Proper business etiquette

  • Be on time.
  • Dress appropriately for an occasion.
  • Address everyone respectfully, such as by their last name.
  • Maintain eye contact, but do not stare.
  • Speak clearly, confidently, and do not rush through your thoughts or sentences.
  • Offer a firm handshake.

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Good First Impressions

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Smile
A confident, relaxed smile is the best way to put other people at ease. 

Smiling is an important social cue, and that other people will respond to smiles on both a conscious and subliminal level.

  • Language. “Please,” “Thank You,” and “You’re Welcome,” demonstrate to others that you value their effort, thought, and/or generosity.
  • Names. Always address others in business by their title (Mr., Mrs., or Ms.) and their last name, unless they request you use a given name or nickname.
  • Attire and Dress. The way a person dresses can demonstrate their respect for whoever they are meeting.
  • Eye Contact. Most people believe that those who do not make eye contact are lying or avoiding something, or that they lack the confidence to interact effectively with other people.
  • Speaking. A clear, well-modulated speaking voice is an important social tool, and contributes to the ease of communication and a good first impression.
  • Handshake. While the handshake should be firm, too much pressure shows a desire to dominate and can be a negative signal.
  • Avoid discussing politics and religion as many people have strong feelings about these topics and if your opinion differs from theirs, an unpleasant argument could ensue.
  • Tasteless jokes, especially those which target a specific gender, cultural group or sensitive topic, are not funny and may create legal difficulties for you and your employer.
  • Never bad mouth a current or past employer, or engage in malicious gossip about co-workers. 
Before meeting business associates in other countries, it is wise to educate yourself on the customs of other cultures and the background of the individuals you will be meeting. 

Behavior which might be considered acceptable or even unimpeachable in the U.S. may be considered offensive by people with different social rules.

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People always remember how you made them feel.

Taking the focus off of yourself and putting it on someone else can help others perceive you in a better light: make someone feel appreciated, find a point of commonality to bond over or share something interesting you’ve learned.

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IDEAS

Be aware of the way you speak
  • Speak clearly and with an even tone. Not too loud or too quiet, as you could come across as dominating or shy.
  • Using filler words such as ‘um’ or ‘so’ or filling in gaps with ‘like’ or ‘you know’ will make you seem less knowledgeable. Pay special attention to your usage of the word ‘like’.
  • If you need time to compose your thoughts, simply pause, or restate the question.

Choose ONE word from this list of adjectives or pick your own to fill in the blank. When people first meet me, they think I am_____

  • Charismatic or boring
  • Outgoing or shy
  • Kind or judgmental
  • Intelligent or weird
  • Open or closed
  • Powerful or weak
  • Engaging or odd
  • Professional or casual

Did you pick a positive word? Or a negative word? You have to know where you stand now to move to where you want to be.

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