Part of what I do is conduct Business Etiquette Courses. I will be writing a few blogs about The Lost Art of Business Etiquette.
Business etiquette is a lost art. All the business buzz words flying around like the birds in the Spring cannot make up for a lack of tact, professionalism, and consideration.”
How many business ‘networking’ events have we all been to where we have had a business card shoved in our face, or an individual not shaking your hand, due to the ever present ‘too much food and drink in my hands syndrome’, or an individual there who looks like they just came from their workout, or numerous other faux pas? Gone are the days of common courtesy in a business forum, and ushered in are the days of an in your face type of carelessness about behavior, style, and interaction.
I find myself sometimes on a mission – in my city and across the nation – to bring the balance to a business world caught up in itself.
Networking isn’t about the food, how many cards you pass out, or even how many people you meet. It’s about you going up to the woman in the corner who is standing like the wallflower at prom, and introducing her to the right people in the room. Conducting a seminar on a social media dressed as if you didn’t care about your appearance and telling obnoxious jokes isn’t going to gain you new friends in the ‘cool circle’ – conducting that seminar looking like you respect yourself and your audience, nailing the subject matter on the head, and paying close attention to the audience’s questions, these are the things that earn you a seat at the table.
Implementing proper etiquette in business situations will allow you to stand out and be positively noticed. First off, be punctual to events and meetings—this will show respect for your colleagues and coworkers. When introducing yourself to someone, begin with a firm handshake and a smile. Engage in meaningful discussions. Listen to the other person, try not to interrupt, and, as always, think before you speak.
Develop and Maintain Business Contacts
Proper business etiquette is necessary to develop and maintain business contacts. Business networking events are great way to make business connections. The internet is another wonderful tool that can be used to network. Sites such as Twitter™ and LinkedIn™ can offer more exposure to business professionals. To help maintain business acquaintances, don’t forget to keep in contact with old and new associates by email, phone and even the ‘old-fashioned’ face-to-face meetings.
Project a Positive Image
Proper usage of business etiquette is vital to projecting a positive image. First impressions are often the longest lasting. To make a good first impression, always dress appropriately. It will not be appreciated if you show up to a networking event dressed as if you just left the gym. Dress to impress, but don’t draw undue attention to yourself. Non-verbal communication is another key element to projecting a positive image. Use non-verbal communication to your advantage. Avoid negative communication—folding your arms and sighing shows disinterest and boredom. Making eye contact is a positive form of non-verbal communication; it shows interest and esteem for associates and their viewpoints.
Project Confidence and Authority
In order to succeed in the business world, it is necessary to project confidence and authority. Begin by knowing your subject—if you don’t understand the material at hand, you will be unable to discuss it or instruct others. Never underestimate the power of hard work, a position of authority requires determination and diligence. However, a leader must also be able to delegate effectively. While being an example for work ethic, do not overburden yourself by doing the work of others.
Teamwork is essential to almost all business situations. A key element to proper business etiquette in teamwork is communicating effectively. Ensure that all team members understand the tasks at hand and also their personal responsibilities. This will help to decrease miscommunications and confusion—allowing the job to be accomplished quickly and efficiently. Be sure to bring good ideas to team meetings and also to listen carefully and openly to the ideas of others. Finally, help other teammates if you see if they are struggling with their responsibilities. Going above and beyond will guarantee success for the team as a whole.
Until the next time,