10 Basic Etiquette Tips That Will Help You Outclass the Competition

10 Basic Etiquette Tips That Will Help You Outclass the Competition


Let’s be clear about what is meant by ‘business etiquette’. It has to do with how we treat one another – the accepted forms, manners, ceremonies, habits, protocols and rules required in conducting our business relations.

Business etiquette may be reflected in ways such as a communication style, dress modes and the work setting. But the deeper purpose of business etiquette is to remove the obstacles and minimize the irritations that make doing business a pain rather than a pleasure.

Here are 10 tips that will give you the competitive edge in today’s economy.

  1. Work on your handshake. A handshake is the physical greeting that goes with your words. In the business arena, the handshake conveys crucial messages about status and power. A handshake that conveys confidence is firm and dry, with strong but not excessive pressure, applied steadily while the contact lasts. Keep the hand in a vertical position and make sure the web area between your thumb and index finger touches firmly the recipient’s web area. Don’t bend your wrist or grip only the fingers. Shake with two smooth pumps from the elbow, not the wrist or shoulder.
  2.  Establish good eye contact. Eye contact is the most remembered element in forming an impression of someone. Direct eye contact is vital if you’re to present yourself with confidence and authority. During business discussions, visualize a triangle on the other person’s forehead. You’re able to maintain control of the interaction by creating a serious atmosphere, and the other person senses that you mean business. Don’t let your eyes wander all over someone’s face.
  3.  Return telephone calls. Failure to return a call implies that you don’t care. Set aside a specific time to return every call the same day it came in, or the next day at the latest. Identify yourself and your company immediately when you place a call. When you call a busy person, be sensitive to his or her time. Ask, “Is this a convenient time to talk?” The person placing the call hangs up first. If you’re unable to return your calls, have someone else call on your behalf. This applies to e-mail, faxes, or letters, if they require a response. To prevent telephone tag when leaving a message add, “The best time to reach me would be ….. “
  4.  Dress appropriately! Establishing a good foundation means dress up to the level you aspire. Business Casual and dress-down Fridays do not mean attire you wear on the weekend. It also doesn’t mean it’s appropriate to wear jeans to a client meeting, especially when the client is an international one. Dress appropriately for the client, the place, and the business you’re promoting or conducting.
  5. Do listen and think before you speak. Pauses and silences show that you are a thoughtful person. Listen carefully to what others are saying. Most importantly, listen for what they are not saying. Don’t finish a person’s sentence. You may be trying to be helpful, but will come across as impatient instead.
  6. Remember names. Slow down, listen carefully, and pay attention when you meet a person. Deliberately take the time for more than an exchange of names. Use the person’s name in conversation. Use it often. Repetition builds memory. Look at the person’s face. Most of us can recall faces better than names. Associate the name with a face. Ask how one’s name is pronounced or spelled. Focus more on the person and less on yourself when you meet someone and when you say goodbye.
  7. Polish your host intelligence. When you extend an invitation, be precise about the time, place, and the purpose of the meeting. Since each person has his or her own agenda, the guest will want to come prepared. It’s totally frustrating when you don’t know what’s going on.  Never ask your guest where they want to eat. The burden of choice belongs to the host, take the location of your guest’s office and taste into consideration when deciding where to eat. Select a convenient location that compliments his/her taste. Be specific about where you will meet. If you want to meet at the lounge at The Ritz- Carlton, remember to say so. Otherwise, your guest may wait in the lobby assuming you’re late, while you’re at the bar assuming the same about him. If you want your guest to go directly to the table you have reserved say, “Someone at the restaurant will show you to my table.” You can avoid needless anxiety and confusion by being precise about where to meet.The day before or the morning of your meeting, call your guest and confirm the date. If you connect by telephone or voice mail say, “Mary, I’m just calling to confirm our luncheon date tomorrow, or today, at 12:30 at The Ritz-Carlton. I’ll meet you in the lobby.”Be a savvy guest when accepting an invitation. It’s no secret that most invitations are accepted in the business arena with the unspoken WDTW (What Do They Want) or WIIFM (What’s In It For Me). When you accept an invitation, it’s your duty to follow through. If unforeseen circumstances cause you to cancel, do it personally, and as soon as possible. Make every effort to arrange another meeting.
  8. Work on your table manners. Pick up your napkin and unfold it on your lap, not above table level, with the fold toward your waist. Once you’re seated, study the place setting because it’s a map to help guide you through the meal. With a little practice, you can determine the number of courses being served by assessing the silverware at your place setting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Knives and soup spoons are placed on the right and forks are placed on the left. (Exce-    ption: The silverware placed above your plate is for dessert.) Napkins are in the center of the service plate, or to the left of the forks. Liquids are always on the right and solids, such as a salad plate or a bread and butter plate, are on the left.
  9. Silverware is used from the outside in. When the salad is served first, the salad fork is to the far left. When the salad fork and knife are placed next to the plate, this indicates that the salad will be served after the entree (main course), before dessert.  Glasses are placed in the order of their use above the soup spoon and knives. When you have finished a course, place the fork and knife in the “finished” position. Visualize the face of a clock on your plate – place the fork and knife in the approximate position of 10:20, with the tips of the fork and knife at ten and the handles at twenty. The tines of the fork are up and the blade of the knife faces the fork

At the end of the meal, pick your napkin up from the center and place it loosely on the table to the left of your plate. If you leave the table during the meal, place your napkin on the chair and slide the chair under the table. When you return, seat yourself and place your napkin on your lap.

10.  Say “thank-you” and “please” every chance you get. These words show respect for yourself and others. Use the ultimate tool – business etiquette – to bring civility back into your workplace, and enrich yourself in the process. After all, good manners go hand-in-hand with leadership.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             Make no mistake. You can Outclass the Competition no matter where you conduct business. The 10 tips translate into a hard-edged practical result: Profit – for you and your company.

Walethia helps you build a new kind of wealth, “Social Capital” by equipping professionals and other service providers with training in proper business decorum and protocol’s in a step by step system that is specific to your industry.  Now you can position yourself to never miss an opportunity due to fear, indecision, doubt, or lack of confidence. Learn howyou can move from ‘Invisible to Impeccable’, visit Grace and Charm today. Have an etiquette/image question email Walethia at: , direct number 1- or 1-.