professional etiquette

15 Professional Etiquette Tips to Help Your Business Blossom

You know that feeling. When someone doesn’t quite live up to your standards. It’s hard to describe that particular feeling though.

Do you feel let down? Sure.

Maybe a little bit of shame because you feel you might have dropped the ball somehow? Quite possibly.

Maybe, it’s neither. Maybe you just brush it off and place a label on that person as “not up to par”.

Well, having grown up in a old patriarchal family that was HUGE on manners, I can tell you a thing or two about how it’s helped me throughout the years.

I remember one particular instance where I reached for food in a wrong manner, and was stabbed with a fork.

It taught me a lesson in being polite at the table. Reaching for things across other people – not a polite thing to do.

Today, however, stabbing someone with a fork (or most discipline for that matter) is not acceptable in our PC liberal leading world. In fact, I’m sure it would be considered child abuse.

Unfortunately, there’s a lot of people out there practicing business that might not have been taught how to be polite growing up themselves.

Quite regularly, for example, I hear the question “does profanity bother me in business?” Well, that’s kinda like asking “Does nudity bug you in public?”.

I mean, of course they’re not the same thing. But the same principles of self control are used in both.  

Personally, it’s hard for me to trust people who don’t show self control up front. It makes me wonder if they’ll show self control in the rest of their life and business.

 

Manners Matter!

That being the case, what are some ways of making sure that people don’t get the wrong impression of you when you first meet?

Of course the answer is being mindful with your manners.

Manners are a great way to illustrate that you practice self control. And self control is one of the keys in building long lasting trust.

You want a good working relationship, that first impression (as well as your 2nd, 3rd, and etc.) is huge when it comes to self-selecting yourself when it comes to opportunities.

Likes attract likes. If you want to attract Gary Vaynerchuk type folks in your life, work it like Gary. But I’m not saying just be crass – I’m saying have people skills and know how to get the job done. Otherwise you might end up like looking like a try hard Jesse Pinkman type of character.

So here’s a few things that I think many of us online business folk should probably get a little better at:

 

First Impressions

First impression is the best way to start building good moral right away. Besides not swearing as if you’re beer buddies, it’s also good to present yourself in the manner you want to known. Sure, you can dress like Elliot Alderson if you want or you can suit up. Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle.

 

Few more pointers include:

  1. When meeting someone, always shake hands firmly while making eye contact. No wimpy hand grabs. And make sure that if you’re sitting, that you get up to shake their hand when you first meet them. Note: It’s ok to sit while shaking hands when you’re agreeing on something!
  2. Pay attention to their name and use it as frequently as makes sense. Up to a point, the more you use it, the more they feel important. (Just don’t use it in negative examples.)
  3. Besides learning their name, give other cues that you’re paying attention to what they’re saying. Repeat what they say sometimes.
  4. Use your inside voice. Sometimes people are obnoxiously loud when meeting new people. Might be because they’re over-excited. Might be because they’re not aware that their voice carries as well as it does.
  5. Put away any digital devices when meeting someone. Better yet, put it on silent or turn it off completely so that you can have a good uninterrupted conversation.

 

Communication

Speaking of turning off digital devices, there’s some things that you should probably think about with communication etiquette:

 

  1. When it comes to a phone in particular, maintain your usual speaking volume. Also, if you’re speaking with someone on the speakerphone – let them know. This might actually keep them from looking like a tool… or both of you if they drop something on the line that might not be the best thing for people near you to hear.
  2. When it comes to email and other online messages, you can never be too cautious. Generally speaking, in person, we all have an easier understanding of what others are trying to say. But if you use too many exclamation marks, reply in all caps, or use too many emoticons.
  3. Also, when it comes to emails – use professional email addresses. At one point, this meant just not using names like “[email protected]…”, “[email protected]…” or other cute or fun names. That still is good rule, but we live in a time where if you have a business, you should have a business email. You can get up to 10 of them for free at zoho.com.
  4. When it comes to messaging people, whether it’s on Facebook or through texts, try to keep the conversation short. Also, don’t be a negative through messages. Important conversations need to be had on the phone or in person.
  5. If you miss someone’s call, get a text, or an email try to respond to them promptly. In a world where ghosting is a thing, you don’t want people to get the idea that you’re avoiding them on purpose.

 

Other Stuff

A few things that don’t necessarily fit above include:

 

  1. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. A good rule of thumb is to not disrupt the ways of the locals. Whether that means keeping your space tidy or labeling food in a refrigerator  in a coworking space or knowing a bit about the language.
  2. Be timely. Be on time as much as possible. End meetings on time and never use more words when you could use less.
  3. Unless someone is volunteering information or you have their permission, don’t brain-pick! Always ask permission to get someone’s advice or when you want to be direct with them.
  4. Be strategic when choosing meals. You don’t want to order anything that splatters with new people. If you can, only do meals with people you feel comfortable with.
  5. Might be a little old fashioned, but handwritten thank you cards go a long way. Pat Flynn has a wall where his fans’ notes end up! Also, when not handwriting, make sure you always use spell check!! 🙂

 

Action Steps

That’s a good list to get you started. I’m sure there’s plenty of pointers I’m missing, though. What are some things you’ve noticed people have done that left a sour taste in your mouth? Let us know in the comments below!!

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