Strictly Business: 8 Professional Etiquette Rules Every Entrepreneur Needs To Know

Let’s be honest here, some professional events and occasions can really be awkward, choking you up a little, leaving you clueless at times.  You don’t know what to do or what to say and you end up making a fool of yourself because you simply do not understand the difference between the etiquette rules in business and standard social settings.

Barbara Patcher, the genius behind “The Essentials of Business Etiquette”, does a brilliant job in breaking down the rules when in comes to understanding and conducting appropriate “acts” when dealing with business in professional settings. Though she has a several essentials in her book that you simply have to follow, here are 8 of the most important ones.

1. Always stand tall when you’re being introduced to someone

Remember that first impression is last impression. So when you’re being introduced, make sure you’re standing up with the right dominant posture, indicating that you’re not to be messed with. “It helps establish your presence. You make it easy for others to ignore you if you don’t stand. If you are caught off guard and cannot rise, you should lean forward to indicate that you would stand, if you could.”

2. Don’t overdo it, only say “thank you” once or twice during a conversation

I promise you, they heard you the first time. And if they didn’t, well then say it again – out of kindness. That’s it. You don’t have to over-appreciate or over-thank someone, they probably already know how grateful you are. And frankly, if you repeat it over and over again, “you may dilute its impact and possibly make yourself seem somewhat helpless and needy.”

3. If you’re the higher-ranked person or host, always initiate the handshake

It’s pretty obvious, don’t you think? If you’re the dominant individual or host, regardless of gender, you should always reach out first. It displays a vibe of confidence and control because of your ability to reach out first, greeting them to your arena. “If the higher-ranking person fails to do so immediately — often because of gender confusion — the lower-ranking person should extend his or her hand without missing more than a beat.”

4. Dress appropriately or don’t bother coming

Perception perception perception. Understand that the way you dress doesn’t only portray your “sense of fashion”, but reflects on who you are. Better yet, it reflects on who or what you’re working for. It’s the most essential nonverbal form of communication, which can either enhance ones’ reputation or shred it to pieces. “Always find out what the dress code is at the event, meeting, or restaurant you’re going to and make sure your attire falls within the guidelines.”

5. Send separate thank-you notes to everyone involved

Now I’m not literally talking about “notes”, but a message should definitely go out to whoever you were with, within 24 hours. It sounds a little weird I know, but it displays appreciation and gratitude – two things that are essential when making a good impression.  You have your meeting, you plant your seed, you water it a little and then you finish it off, giving it that  extra touch in order for it to blossom to its full potential.

6. Never (ever) ask for a to-go box

“You’re there for business, not for the leftovers. Doggie bags are okay for family dinners but not during professional occasions.” Keep that in mind.

7. If you scheduled the meeting, you’re buying

“If you did the inviting, you are the host, and you should pay the bill, regardless of gender. What if a male guest wants to pay? A woman does have some choices. She can say, ‘Oh, it’s not me; it is the firm that is paying.’ Or she can excuse herself from the table and pay the bill away from the guests. This option works for men as well, and it is a very refined way to pay a bill. However, the bottom line is that you don’t want to fight over a bill. If a male guest insists on paying despite a female host’s best efforts, let him pay.”

8. Prepare a polite exit-strategy

Ooh that exit speech can be so difficult sometimes. You don’t know when to time it, what to say or how to say it, leaving you all choked up, not knowing what to do. A smooth and easy way to make a run for it is by talking as you’re making the exit. “Remember to leave when you are talking. At that point, you are in control, and it is a much smoother exit.” With that in mind, you should also have an “exit line” prepared – just in case. “It was really nice talking to you…” Works great!

Picture Credit: Wolf Of Wallstreet