15 Business etiquette rules every person should know

Sometimes, it is not enough to be an outstanding professional to build a successful career. Networking is important. And in order to socialize successfully in a business environment, one should know the rules of business etiquette. Why is etiquette important and it is so vital in modern society to know the unspoken rules of society? Well, etiquette is first of all about creating a comfortable and secure environment for communication, as Business Culture states. And its social role is to consider the interests of all the people involved in business communication, as well as minimize misunderstandings. Thus, if you are not aware of the rules of professional etiquette, you risk to demonstrate yourself from the disadvantageous side, but also embarrass your colleagues and business partners. Therefore, if you want to earn respect at work and demonstrate perfect professionalism in the workplace, let’s follow this list of good manners.

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1. Dress accordingly to the situation

The first thing people notice about you is your looks. Take care to learn the rules of dress codes — there are only ten of them, according to the Emily Post Institute. If you don’t want to look weird, choose Business Casual for office, Business Formal for meetings and follow dress code instructions provided in the invitation for a networking event. However, this rule may differ, dependent on the office rules.

2. Keep your private calls private

It’s impolite to overshare your personal life with your colleagues. Don’t make them listen to the adventures of your last bar crawling or the list of pills prescribed to your granny. Never answer your private calls in the shared office or in the places of public use at work. You should not use bathrooms as negotiation space. If you need to answer an urgent call, find the private place where you won’t bother anyone. And it’s better to use your personal phone, rather than working one.

3. E-mail rules

Think twice before clicking "reply all" button. Send emails only to those people who are supposed to read it. In another case your message will distract your colleagues and will take extra space in the storage. Always pay attention to your e-mail tone and be careful with exclamation marks.

4. Let people know you are running late

The general rule is two minutes warning for each minute late. It means if you assume you are five minutes late, warn the partner ten minutes before the meeting.

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5. Stand up when introduced

You are not supposed to keep sitting when being introduced during the business meeting due to the corporate etiquette. Don’t show yourself as a person with bad manners at the first meeting.

6. Introduce yourself properly

Say your full name introducing yourself at the business meeting. Always remember the names of your collocutors and ask them to spell their names if you are not sure how to pronounce them correctly. Add the transcription of your name to your business card if it is difficult to pronounce.

7. Handshaking between chief and subordinate

If you are a higher-ranking person or a host, initiate a handshake, regardless of your gender. In the United States a handshake is a standard of greeting in the business environment, so be sure when shaking hands with both men and women if you want to be taken seriously.

8. Eat your snack in the dining rooms

Due to open office etiquette, you should not distract other people with the smell of your food. That’s why it’s better to go to the dining room for dinner. If there’re shared refrigerators at your company, never take other people’s food, unless it has a "help yourself" note. 

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9. Don’t put too much perfume

When going to the office, don’t put too much perfume. Spray it only on pulse points and not on clothes or hair. People working with you should not pay attention to or get distracted by strong smells.

10.  Don’t pull out chairs for other people

Unless you’re on a date, of course. However, work etiquette is gender neutral nowadays. That is why you’re not supposed to pull chairs, open doors or help to put off the outwear to your business partner, even if she is a woman.

11.  Pay for your guest

During the business meeting at a restaurant, it is always the host who should pay the bill. However, being a guest, don’t order too expensive food unless your host suggests you to try something from the menu. The host follows his guest in the food choice. If the guest orders the main course and the dessert, the host is not supposed to order a cup of coffee if he doesn’t want to make his guest feel uncomfortable.

12.  “Pardon me” Vs. “Excuse me”

Never use "Pardon me" expression at the restaurant. This phrase is used only by restaurant staff. If you want to go out or check your message, use "Excuse me" instead.

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13. Leave your dishes for a waiter

Never stack your dishes and silverware or push them away. Doing this, you may seem to rush your partner, which is impolite. Leave your dishes on the table instead, until the waiter takes it away.

14.  Never ask for a takeaway

Even if you meet with your business partner at a restaurant, eating is not your main goal. Thus you’re not supposed to ask for a takeaway box, even if you haven’t finished your dish.

15.  Thank you notes

Always send personal thank you notes to everyone present at the meeting. You can combine thank you notes with a follow-up message, but you have 24 hours after the event to send them. It’s better to use e-mail as it takes more time to deliver a regular handwritten note. It’s an important rite for networking.

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