Professional social situations can be awkward.
And, unfortunately, many people wind up making fools of themselves because they don’t understand that etiquette rules in business differ slightly from those in standard social settings.
In her book “The Essentials Of Business Etiquette,” Barbara Pachter writes about the specific rules people need to understand in order to conduct and present themselves appropriately in professional social settings.
Here are the most important tips on how to introduce yourself, how to dress, and what to order at restaurants from Pachter’s book.
Vivian Giang contributed to an earlier version of this article.
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.
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,' Pachter writes. 'This time difference can be important after a job interview, if the hiring decision is being made quickly.'
If you order an expensive steak or lobster, for instance, you will look like you're taking advantage of your host, Pachter writes. 'However, if your host makes recommendations, you can order any of those suggestions, though it's still better not to choose the most expensive.' The same goes for wine.
Also be careful when ordering a 'special.' 'Many waiters do not mention the price when telling you their specials of the night. Specials can cost from 10% to 40% more than regular menu items, but you cannot comfortably ask the price of a special in a business situation.' You're better off steering clear.
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.
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