15 Business Etiquette Rules Every Professional Needs To Know

Professional social situations can be awkward.
The rules are slightly different from standard social settings, yet business schools rarely discuss professional etiquette topics.

In her new book “The Essentials Of Business Etiquette,” Barbara Pachter writes about the specific skills professionals need to understand when presenting themselves in a business setting.

From how to introduce yourself to what to order at restaurants, these are the social rules you need to know when establishing relationships.

Pachter has given us permission to use these excerpts from her book.

Always say your full name.

In a business situation, you should use your full name, but you should also pay attention to how others want to be introduced.

If your name is too long or difficult to pronounce, Pachter says you should consider changing or shortening it. Or you should consider writing down the pronunciation of your name on a business card and giving it to others.

Source: 'The Essentials Of Business Etiquette'

Only say 'thank you' once or twice during a conversation.

'You need to say it only once or twice within a conversation. Otherwise, you may dilute its impact and possibly make yourself seem somewhat helpless and needy.'

Source: 'The Essentials Of Business Etiquette'

Send separate thank you notes to everyone involved.

You should send thank you notes within 24 hours and you should send separate notes to everyone you want to thank.

'Before you choose between email and handwritten notes, consider that regular mail may take several days to get to its destination while email arrives almost immediately. This time difference can be important after a job interview, if the hiring decision is being made quickly.'

Source: 'The Essentials Of Business Etiquette'

Keep your fingers together when you point.

'Point with an open palm, and keep your fingers together. If you point with your index finger, it appears aggressive. Both men and women point, but women have a tendency to do it more than men.'

Source: 'The Essentials Of Business Etiquette'

Do not push away or stack your dishes.

'You are not the waiter. Let the wait staff do their jobs.'

Source: 'The Essentials Of Business Etiquette'

If the host follows certain dietary restrictions, consider the restaurant they're taking you before ordering.

'Most people do not impose their dietary choices on others. Nevertheless, you can often judge what to order by the type of restaurant she chooses.'

For example, if your boss is a vegetarian but chose to meet you at a steak house, Pachter says 'by all means you can order steak.'

Source: 'The Essentials Of Business Etiquette'

Prepare a polite exit.

Pachter says you need to be the one 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.'

You should also have 'exit lines' prepared in case you need to leave a conversation. You can say 'Nice to meet you' or 'Nice talking to you' or 'See you next week at the meeting.'

You can also excuse yourself for a bathroom break, to get food, or say you wanted to catch someone before they leave.

Source: 'The Essentials Of Business Etiquette'

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