screen
Never forget to switch off your phone and try not to use any other device just to prove you are a multitasking individual. In fact, in the world of business this is considered bad manners. Concentrate on the meeting and listen to what people are saying.

Don’t Judge
Everyone is unique in their own way and use a different approach to deal with situations. Therefore, if you disagree with another person’s approach instead of criticising try to understand it from their point of view. By doing so, you create a friendly environment. Always remember you get respect by giving respect.

Character, Behaviour, Honesty
Your character reflects your individuality and your behaviour exhibits your personality. Business etiquette encourages revealing your positive qualities. This helps your reputation.
Always be honest and remember that it takes a long time to develop trust and a good reputation and only one small mistake to lose it. Business etiquette provides a framework for stating the boundaries of good behavior, ethics and integrity. How do you behave under pressure? How will you act if asked to compromise your values? Your character, behavior and honesty are all part of business etiquette because it determines whether people will want to do business with you.

Sensitivity & Diplomacy
A key pillar of business etiquette is sensitivity. This means giving careful thought to every business aspect before making a judgment. This gives a strong foundation to your business. Also, thoughtless words and actions lead to a negative outcome. Being aware of business etiquette encourages careful thought.

Business etiquette instructs on you how to present yourself professionally in different cultures. The keys for making a good impression are dressing appropriately for a meeting or an event. Underdressing or overdressing can end up being embarrassing to you or your host.
The way you dress impacts whether you have good business etiquette or not. The business world is professional, and the people who work in it must dress to reflect that level of professionalism. As such, make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, and that you wear suits, blouses, skirts, blazers, ties or other clothing that make a good impression.

Listening Skills
Communication is the lifeblood of business. For people to get along, work in unison and establish professional relationships with one another, they must communicate with the appropriate etiquette. Listening skills are a main part of communication etiquette. When others are speaking do not interrupt them. Employ active listening techniques, such as making good eye contact and showing the speaker that you are paying attention to them.

The Society for Technical Communication says it is proper business etiquette to show up on time, or preferably, a few minutes early to meetings. Come prepared with pen and paper. It is also important to note that you do not come too early. Attending a meeting 30 minutes early can be considered rude because you will be seen to be an intrusion into someone’s time.

Remember to always say please and thank you when you interact with others, in person or over written correspondence. Being polite makes you pleasant to work with and shows respect.

Best Behavior
To be on your best behavior, always give others your utmost attention when they are speaking or conducting a presentation. Put your cell phone away during this time and do not engage in side conversations with coworkers.

Shaking hands with your business counterparts establishes rapport and is in good form. For international interactions, research how that culture greets one another professionally in business, as not all countries see shaking hands as a form of respect; for example, Asians bow and the British royal family courtesy.

Table Manners
There will be times when you have to attend a business luncheon. Some tableside manners to practice are not speaking with your mouth full, using your napkin and not setting bags or briefcases on the table.

Ravenwerks, an organisation for global ethics, etiquette and effectiveness, says to always be diplomatic when engaged in a business conversation, even if you disagree with what others are saying. Apologise if you step on other peoples’ toes, but do not be afraid to hold true to your convictions.

Never raise your voice to others in the work environment, or use foul language toward them. Keep your tone as neutral as possible, and avoid “talking down” to others.
Let’s practice these attributes and take our business etiquette skills to the next level.
– Marie-Therese Phido is Sales & Market Strategist and Business Coach

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