How to Practice Proper Business Etiquette
Etiquettes or protocol is crucial in the business world. It's used to impress the potential partner, stakeholder and client. The first impression is the lasting impression. The same is for businesses. When the partner or client sees a light in it, deals are struck. Both parties benefit from it. Apart from the employees and senior management, business etiquette should be practised by all employees in the organisation. It involves dress code as well as rules and regulations. Etiquette brings about professionalism and order to business. Conduct and presentation are deemed equally important. Whether trading partners are meeting in a restaurant or discussing a deal over the phone or video conference, etiquette is maintained at all times. There is challenges and pressure, but one has to stay calm and composed. Business etiquette differs from country to country. They have to abide by their culture and customs. But the goal or objective is the same, success. Businesspeople often find themselves in meetings with important partners and clients. They do their best to make the presentation and impression fruitful. Initially, it may seem intimidating, but then they have to think about it carefully, listen to their inner voice and go for it. Here are some useful business etiquettes to keep in mind:
• Always be on time - you can be a few minutes early but never late. If you are not going to make it on time, inform the other party.
• Prolonged meetings - if caught up in a meeting which is taking more time than it should, and you need to be somewhere, kindly inform the members or the board that you are expected somewhere. But do so quietly to avoid interruptions.
- Communication - whether it's face-to-face, on the phone or through email, etiquette has to be continued. For phone calls and emails, make it a habit of replying within 24 hours. It shows the other party that you are interested.
• People - try to learn their names. It indicates that you mean business, and you value them.
• Don't share too much personal information - always be careful not to give too much personal information about oneself. You never know when things take a nasty turn, and it may be used against you!
• Avoid judgments - don't judge people. It's bad for business. In business, always maintain a professional attitude.
In meetings, no matter what the venue, try to put the opposite party at ease. Make them feel comfortable. By doing so, you are creating a space for open and relaxed dialogue. You can talk business and at the same time get to know each other. Being formal is okay, but a bit of informality is welcomed anytime. In meetings, a nod to show that you are listening, raise questions and give your input. Make eye contact; observe their facial expressions and gestures. If they are elaborating on something, try to understand and grasp what they are saying. If given the chance to say something, do so after pondering over it. When you go for business dealings or meetings abroad, do a bit of research about the particular country's etiquette. It may save you the embarrassment. Also, it will make your work easier. No one likes to engage with a rude and disrespectful person. Everyone wants to work with well-mannered persons. It is normal and is the same for the business world. Businesspeople should be careful about how they present themselves; talk, and walk. Good etiquettes are attractive. Bad etiquette can result in broken deals and losses. It's the same as table manners. We are very careful not to spill the glass of water, or use the silverware even though we are accustomed to eating with our hands. We don't want to send a wrong message to the others. We want the fellow dinners to think and feel good about us! No one uses mobile phones or tablets at the dining table because it's rude. It's the same in business meetings. People keep their cell phones either on silent mode or switched off. They don't want to distract the members of the meeting with unnecessary calls. It affects the flow of information. One has to be very careful. The first impression is the last impression. We shouldn't afford to leave a negative impression. For positive business deals, everyone needs to do their part. Proper etiquette is the call of the day. Moreover, it makes the partners and clients feel comfortable. It is formal.