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Business Etiquette

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Business Etiquette

Post  MBAstudent on Tue Feb 23, 2010 1:05 am

As your career progresses, you develop skills which are respected and
expected, professional etiquette. Professional etiquette builds leadership,
quality, business, and careers. It refines skills needed for exceptional
service. Whether you are an executive or just starting out, a seminar in
Professional business etiquette, nationally and internationally will definitely
be beneficial to you.
Without proper business etiquette, you limit your potential, risk you
image, jeopardize relationships that are fundamental to business success.
Etiquette, formerly perceived as soft skills, business professionals have found
that etiquette influences their success because it differentiates them in a
competitive market. Honors commitments to quality and excellence. Etiquette
enables them to be confident in a variety of people from many cultures.
Etiquette also modifies distracting and unacceptable behavior and develops
admired conduct (Klinkenburg.)
Why should we be concerned about etiquette issues in the business arenas
of the 90s? Basically because diversity, based on gender, cultural background,
age, and degree of experience in today's business, creates a clash of standards
and behavioral expectation. Not only is these differences internationally a
concern, but also a concern among the relationships of Americans. Finally
globalization has changed the way we do business, demanding new levels of
expertise in dealing with people (Klinkenburg.)
Rude business etiquette goes on daily in our country. Sometimes it is
so common, people start to perceive it as normal behavior of our society. As
stated before, proper business etiquette will get you farther, just that extra
step will lead you to better business and better relationships. One of the most
observed behaviors in United States is telephone rudeness. For instance, not
returning telephone calls, taking calls in meetings, and not identifying
yourself on the phone. The standard rule in business is to return routine phone
calls within 24 hours and to apologize if the call is later. Return phone calls,
fax, write a note or have your staff call, but do get back to people. It is an
expected professional gesture to identify yourself when you place a call. Say
your name, the company or business you represent to take people off the spot.
Then state the nature of you call. If you do not identify yourself, expect to
be asked and do not take offense. When answering telephone calls, your expected
to make a connection promptly when a call comes in. This is more than a form of
courtesy; prompt telephone service suggests to callers an efficient company.
The appropriate telephone greeting conforms with the time of day and then the
policy of the company - for example, “Good afternoon, The Smith Company,” or , “
Good afternoon, Procter and Gamble.” Knowing that he/she has the right number,
the caller merely has to ask for the individual he/she is calling.
Anyone who has a visitor in his office should avoid making calls, unless
they are pertinent to the business being discussed.
As for incoming calls, when the individual who is you guest is very
important, or the subject of your discussion is involved, tell your secretary
not to put through any but the utmost urgent calls that come in for hem/her even
when he/she has a guest, because the alternative is a long list of calls to be
made afterwards. If call do come in, excuse yourself to your guest and make the
telephone conversation as brief as possible. Do not continue your conversation
with your guest as you pick up the receiver; finish what you are say first and
then pick it up (Parker .)
Interruptions are another complaint that is commonly observed as rude
business etiquette. These rude interruptions are of conversations, of work, and
by telephone. Let people finish their sentences and their thoughts. Never
presume to know what they will say or how they should say it. Develop the
judgment to detemining whether to rush a person in expressing themselves or
allow them time to talk (Hilkenburg )
you can interrupt people if they begin to ramble, discuss unrelated work
incidents, or keep you from performing your necessary work. If someone else
interrupts anther in your presents, interrupt them to say, “Now, wait a minute,
I want John to finish his thought.” Always remember people and their opinions
deserve respectful consideration (Hilkenburg.)
Inappropriate business appearance is also neglected in our society often
people disregard the importance of appearance, but it does influence peoples
perceptions of you. Excessive hairstyles, makeup, jewelry, and fragrance
detract from the professional image, as do worn, spotted, or ill-fitting
clothing. Dress not to distract, but to accomplish your professional goals.
Yet clothing and visual image is a backdrop, not a feature, for your
professionalism. Your professional appearance matters. To some, this may be the
most obvious thing in the world. But you would be surprised how many people
arrive for job interviews or client meetings dressed like a bike messenger (
Richardson 190.) Certain dress is accepted in different organizations and in
different part of United States. There are 3 rules about your professional
appearance that remain consistent:
1. If you want the job, you have to look the part
2. If you want the promotion, you have to look promotable
3. If you want to be respected, you have ????? you may have
heart the saying, "If you want to move up, dress like the person two levels
ahead of you. You are going to command more respect if you dress professionally
and are well groomed. if you dreamlike a slouch, you will be treated that way
(Richardson 191.)
many offices are moving toward casual Fridays. Casual dress generally
means “nice” casual. Be comfortable, but remember you are still at work and are
representing yourself and the organization. Appearance and norms vary among
industries and around the country. It is the work that shows how creative you
are, not how you dress. Dress to honor the position you occupy, if not yourself
(Richardson 191.)
Lack of appreciation is also over looked in professional etiquette.
Take time to show your appreciation towards clients, colleagues and supervisors.
It could be in the form of a thank-you note for a nice evening, conduct above
and beyond, favors, or support. Included in neglected appreciation is ignoring
RSVP's. Other surrounding RSVP's are lackluster acceptance, “I am not sure if I
can come or not,” or “I will if I can.” Always remember to show your
appreciation to others, no matter how small. Remember the Golden Rule, "Do unto
others as they would have you do unto them."
Being consistently late and not honoring peoples time is also considered
unprofessional etiquette. Most everyone forgive occasional lateness with a
reasonable explanation, but everyone tires of the person who is consistently
late for appointments, who starts meetings 15 minutes late, who exceeds
deadlines for reports or deliveries, and who gives short notice for work to be
done or meeting to attend. In the American culture, time is considered a
commodity, if you are neglecting the clients time, you are neglecting their
finances (Hilkenburg.)
Time really is money and organizations spend it in different ways.
Some expect you to account for every moment. Advertising agencies, law firms,
and some other types of business bill clients at an hourly rate for you time.
Others may allow you to come and go as you please, as long as the job is
Introductions are a common and important event in every business setting.
Knowing a few basic facts about introductions will help you master the art of
