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Professional situations are not always the easiest to navigate. Proper business etiquette is rarely taught yet always expected. Social media platforms and society blur the lines of accepted etiquette and leave us to blindly traverse these new and unchartered social situations.
Here are 5 tips to help employees present themselves properly in a business setting.
1. Make a Positive First Impression.
Always introduce yourself while standing up. It is important to be taken seriously and establish a presence. Standing up, making eye contact, turning towards the person and being genuinely engaged in the introduction is the first step to a great first impression and proper business etiquette.
These simple gestures not only demonstrate that you’re approachable but they also set up a good foundation for any potential future professional relationship.
2. Ditch the Phone During Meetings.
Although smartphones are an extension of the body, for many people (especially Millennials, myself included), the meeting room is for business and business only. If you need to respond, leave the meeting. Although it doesn’t mean you can’t return, it does weighs your personal message against leaving and interrupting a meeting.
Sometimes, multi-tasking thwarts productivity; when you are in a meeting it's best to be attentive and present.
3. It’s a Name Game.
In business situations, always use your full name, pay attention to how others introduce themselves and get to know the names of your peers. More often than not, names are the first thing we learn about a person. Make an effort to reach out to people (clients, vendors, management, co-workers, etc.), and acknowledge their names as well as their roles in the company to develop better business relations.
4. Watch Your Mouth.
Don’t gossip. Office small talk can tempt you to engage in gossip but the truth is that gossiping only reflects badly on you. Although curiosity is natural (and it’s also what killed the cat), talking about someone who is not present is disrespectful and damaging to the office environment
Don’t curse. Although the world of communication we live in today is a lot more colloquial than the past, rude, derogatory or offensive language is never acceptable in a business setting. However, common slang is in society and social media, it’s never acceptable in a professional setting (okay yall). Hidden Phrase ALERT: DM us the phrase "reach for the Prosky" for a chance to win a free training course and ProSky swag!
5. Know how to leave:
Have your exit lines prepared! Some basic ones to add to your repertoire are "Nice to meet you" or "Nice talking to you" or "See you next week at the meeting." If you're feeling creative, you can also excuse yourself for food, a bathroom break or say that you are planning to catch someone before they leave. Basically, make sure that the exit is just as smooth and natural as the introduction, aim for no awkward silences or unnecessary conversations about current office gossip (see tip 4).
These are just the tip (wink, wink) of the iceberg when it comes to proper business etiquette (read here for 5 more business etiquette tips). Etiquette is not about strict rules and regulations; it is about making people feel comfortable. Like a tipping of a hat, it's all about acknowledgment and consideration. Happy Tuesday Tip day!