Business Etiquette

“Business Etiquette” is defined as the polite conduct expected among peers, colleagues and others as a means of creating and maintaining harmonious co-existence in the professional world. It’s about the expectations for business behavior we hold as a group.

We adhere to these codes of behavior in business for several reasons, one of which is the care and feeding of our personal brands. Break the rules, and you run the risk of offending the very people who keep you in socks and underwear.

Often, rules of social etiquette carry over into the business world, such as table manners, dress code and how long you stare at a person’s business card before you stick it in your pocket.

We often take the excellent business etiquette of others for granted, but boy, do we notice when someone breaks the rules. I’ve noticed quite a few violations of polite conduct lately:

  • Not returning a colleague’s phone call within 24 hours, or ever, maybe.
  • Not responding to an email, if even to acknowledge receipt of it.
  • Failing to stick to the :30 second rule your hostess established for your self-introduction at a networking event.
  • Attempting to sell your wares at a networking event without having paid for exhibit space, or before you’ve established a warm connection with the person you’re talking to.
  • Not allowing the other person to speak during a phone conversation. Every time you try to butt in to ask a question plays havoc with cell phone reception.
  • Making someone feel like an ass publicly or while in a meeting.
  • Failing to respect the cultures of other countries while doing business.
  • Being consistently late to meetings.

The list of the rules of etiquette has expanded quite a bit since everyone got a mobile phone. Don’t have it out during meetings or meals. Don’t use it in tight, crowded spaces like grocery lines or elevators. Don’t take a call when you’re with another person.

Let’s always be striving to show respect for one another. Breaking the rules of business etiquette means single handedly contributing to the misery of others.

Do you have any favorite examples of poor business etiquette?