5 types of business etiquette
Good business protocol can lead to the cultivation of better professional relationships and notch up your networking skills so closing more deals with a wider section of clients and customers becomes a piece of cake.
Broadly defined, business protocol covers a wide spectrum of different codes of conduct and manners that can differ across companies, industries and countries.
An important part of business protocol is business etiquette which includes a set of general guidelines for manners and behavior that is to be followed within a professional setting, which allows professionals to feel both comfortable and safe.
The 5 different categories of business etiquette are:
The rules here govern your behavior at the office. And what's considered rude or annoying at one office may be completely acceptable behavior at another. For example, some offices have a dog-friendly culture while others don't. Some may allow a less formal dress code while others specify only formals.
Table Manners and Meal Etiquette:
This is a vast area to cover but the most basic rules are:
- Place your napkin on your lap after sitting down
- Order items that are similarly priced to that ordered by your colleagues
- Begin eating only after everyone has been served their food
- Pass condiments and dishes from left to right. That is the prevalent practice rather than reaching across the table
- Eat with your mouth closed
- Never snap your fingers at your server
- After you finish your meal, partially fold your napkin and then put it to the left of your plate
Professional etiquette covers the following:
Keeping your word: Stick to the commitments that you've made to your colleague. If for some reason you can't, give your colleague or vendor as much notice as possible.
Being punctual: Be early rather than late. In fact, never be late.
Remaining calm: Stay cool even in the most trying situations. Try your best.
Acting flexible: Be flexible enough to adjust to changes in schedules. Be accommodating as far as possible.
Using diplomacy: You won't like some people in your office but don't let it show. Be amiable always.
Accepting constructive criticism: Always be open to constructive feedback. It offers you a chance to take cues from it and improve.
Communication can make or break a business relationship. Communication etiquette is often divided into 3 categories:
- Phone Etiquette:
- Don't speak too loudly or too softly.
- Don't talk on the phone while you're with someone else.
- When on a conference call and you're not speaking, mute yourself so others don't get distracted by the outside noise.
- Email Etiquette:
- Try as far as possible to answer internal emails within a day and external emails within three days.
- Don't use exclamation marks and smiley faces too frequently
- Choose "Reply" over "Reply All."
- Check with each person or group before making your introduction.
- In-Person Etiquette:
- Refrain from complimenting people on their appearances. It can make them feel uncomfortable.
- Try and maintain eye contact 60% to 70% of the time.
- Match the volume of the person you're speaking to.
- Show interest in what the other person is saying.
- Meetings are an important part of any business so here is what you need to follow, whether you're meeting in person or virtually:
- Send a meeting agenda in advance along with the invitation to give the attendees enough time to prepare.
- Be mindful of time zones so nobody has to attend a meeting too early in the day or too late at night.
- Take out the time to introduce new team members or first-time meeting attendees to the larger group.
- In-Person Meetings Etiquette:
- Give attendees five minutes to settle in before beginning.
- Set or follow a clear agenda to give participants the time to think before presenting
- Call on everyone who wants to participate or go around in a circle so everyone can speak.
- Don't speak too loudly
- Virtual Meetings Etiquette
- Make eye contact by looking at the camera
- Shut the door to not be interrupted by pets or other people in the house
- Before your meeting, check the area visible within the camera range to remove inappropriate or overly personal items.
- If you're the facilitator, give every
- participant the chance to speak or present ideas, even if the meeting is remote.
Follow these rules to build and maintain a great professional reputation.
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