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How to Get Answers to the Most Basic Etiquette Questions

Avoid inadvertently stepping on anyone's toes with this crash course in the most basic of etiquette rules.


  • Step 1: Greet Always greet people with a friendly smile and "Hello" or "How are you?" Men should always stand to greet someone, but women can remain seated, although it is polite to stand.
  • TIP: Never use informal greetings like "Hey!" or "What's up?" with someone you just met.
  • Step 2: Give a good handshake Use basic handshake rules: stand still, make eye contact, give a firm grip but don't crush, and pump the hand up and down two or three times.
  • Step 3: Introduce If you are the person who a stranger knows in a roomful of people, introduce them to everyone. If you notice someone you don't know standing alone, don't be afraid to introduce yourself.
  • TIP: Repeat the name of a person you have just met to help you remember it. Incorporate it into the conversation, but don't say it over and over.
  • Step 4: Be on time Be on time. There is no reason to be late for a meeting, especially if you helped to schedule it.
  • Step 5: Keep conversation light Keep conversation light in mixed company. No one wants to discuss their personal finances with someone they just met, so don't bring it up. Avoid religion and politics as well.
  • TIP: Never use profanity with company or in public. You never know who might get offended.
  • Step 6: Express gratitude Express your gratitude often. Saying "please" and "thank you" when someone is doing something for you makes them want to help you out again.
  • Step 7: Don't groom Don't do any nail-biting, scratching, picking, or combing when you are with company. This may be unappealing to others and should be done in a bathroom or when you get home.
  • Step 8: Maintain eye contact Maintain eye contact, but don't stare. It is polite and expected to keep eye contact with someone who you are speaking to, but not someone who is changing in a gym locker room. Use discretion when looking at someone for a long period of time -- people will appreciate your manners.
  • FACT: The "thumbs up" gesture is considered obscene in the Middle East.

You Will Need

  • Common courtesy
  • People to talk to

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