Manners should be applied professionally not just personally. Etiquette is vital in the workplace and should specifically be taken seriously in front of clients. We sometimes forget that business is about people. Wouldn’t you rather work with, collaborate with, or buy from someone who is polite and take mannerism seriously? Here are a few basic rules when it comes to etiquette at work and when meeting with clients.
- Introductions. The most important thing is that introductions be made. When in doubt, ask if they have been introduced before. Introductions in business are based on rank. The lower ranking person is introduced to the higher-ranking person. Easier to remember – say the name of the higher ranked person first. Clients and executives or distinguished guests are always in this category. Handshakes should not be weak and you should smile while looking into their eyes.
- No phone use during meetings. When in a meeting focus on the meeting and the discussion. Don’t text, take calls, or check email. This is just rude to the other attendees and makes the meeting last longer. This includes luncheons. If this rule is hard for you, don’t bring your phone to the meeting.
- Be polite sharing office space. Watch your language, your noise level, and workspace. If sharing, make sure you don’t take up more room then another and keep your area clean and organized. This rule includes the kitchen area. Don’t store old, moldy food in the fridge. Make sure your items are marked if you don’t want to share. Don’t forget your table manners when eating. Take caution when bringing food into your office space that you share. Not everyone likes the smell of your favorite dish.
- General manners matter. Don’t walk into someone’s office unannounced. Don’t eavesdrop. Don’t gossip. Don’t interrupt. Acknowledge others in the hall or on the street– a simple wave or nod will do. Avoid the “big two”–no need to discuss politics or religion. Leave your personal problems at the door. Focus on work when at work.
- Email etiquette. Communication should be written as if the recipient is standing in front of you and your boss in the room. Choose your words wisely and carefully. Make sure the tone is what you wish to convey. Double check before you hit send! Respond to an email in a timely manner. Avoid smiley faces or other emotion icons. Copy (CC) only those necessary.
- Language Barriers. Its not polite to speak in another language even if it’s the majority… if there is one person in the room who can’t understand, then don’t! It makes the person feel excluded.
- Timing. Be punctual. Be aware of the times you set appointments and how long you said it would last. Make sure you are prepared when leading a meeting by having an agenda and other documents ready BEFORE you step into that conference room.
- Business card pushers. Don’t simply hand out business cards to everyone you meet. It’s a bit too aggressive unless you are on a sales call. Ask for the other person’s card and offer to exchange or ask if you can leave a card with someone before getting it out.