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Business Etiquettes

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

Stand when you're being introduced to someone
"Standing helps establish your presence. You make it easy for others to ignore you if you don’t stand. If you are caught off guard and cannot rise, you should lean forward to indicate that you would stand, if you could."

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."
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."

Never pull out someone's chair for them
It's OK to hold open a door for your guest, but Pachter says you shouldn't pull someone's chair out for them regardless of gender. In a business setting, you should leave those social gender rules behind.
"Both men and women can pull out their own chairs."

Don't cross your legs
Both men and women do it, but it can be distracting and even too sexy for a professional setting, says Pachter.
"The bottom line, however, is health related: crossing your legs is bad for your circulation because it increases the pressure on your veins."

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."

Always break bread with your hands
You should never use your knife to cut your rolls at a business dinner. 
"Break your roll in half and tear off one piece at a time, and butter the piece as you are ready to eat it."

Do not push away or stack your dishes
 "You are not the waiter. Let the wait staff do their jobs."

Never ask for a to-go box
“You are there for business, not for the leftovers," Pachter writes. "Doggie bags are okay for family dinners but not during professional occasions.
Keep the food options balanced with your guest
This means that if your guest orders an appetizer or dessert, you should follow suit.
"You don’t want to make your guest feel uncomfortable by eating a course alone," Pachter says.


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."
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."


Know where to properly place plates and silverware
Remember that "left" has four letters and "right" has five letters.
"Food is placed to the left of the dinner plate. The words food and left each have four letters; if the table is set properly, your bread or salad or any other food dish, will be placed to the left of your dinner plate. Similarly, drinks are placed to the right of the dinner plate, and the words glass and right contain five letters. Any glass or drink will be placed to the right of the dinner plate."
"Left and right also work for your utensils. Your fork (four letters) goes to the left; your knife and spoon (five letters each) go to the right."
Also, think "BMW" when trying to remember where to place plates and glasses. The mnemonic BMW here stands for "bread, meal, and water" so remember that "your bread-and-butter plate is on the left, the meal is in the middle, and your water glass is on the right."

The host should always pay
If you did the inviting, you are the host, and you should pay the bill, regardless of gender. What if a male guest wants to pay? A woman does have some choices. She can say, 'Oh, it’s not me; it is the firm that is paying.' Or she can excuse herself from the table and pay the bill away from the guests. This option works for men as well, and it is a very refined way to pay a bill."
"However, the bottom line is that you don’t want to fight over a bill. If a male guest insists on paying despite a female host’s best efforts, let him pay."

Prepare a polite exit
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.

Tips on Business Etiquette

Tip 1-Cubicle etiquette: 8 close-quarters rules:
1. Don’t “prairie dog.” Walk around the partition to see a neighbor, instead of popping your head over the top. And as you walk down the passageways, don’t peek into each workstation.

2. Grant your neighbors private time. Stagger lunch breaks to provide everyone a few minutes alone at their desks.

3. Don’t chime in to conversations you hear over the wall. Whether it’s a work question you can answer or a private conversation you’d rather not hear, ignore comments that aren’t directed at you.

4. Keep lunch in the kitchen. Or, when you absolutely can’t leave your desk for a meal, choose foods without strong odors, and dispose of your trash in the kitchen, not in your own wastebasket.


Tip #2-'Casual dress' etiquette: Demystify your event's dress code
Casual. Corporate casual. Business casual. Smart casual. Resort casual. Don’t leave meeting attendees baffled about your event’s dress code.

Explain what you mean by “business casual” or “corporate casual,” etc. with examples of appropriate attire for men and women. One event’s “resort casual” encouraged wearing jeans, while another explained that shorts were acceptable, but not denim or cutoffs.


Tip #3-How to finesse awkward, embarrassing situations
Knowing whether or not to tell your CEO that he has spinach stuck in his teeth is one sure test of your business etiquette skills. (Answer: Tell him, but discreetly.)

The situation: You find a personal—and potentially embarrassing—document left behind on the photocopier.

Solution: Normally, you’d put forgotten pages in a tray beside the copier, for people to claim later. In this case, though, deliver the document in person, advises Peter Post, author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business.


Tip #4-Handshake etiquette: Setting the stage for instant rapport
A good, well-timed handshake to pair with your smile is a sure way to stand out, whether you’re at the company picnic or an industry conference.
Here’s how important it is: A prospective employee with the best handshake is more likely to get the job, research shows.


Tip #5-Job etiquette: When a co-worker gets the pink slip
Your friend at work gets handed a pink slip, and now you feel awkward. So awkward, in fact, that you’re tempted to do nothing. But that’s the last thing you should do.

Here’s how to deal with the situation:
React quickly, or risk appearing insensitive. Even if you can say only, “I’m sorry. And I don’t know what to say.”

Steer clear of downplaying or saying anything inauthentic. Avoid saying things like, “This place is going down the tubes” or “I know how you feel.”

