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How to Follow Proper Business Etiquette

Follow proper business etiquette and show the same respect you want to receive as you rise up the ladder.


  • TIP: Go over and above to learn and use parts of the language of other cultures out of respect for those with whom you do business. Study etiquette, manners, and cultural differences before meetings or meals.
  • Step 1: Craft e-mail as you would any professional communication, with attention to spelling, punctuation, grammar, and capitalization. Keep in mind that human beings with feelings are on the other end, who deserve your best effort.
  • Step 2: Practice the good manners you were taught at home, remembering to say "please," and "thank you." Don't raise your voice, accuse, or interrupt others. Mom knew what she was talking about -- it counts.
  • FACT: The handshake became common during among European nobility in the Middle Ages; it was used to communicate that one carried no weapons.
  • Step 3: Develop a firm, professional handshake, maintaining eye contact and a sincere focus.
  • Step 4: Make a good impression on the phone, greeting people clearly, with a positive and energetic tone and attitude. State the company name and yours, and end by offering to help any way you can.
  • Step 5: Be punctual in all matters. Show the same respect for others' duties and time constraints by demonstrating politeness and getting to the point. Avoid interrupting meetings unless you can't help it, but be brief when you must.
  • Step 6: Prepare for meetings by having your materials and information ready, concise, and pertinent as a matter of proper etiquette. Thank everyone for their contributions, and follow up with a written record of proceedings, reinforcing action items.
  • TIP: Even if the communication is casual, respond to client and even internal phone calls or e-mails in a timely manner.
  • Step 7: Take care to remember your manners and choose your language to display a sensitive bearing. Respect employees from the CEO to the mail clerk, who comprise a web of important players with relevant information and support for your work.
  • Step 8: Dress conservatively, never slovenly. Err on the side of caution -- it's better to be overdressed than underdressed.

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