BUSINESS etiquette

N-etiquette rose Many years ago, business relationships were initiated and strengthened through social situations. If a budding entrepreneur did not belong to a certain class of society, his hopes were slim to none of ever making a success of it.  


The idea of social class is no longer overtly governing the workplace, mentoring and networking have stepped into its place.  This has once again brought business etiquette into its own.  Many  do not know the old rules.  Many are simply confused about their application to our newer communications media.

Business Etiquette and Networking 

NETWORKING is the art of building mutually beneficial long term business relationships.  These relationships thrive on professional courtesy and mutual respect.  Note: this is not the same as friendship.   Many of  those in your network will never be seen outside of the office.  Many will never even be seen but may be suppliers or freelance consultants or members of internet forums that your know through correspondence only.  Occasionally, a member of your network will become a friend, as a general rule, however, a network is more stable when each member is respected for the quality, amount and professionalism of their work as well as their knowledge of the field in general.  Simply:  Good Manners Are Good Business.

Business Etiquette Rules 

1)Always acknowledge others
2)Time is money.
3)Practice making it look easy.
4)Lend a helping hand.
5)Develop a "business" sense of humor.
6)Maintain your skill levels 

1)Always acknowledge others and the work of others.  

Greetings are essential - names are important.  When passing a co-worker "Good morning, Susie" is sufficient.  If you run into this person several times a day, eye contact, a smile and a nod are all that is called for subsequently, but never ignore a person.

When making a presentation in a meeting, clearly state "Joe triggered this idea with his clear statements last week about..." or "I knew that this was the case, but before presenting my idea, I went to Jane, who has worked to provide us with the actual statistics on ..." or "There was an old memo in file from Harriet with an idea that I feel should be readdressed with our new circumstances..."

E-mail and memos should always be addressed properly.  There are many macros that can be stored and used for proper salutations and signatures.

*sample e-memos 
*quick e-mails

Formal e-mails should never contain personal opinions, use emoticons or be accompanied by cartoons, slogans, or jokes.

Emoticon chart - appropriate for informal business e-mails:

  :> or :-> = Devilish grin
  :] or :-] = Friendly
  :( or :-( = Frowning
  :/ or :-/ = Frustrated 
 :) or :-) = Smiling
   :O or :-O = Surprised
   ;) or ;-)= Winking
  :} or :-} = Wry smile

2)Time is money.  Do not waste it.  This is not only appreciated by your company, but by your co-workers. 

Personal calls should be kept to a minimum - both in number and duration.

Certainly, show interest in the major events of your co-workers' lives and comment on the darling new photo on the desk.  It is better, however, to request to see the wedding album photos on your break.

For each person or company that you deal with at work, establish a comprehensive list with as much information as possible (name, nickname, honorifics, telephone, fax, mobile numbers; e-mail addresses; office addresses; website URLs; etc.)  Do not interrogate to get this information<g>.  As you need information or it becomes available to you, simply add it to your personal directory. 

3)Practice making it look easy.  Everyone recognizes an expert by the ease with which he accomplishes an often done task.  The poise that manners brings spares onlookers their own virtual unease.  Remaining cool under deadline pressure, when a co-worker is particularly annoying, when the pc is crashing or your program is frozen  is money in the bank for your networking hopes.  It will be noticed.  Someone may have just added you to their network.

4)Lend a helping hand, particularly to those new and still trying to learn or fit in.  Unless you have determined to climb the promotions ladder only in your present company, these are the contacts that have the most potential for payoff.  

5)Develop a "business" sense of humor.  Humor is essential to being liked  - but  make sure that it is inoffensive and is at no one's expense - even your own.  Self deprecating humor is great in a family or friends or stand-up situation, but can be deadly in the corporate world.

6)Maintain your skill levels and keep pace with learning new programs and applications.  Much can be learned free on the job by volunteering to help with projects that use skills that you need to develop or perfect.

See Also:

Baby  or Bridal Shower  Etiquette Internet Forum Etiquette
Birthday Party Etiquette Internet List / Group Etiquette
Business Etiquette Other Opinions
Cemetery Etiquette Personal Etiquette
E-mail Etiquette Website Etiquette


Wedding Etiquette
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