Set up a gathering, once the initial shock has faded. Make it just the two of you or invite others, so you have time to say goodbye outside the office. Keep it focused on the person, and “understand that some things are out of our control,” advises psychologist Kenneth E. Reinhard.


Tip #6-Guest etiquette: Roll out the red carpet for visitors
When a VIP comes to your office, how do you dole out extra-special treatment?

Being friendly and responsive is the key to treating VIPs well, says Peter Post.


Tip #7-Business phone etiquette: Soothe angry callers
Turn a growling caller into a purring, pleased customer with these telephone etiquette techniques:
  • Bite your tongue. When someone screams on the phone, your first thought may be, “What a jerk!” But that attitude will only poison an already-tenuous relationship with the caller. Instead, stay calm and listen.
  • Let ’em vent. Like a whistling kettle, angry callers need to vent some steam. Don’t interrupt—even with a solution—before they tell their story.
Take it down a notch. Instead of raising your voice to match the caller’s volume, speak softly. That will soothe the speaker and show him or her that you’re interested in handling the complaint in a calm, rational way.

Tip #8-Kitchen faux pas: Who ate my yogurt?
Some employees can tolerate co-workers’ swearing and rude behavior, but don’t even dream of touching their yogurt or ham sandwiches. The most offensive thing an office worker can do is steal colleagues’ food from the office fridge, says a TheLadders.com survey of 2,500 U.S. employees.

A full 98% agreed that fridge raiding was unacceptable workplace etiquette.
Respondents also cited, in order: bad hygiene, bad habits, drinking on the job, swearing, wasting paper, cooking smelly food in the microwave and using a BlackBerry in meetings.

Help everyone keep the fridge clean
The greatest mystery in many workplaces is what’s lurking in the office refrigerator. Go beyond scheduling regular “use it or lose it” deadlines. Follow these tips:

1. Post a copy of the clean-fridge policy on the refrigerator door, so no one will have any excuses.

2. Make it easy for people to label containers with their names and expiration dates by keeping a marking pen and tape in the kitchen.

3. Promote safe food storage by posting the USDA’s cold storage chart.


Tip #9-Office donations: Keep it low-key when passing the hat
Not only is there no such thing as a free lunch, but those birthday cakes for co-workers can cost you, too.

It’s not unusual to be asked to help pay for celebrations at the office, such as birthdays and baby showers. In a survey by OfficeTeam, more than 75% of respondents said employees chip in at least once a year; 15% said employees receive donation requests monthly.


Tip #10-Business letter etiquette: The art of the personal note
Angela Ensminger, co-author of On a Personal Note: A Guide to Writing Notes with Style (Hallmark), told attendees at an International Association of Administrative Professionals convention that great personal notes come from taking these three steps:

1. State why you’re writing in a straightforward manner. Example: “Thank you for taking the time to visit our offices.”

2. Elaborate on step 1. Example: “It was so valuable for our entire executive team to meet with you face to face. And your meeting sparked several creative ideas that we’re excited to pursue.”

3. Build the relationship. “This is the most important step,” says Ensminger. “What you’re saying here is: ‘Your relationship matters, and I’m proving it by taking the time to write this note.’ In business relationships, time taken is worth everything. If there’s a bell curve of emotion to a personal note, this is the top of it.”


Tip #11-Business dining etiquette: 5 rules
Whether you’re lunching with peers at a convention or meeting with a vendor, business dining etiquette can keep you from marring your image with a faux pas.

Here are five etiquette rules for business meals, according to Robin Jay, author of The Art of the Business Lunch: Building Relationships Between 12 and 2.

1. Never, ever talk with your mouth full. Instead, take small bites so you can quickly swallow if somebody asks you a question, Jay says.

2. Come prepared with a few casual, non-business topics in mind. It helps you avoid awkward silences. People enjoy giving their thoughts on subjects like travel, sports and movies.

3. Always be kind to the wait staff, no matter what happens. Anyone who is nice to you but nasty to the server is not a nice person.

4. Know your lunch partner’s business. It’s especially key when your tablemate is someone you’d like to impress, but the rule holds true regardless. The fewer times you have to say (or think), “I didn’t know that!” the more impressed the other party will be. How to steal this idea: Take a few minutes to do a Google search before you leave for lunch.

5. Put some thought into choosing the right restaurant. Too casual or inexpensive and the person may not feel valued. Too expensive and they may perceive you as wasteful. When in doubt, suggest that the other person pick the place.


Tip #12-Office decorations: Balance personal & professional image

Personalizing our office space is tempting because we spend more awake hours there than anywhere else. But strike a balance by answering these questions about your cubicle décor:
1. Who will see it?
2. What does it say about you?
3. Is it distracting?
4. Does it go overboard?


Tip #13-Party etiquette: Special occasions with co-workers

Office party etiquette is simple: Don’t do anything that you don’t want the entire company to be talking about for several years to come. Contrary to popular myth, an office party is not the place to wear a lampshade on your head. Keep your dignity, and respect the dignity of others.

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