introducing people correctly.
Many introductions usually involve people who are meeting for a reason,
or whose meeting has some business connection. Sometimes it is helpful, if not
essential, to add a few words of explanation to your introductions, so each
person is made aware of the business connection with the other. It is more
important to be cordial in making introductions, and to get names and titles
correct, than it is to absolutely correct in the introduction procedure. A
natural and simple introduction that may slightly violate the rules is better
than a awkward effort to be proper.
Who is to be introduced to whom? In introducing a man to a women, the
basic rule is that a man is presented to a women, even if she is younger than he
is. In business, other exceptions are sometimes made when other elements of
rank or status are a strong factor. For example, when a make executive is
meeting hes new female assistant, his authority is so direct, and basic that it
is logical to introduce her to him. But it would also be correct to follow the
basic rules and present him to her.
Present younger persons to older ones. If other factors are equal,
including sex, you would most likely present a younger person to his or her
senior in age. However, where two women are concerned, it is more tactful not
to draw attention to the fact that one is older, unless the age is a
considerable one.
Present a person of lower rank to his/her superior. If two people are
of the same sex, and not widely rated by age, introduce the person of lower rank
to his supervisor.
The basic forms of introductions: here are acceptable ways of
introducing one person to another: (most formal) Mrs. Smith, may a I present Mr.
Crane? (less formal) Mrs. Smith, may I introduce Mr. Crane? (informal) Ann
Smith, I would like you to meet Bill Crane. The first two examples often are
pronounced as statements, not as questions. If you would like to make less
distinction in who is being presented to who use forms as “this is” or just the
pronouncing of names.
If it should happen that you mention first the name of the person of
lesser importance do not become flustered, simply alter the wording: “Mr. Crane
I would like to introduce you to Ms. Smith.”
If you have reason to believe that two men (or two women) might already
have met, you may choose to use this introduction: “Jack Smith, have you met
Jim Brown?” However, it is considered improper to ask a women whether she has
met a man; you would not say “Miss Smith have you met Mr. Jones?”
Introductions by first name only are not acceptable. It is considered
poor form to use these phrases of introduction: 1. “meet” (used alone as, “Mr.
A meet Mr. B.”) 2. “meet up with” 3. “shake hands with” 4. I would like
to make you acquainted with.”
If you have to introduce someone to a fairly large group, handle the
introduction in the simplest and most comfortable way you can. If the person
you are introducing will have a close connection with the people in the group,
you should go through a complete introduction. In introducing someone to the
entire group, avoid running through all the names without a break. It is better
to introduce two or three people at a time, so the names can register and
acknowledgments can be made. It is not necessary in a large group to introduce
all the women before the men.
It may even be advisable to simply present the person, by name to the
group, with explanation that they will have a chance to meet properly later.
This method would not be polite unless there were a reason why making
introductions would be impractical at the time. There are numerous occasions in
business when you will have to introduce yourself. For example, should you come
out of you office to meet someone who has been waiting to see you, you might say,
“Mr. Smith, I am Mr. Jones. Please come in.”
In most business situations men frequently introduce themselves to other
men by using their last name with not title, (Smith, instead of Mr. Smith) but
to a women in business a man would always use his title, even on the phone: “
Miss Brown, this is Mr. Smith of XYZ company.”
When you are being introduced to someone, give him/her you full
attention. When the introduction is completed, you should acknowledge it
verbally, and perhaps also by shaking hands. Proper response to introductions
that are acceptable; How do you do?, It is nice to meet you, I am so glad to
meet you, I am glad to make you acquaintance, or pleased to meet you.
A man stands to be introduced to a women or a man, a women is expected
to stand for introductions to men or women considerably older than herself, or
meeting people of important status. it is generally accepted that an executive
level would not have to stand to greet a male or female applicant (although he
A man always shakes hands with another man to whom he is introduced. A
very young man meeting a much older man might wait for the older man to extend
his hand first, as a sigh of deference. Women in business may or may not shake
hands with each other; if one offers her hand, the other should respond in kind
and without hesitation. In social situations a man is not expected to offer his
hand to a women unless she first offers hers, but in business it is not unlikely
for a man to offer his hand to a women he is meeting. Naturally, she would
return the handshake. If the man does not initiate the handshake she may offer
her hand or not a she wishes. Always remember that proper introduction and
responses to introductions are very important, since they are a factor in
establishing good first impressions.
Sending gifts to clients and customers, particularly at Christmas time -
is a traditional practice with a large number of business people. Most do it
because they enjoy giving gifts and look on the custom as a form of public
There are numerous occasions when a business man/women feels the
obligation to send a gift. He/She may want to express his or her thanks, wish
an associate good luck, or the celebration of a business anniversary. Flowers,
plants, candy, and books are all way of saying “thank you” or “good luck.” They
are all gifts that do not make people feel obligated and that can be accepted
without embarrassment.
Business card are carried by all business people who call on other
companies, clients, or customers. Never order business cards unless you are
given permission to do so.
The proper size of a business card is usually 3 1/2 x 2 inches. However,
many companies use cards of a different size or shape, so their card will be
In the executive level, a business card usually has the persons name in
the middle of the card and his/her title and the firm name in the lower right
hand corner. Some very prominent men and women omit their title from the card
and simply their name and name of company are present.
Initials and abbreviations, while not correct on social calling cards,
may be used on business cards, the title “Mr.” does not precede the name. The
business cards used by salesmen, or to advertise a company, frequently carry a
trademark or emblem. The printing or engraving may be partly in color. The
telephone number is always on a card of this type.
Business cards should not be used for enclosure with a gift, even though
the gift is going to a client or customer. The giving of a gift is a social
gesture, and therefore a social card should be enclosed. however. presidents or
board of chairmen of a large company often have a special card printed for
enclosures of gifts. It mentions the company name and the name of the executive
sending the gift, but does not resemble a business card.
Out generation in the United States, is becoming to be known as the “
Mcmanners Generation.” Eating in fast food establishments has led to sloppy
table manner and dining skills that can offend and cost clients.

