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Business Etiquette – What You Must Know

Good business etiquette – even though often thought of as a thing of common sense, often are violated unconsciously/subconsciously. Here are some of the etiquette you should know and should be adhering to.


Turn off your gadgets in meetings – Having the discipline to step away from mobile distractions and focus only on the meeting. Of course, this really only works if everyone adheres to it. It’s difficult to make that happen, but when everyone is unplugged and focused, meetings are much more productive.

Arrive on time for meetings – face to face or virtual. If you’re the meeting host, on time means at least five minutes early. If you’re the guest, on time means on time. It’s crazy how often people on both sides of the invitation are late and say nothing about it. If you get held up and know you’re going to be delayed, a quick email/text can keep the person on the other end from feeling stood up.


When it comes to business meals, bring your manners. If you’re the only one invited, don’t jump the gun to invite a colleague and think it’s okay to do that – most often it is not. When you’re ordering your food, always suggest that the other party places their order first, if you are the host, order last.

When the food comes, no matter how hungry you may be, always wait for everyone to get their plates before eating. Try not to have your mouth packed with food, take smaller bites – this way, if someone asks you a question suddenly or you feel the need to chip in a conversation, you would be able to.

Last but not least, always offer to go dutch (pay individually). If someone insists on pay for the meal, always thank them and offer the next meal to be on you – it’s only polite to do so whether or not there is a next meal.


Don’t say anything in email or instant messaging that you don’t mind being broadcast to your entire organization. Once, somebody we know sent a gossipy email intended for a coworker directly to the person she was gossiping about. Watch what you’re saying on instant messaging systems, too. Likely, there are chat logs of what you’re chatting about that are archived somewhere, somebody in the IT department is probably reading it.

Dressing unprofessionally. It’s a fact that people judge you based on what they see. Walking into a board meeting or office wearing a skirt that is uncomfortably short or a blouse that’s extremely low, having the ends of your shirt coming out of your pants is not sending a good message about yourself. Dress-down Fridays may be practiced in some companies but not every company has the practice. Check your corporate guidelines to make sure your business attire is appropriate.

Take personal calls in a private place. Hearing someone talk loudly on a cell phone, especially about personal business is distracting and discourteous to coworkers trying to do their jobs. It’s best to go to an empty conference room or other private location to make a personal call. And do keep personal calls to a minimum so that you don’t appear unfocused to your team or your boss.