Top 10 Essential Business Etiquette Skills for the Business World

Apart from outstanding academic attainments, which is; an impeccable resume and a wealth of knowledge in the area of our expertise, a polite and professional manner are key components of how successful we will be in the business world. These qualities are vital to our daily interactions with our colleagues and other people who we may occasionally come into contact with in the workplace.

How we say “hello”, “good morning” or even introduce someone says a great deal about us. Each of us must know how to maximize our social skills that give us the confidence to handle people and situations with diplomacy and respect, essential business etiquette skills that help avoid business blunders.

There are several business etiquette skills which we can effectively apply in the workplace, however these are numerous to mention in this article, so I will provide an overview of ten essential business etiquette skills:


#1 Dress for success

Your clothing signifies who you are and enhances your professional image and your ability to be taken seriously. The type of clothes you wear to work will depend on:

  •          The type of job you do
  •          The company you work for
  •          The company’s policy
  •          The event or activity
  •          The country you live in

Ensure that your attire is in accordance with the five points mentioned above. Your clothing and the appropriate shoes must always be clean. In addition, your clothing must fit properly, be neat and well-pressed.


#2 Assertive communication

Do not interrupt a person while he or she is talking. Be mindful of other people’s views, maintain eye contact and listen attentively. This shows that you are respectful and interested in what the other person has to say.


#3 Arrive on Time

Being on time, whether for work, an internal job interview or a business luncheon, shows others that you value their time. In the event that you are running late, notify the relevant person. However, once you are tardy, it should never become a habit. Punctuality is important, so always be early.


#4 Do not gossip

Do not ill-talk your colleagues or criticize the client who was tardy for a business meeting. Gossiping in the workplace reflects poorly on you as this shows the type of individual you are. This can ruin your opportunity for professional advancement and to maintain genuine and long-lasting relationships with others. Positive words about someone rather than negative words goes a long way, which can even boost your confidence.


#5 No phone during meetings

No phone calls, texting or sending e-mails during meetings. Engaging in any of these activities is disrespectful. Your phone should be on silent, while focus is placed on the meeting. In the event that you receive a call which may be an emergency, ask for excuse and take the call outside the meeting room.


#6 Demonstrate manners

This basic form of courtesy is still important and sets the tone for a great impression about you from others. A simple “please” and “thank you” are common courtesies we should exhibit daily.


#7 Always vet your before clicking send

Always vet your e-mails for spelling and grammar errors before clicking send. Utilise spell check if you have to. Also, many persons have grown accustomed to sending abbreviated versions of words via text message that they do so for e-mail too. Despite the tone of the e-mail, kindly refrain from this and have the words spelt properly.


#8 Topics to avoid

As you get to know a fairly new employee, or a business acquaintance, you may want to share basic information about yourself - you are marital status, hobbies etc. Avoid the discussion of sex, politics, religion and highly confidential company information.

You can also discuss topics which include, sports, movies, current events (cautiously), vacation plans and the environment.


#9 The office dating game

You run a great risk when you date someone who works for the same company, especially if the person works in the same office. If the relationship ends, you may see the person regularly, which can be uncomfortable. If this does happen, take the following into consideration:

  • Do not date your boss. If it does occur, then make arrangements to have the reporting relationship changed.
  • No romantic displays such as, hugging, kissing, sexy emails or any other romantic gestures in the office.
  • Do not let your relationship interfere with your work, such as spending too much time with your partner, thus neglecting your job.


#10 Have your business card on hand

A client request a business card and to his amazement, you quickly retrieve a post-it-note or piece of paper to write your contact details. This is unprofessional. Always have a few business cards on hand and ensure that same has a professional look and feel, and your contact details are up-to-date.

First impressions do count, and it is sometimes hard to change the message once entrenched. Therefore, what image do you project? Do you think it is a good image or bad image? Remember, you often get one chance to make a good impression so, make it a great one.


Image Sourced: Foter