Awkwardness can arise from professional situations, but they don't need to be that way. Here are nine tips to ensure that you're practicing proper business etiquette throughout not only your career, but life in general.
- When meeting someone, always stand up – This is an important one that people often seem to forget. By standing when meeting someone (and giving the person a nice handshake), you're making your presence known, and it shows that you're showing interest; and showing interest is very important.
- Find out when is a good time to discuss something – You know it, and I know it, we're busy most of the time. At your place of work, if you need to meet someone, it's important to contact them beforehand, whether it's over the phone or by e-mail. Catching someone off guard about something, when they're in the middle of a project, for example, can be rude.
- Understand that the time of others is limited – Again, people are busy. After determining when is a good time to meet and discuss something with someone, also try to keep it as brief and to the point as possible. Get to the point that you're trying to make, come up with a solution if possible, and let both yourself and your colleague get back to their work.
- A firm handshake is key – A great handshake can go a long way in kicking off any business dealing the right way. Extend that right hand of yours, with the thumb up and palm flat. It's important to remember that a nice, firm handshake displays confidence as well, and confidence is a necessity in the business world.
- Put the electronics down, and focus on the task at hand – In the digital age that we're living in today, there are electronic distractions everywhere, specifically with mobile devices. Especially when you're in a meeting, keep the phone away. Direct your focus on the task at hand, and who it is that you're speaking with.
- Who is on the Conference Call? – In the business world, we have all had our share of conference calls, right? It's important that prior to a conference call beginning, that everyone on the call is aware of who is present. If you're leading the call, this needs to be one of the very first things you do, as you lead the charge.
- Dress the part –If you are somewhere where it's a 'casual dress code,' it doesn't mean that you can dress down. Always keep it neat and clean, and that isn't just limited to your clothes. Keep your hair fresh, and keep that breath fresh, too.
- Always be confident – Confidence can bring about great results, and it's important to carry yourself in that manner. I learned early on in my career the importance of making your presence known through your level of confidence, and it will prove to be an asset in your future business meetings and dealings.
- Don't get involved with gossip – Stay professional, and avoid gossip in the workplace. Not only does it come off as unprofessional, but you will give off the impression to your other colleagues that you may be talking about them behind their backs, too. Gossip in the workplace can be toxic. Avoid it at all costs.
Are there any business etiquette rules that you always stand by? Let myself and others know in the comments below.