The Lost Art of Business Etiquette

Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Business Etiquette [ 0 Comments ]

In a business world that relies heavily on e-mails and phone calls, you may need a refresher course on what is necessary and appropriate for in person meetings. Interested in how your etiquette currently stacks up? Take a stab a Miss Business Etiquette’s Quiz.

Regardless of how often you find yourself in a business meeting setting, keeping with proper business etiquette is always important.

“As a businessman or woman it is important that you make a good impression. The way you dress, for instance, impacts the way you are perceived by others. Other peoples’ impressions of you should be positive so that they continue doing business with you.”

Due to the tumultuous state of the current economy, many people have turned to creating small businesses, or being self-employed. In these small business operations, you always want to elevate yourself to a professional level, and appropriate business manners is an important aspect in accomplishing that. For a brush-up, browse our business etiquette guides and services.

Top 3 Business Etiquette Tips

1. Professional Attire

With so many offices allowing for a more casual dress code, remember to dress the part in meeting someone important. An HR Solutions study, conducted in 2011, found that 55 percent of offices no longer have a dress code. Though your jeans and sneaks may be okay in an office where you aren’t dealing with clients face to face, in a business meeting, you need to remember proper attire.

“I’m not saying people have to keep their jackets on all day long, but there’s a level of professionalism that comes with wearing the appropriate attire. It garners more respect. If you are dealing with clients, I think this is very important,” Sally Morrison of Career Partners 3 was quoted in the Chicago Tribune. Think:

  • Neutral colors that don’t take away from the meeting.
  • Clean cut, presentable.
  • Minimal skin showing.
  • Suit for both men and women, or slacks and nice sportscoat.

2. Gender Roles

In December of 2011, the reported that The Bureau of Labor Statistics found women make up 46.7% of the United State’s workforce. It is becoming clear that men and women share the same professional aspiration of advancement, and strive to be recognized within the workplace. The old stereotypes of interactions between female and male should be ignored. The business world has become gender neutral, and your business etiquette should reflect that.

  • Men: Introduce women as you would any other male co-worker. Unless she is the guest, treat her with the same respect and normality you would any other businessperson.
  • Women: When introducing yourself, always extend for a handshake.

3. Cell Phones

With over 223 trillion mobile phone users in the United States alone, according to, it is obvious that cell phones have become a constant part of our everyday life, both in and out of the office. Synovate Research found that a whopping 68% of people observe poor cell phone etiquette every day. In your cubicle, you can use your phone as you’d like. Being in a meeting, though, requires a much different set of rules.

  • General rule of thumb: turn off your phone. If you absolutely cannot, put it on silent and don’t look at until the meeting is finished.
  • Your client is the most important person in the room. Answering your phone or replying to a message makes it appear as though your personal business takes precedence.
  • If taking the call is absolutely necessary, ask your guest first and then leave the room.

Remember the Rules quoted a top executive at the Maritz Institute: “Relationships are built during coffee breaks. Business cards are exchanged, trust is being built and that trust is more effective face-to-face.” In a changing world, it’s easy to forget the basic rules that once used to be so important. Regardless of how infrequently you find yourself in a suit and tie business meeting, you want to be prepared. If not, you risk weakening your personal client relationship, and business relations within the company, as a whole.

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