Ten Table Matters that Matter: 1. Spoons and knives are on the right,
forks are on the left. Use them from the
outside in. Solids like a bread plate or a salad are on the left,
liquids like water,
wine, or soda are on the right. 2. Napkins belong unfolded on your
lap. Use the napkin to blot your mouth. Napkins stay off the table
until the meal has ended. If you must excuse
yourself, leave the napkin on you chair. 3. Pass serving dishes to
the right to avoid table traffic jams. Make sure handles
and serving utensils are facing the receiver. 4. Spoon soup away
from you, and do not crumble crackers into it. 5. Keep your knife and fork
on the plate if you are taking a break. 6. Keep your mouth closed when
chewing. 7. Do not be the first person to take your jacket off during a meal.
8. Keep your elbows at your sides and off the table. 9. Push your chair
in when leaving the table. 10. Make the effort to introduce yourself to
everybody with talking distance
of you at the table, and to direct questions to them to help get them
involved with any conversation.

Cocktail parties are a whole different affair than the seated meal. By
learning a few simple rules and by practicing some easy maneuvering, you too,
can handle canapés and cocktails with grace and make impressive first
Never ever drink on a empty stomach; stop on the way to the event to
grab a snack if necessary. The risks of losing control or being indiscreet are
too great. In fact, be sure to pace your alcoholic intake throughout the course
of the evening so you will not reveal your company's secrets, or tell a client's
spouse what you really think of her or him.
At the bar or food station get what you want and move away. Do not hold
court directly in front of the bar; let others have access to the bar as well.
But how can you move away from the bar and be able to juggle your food and
drink? First of all, the right hand should always be kept free to shake hands
with any man or women. Food, drink, napkin, - everything goes in the left hand.
If you practice this technique you will never look like amateur juggler. Here
is the most simplest way to juggle hor d'oeuvres and drinks: Take the cocktail
napkin and put it between the ring and small finger of the left hand. Then,
spread the ring and middle fingers to act as a base for the plate of hors
d'oeuvres. Use the thumb and index finger to hold stem or base of the glass and
to stabilize the top of the plate at the same time. As you need something reach
for it with your right hand, use it and return in to the left hand..
A cold drink should never be held longer than the time it takes to have
a sip. Do not fill your plate to overflowing. People seldom notice you going
back for seconds at large parties, they will notice the mountain size heap on
your plate.
Dinner and parties are a major part of the business world, knowing the
basic table manners and party etiquette will assist you in making wonderful
impressions on clients, employers and others. First impressions are made, for
the most part, within 5 seconds of meeting someone, so remember do not speak
when you have a mouth full of broiled shrimp and cocktail sauce, and do not act
like you are a football player at pre-game meal and load your plate!

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