Business etiquette rules exist so that boundaries are set as to how people interact with each other in business and formal settings. Left to their own devices, some people are likely to step over boundaries and consequently, on other people’s toes. Keep the following in mind next time you are interacting in your place of work:
This is the standard form of greeting in professional settings. While you might get away with a nod in a casual setting, the best way to build rapport in a formal setting is to offer a firm handshake.
Always be on time to meetings. In fact, if you can help it, arrive a few minutes early. Carry a notebook and a pen. All these actions convey that you respect the meeting and the participants as well.
It is important that you show your co-workers and everyone else that you interact with proper courtesy. Learn to say please before making a request, and thank you when someone offers you the assistance you required. Politeness also includes letting people talk without interrupting. However difficult this might be, especially when you disagree with the speaker, allow them the benefit of putting across their point uninterrupted.
Double check before hitting “send”
Ensure that the business emails you send have proper grammar. If you must, read out your email aloud to check how the tone sounds. You should steer clear of emojis.
Regardless of their position in an organization, people like to be acknowledged. If you are in a setting with a mix of junior and senior staff members, don’t be the rude colleague who only acknowledges those people who they deem worthy of acknowledgement. Say hello to everyone. This also applies to when you run into people along hallways and corridors. You might not have the time to stop and chat but it will take you less than a second to smile in acknowledgement of your colleague.
No phone during meetings
A few minutes to the meeting and you have whipped out your phone to check your emails and text messages. Not only is this very rude, it also causes delays in the meeting when you start bringing up issues that were tackled while you were checking your phone.
Don’t be that person who seems to push their business cards everywhere and every time. Don’t impose your business cards on others. First build rapport, and then suggest an exchange of business cards.
Show genuine interest
Listen to your colleagues when they are talking. Pay attention and hear them out. Look them in the eye, and communicate that you are listening through appropriate gestures such as nodding. Do not merely listen for the sake of responding.
Avoid controversial topics
Do you really have to discuss politics and religion in a business setting? Absolutely not. Unless your intention is to spark controversy and create a highly charged workplace environment, avoid topics that can bring division in business settings.
Lastly, allow people their privacy. Do not eavesdrop. Do not gossip. Do not shoulder-surf your colleagues’ emails.
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