National Business Etiquette Week is June 2-8, 2019. It’s a week to recognize the need for proper business etiquette to compete successfully in the growing global marketplace.
Every employee, no matter what position they hold, is an “ambassador” for their company or organization. In every business setting, employees are being observed and making an impression on those with whom they interact.
Here are 10 timeless business etiquette tips to help enhance your professional image and confidence. But, just as important, these skills will help you reflect well in your role as an ambassador for your company’s brand, reputation and image.
Introduce others with ease at business events: While it may seem simple on the surface, many people stumble or lack confidence introducing others. The protocol is to speak first the name of the person who has higher position. Speak last the name of the person with lower rank.
Introduce yourself to a newcomer: It might take you out of your comfort zone, but it conveys confidence, leadership and helps put the new person at ease. It may also open the door for a mutually beneficial relationship for each business.
Boost your conversation skills: When you meet someone new, show interest in the other person first rather than talking about yourself. Ask good open-ended questions, or simply say, “Tell me about you.”
Give an impressive handshake: In business, both men and women give two firm (but not bone-crushing) pumps to convey warmth, trust and sincerity. Avoid the “glove” handshake (placing the second hand over the other person’s). Always stand to shake hands.
Remember names: First, simply focus on the name when introduced rather than thinking of what you’re going to say next. Then, use the name in conversation 2-3 times to help remember it. Using the person’s name shows you value the business relationship.
Pick up the check: If you invite someone to a business lunch, the protocol is “the one who invites is the one who pays.” When you extend the invitation, say, “I’d like to take you as my guest.” When the server brings the check to the table, pick it up immediately or arrive early and have your credit card run.
Keep your mobile phone tucked away: Let your eye contact send a message to others that you are focused on them and not your phone. You’ll appear as an attentive team player in meetings and as a confident networker in business social settings.
Flex your communication style: Ask your client, coworker or business associate what their preferred method of communication is. Do they prefer email, text or voice messages? Even if texting is more your style, be sure to also set up a recorded Voice Mail greeting as a convenience for callers. If the company has an internal messaging platform that is supposed to reduce internal emails, learn which occasions to best use it.
Write business emails like a business letter: Emails are often a first impression of a company’s image. Keep them professional and impressive. Use a greeting such as Dear Bill. Impeccable punctuation, spelling and grammar are a must. Put the call-to-action in a paragraph of its own so it doesn’t get overlooked by the reader.
Polish your online presence: Update your LinkedIn profile to represent your professional brand and your company. Cull your personal Facebook or Instagram profile for any photos or comments that may diminish your professionalism or not comply with your company’s social media policy.
Even though National Business Etiquette Week is highlighted only once a year, these skills will help you present a polished image in the business arena all year long.
Rachel Wagner is a licensed business etiquette consultant, trainer and speaker. Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol, based in Bixby, provides business etiquette training for a variety of industries in Oklahoma and the U.S. Rachel was honored as “Woman Owned Business of the Year” in 2018 from the Bixby Metro Chamber. For more information, go to EtiquetteTrainer.com.