Importance of Professional Etiquette
As a working professional it is expected from you to understand the culture of your workplace and thus, it becomes essential to follow some basic professional etiquette. The basis of professional etiquette stands on the ethics of respecting other individuals in your workplace and displaying courteous behaviors while business interactions. Professional etiquette can have long lasting and far fetched impact on professional life; be it your personal career growth or a rising business for your company. Your professional etiquette can thus, put you in the good/bad book of your immediate boss or potential clients.

Basic Professional Etiquette Tips
Mentioned below are some basic professional etiquette tips which you can follow to make a great impact on everyone in your company.

Conversation Etiquettes
  • Always listen to others attentively. A good listener is always dear to every client. Speak only when the other person has finished talking instead of interrupting in between.
  • Keep a low but clear and calm voice while conversing. Your tone should always be polite.
  • While conversing always look into the eyes of the other person and avoid showing your back or looking elsewhere.
  • Keep your conversations short and to the point instead of getting into irrelevant topics and discussions. Remember this is a business talk and not a family re-union.
  • Maintain your sobriety and politeness even if the client speaks something offensive or rude and avoid replying back in harsh tone/words.
  • Avoid fidgeting with your dress or putting your hands on the face while in a conversation.
Telephone Answering Etiquettes
• In business, in addition to the greeting, it's necessary to identify ourselves and the company or department.
Example: "Good afternoon, Etiquette International, Tracey Woods forth speaking." or "Protocol Office. This is Tracey. How may I help you?"
• The easiest way to avoid having someone ask you "Who's calling?" and also one of the better ways to assure you'll get through to your party, is to announce yourself at the beginning of your call.
Example: "Hello, this is Tracey Woods forth from Etiquette International. May I please speak to Bob Willis."

Handshake Etiquettes
  • When shaking hands always offer a firm handshake with your fingers titled down and your thumb up. However, ensure your handshake is not so firm that it crushes or hurts the other person’s hand. This indicates that you are dominant.
  • Limit the time of handshakes to 2 to 3 seconds and take your hand back gracefully.
  • Avoid patting on the back of the hand.
  • While shaking hands, greet the person by looking into his/her eyes.
  • It doesn't matter who extends the hand first, but the one who does takes control of the situation, takes matters in hand if you will.
  • The proper placement of the nametag is high on the right shoulder. When shaking hands, your eye follows the line of your arm to the other person's right side. By placing the tag on the right, it's easy to read the name while shaking hands.
Dressing Etiquettes
  • Always wear neat and nicely pressed formal clothes. Choose corporate shades while you are picking up clothes for your office wear.
  • Women should avoid wearing exposing dresses and opt for little but natural make-ups. Men need to keep their hair (including facial hair) neatly trimmed and set.
  • Always polish your shoes.
  • Keep your nails clean.
  • Wear clothes which you are comfortable in and can carry well. This is very important while you are in a business meeting or client presentation.
  • The most often made mistake that men make is when they adjust their neck tie in a way that lets it hang too short or very long. A properly worn neck tie is one that will graze the top of a man’s pants to cover the pants buttons.
Introduction and Greeting Etiquettes
  • When you are getting introduced, either shake hands or nod your head.
  • If you are in charge of introducing other people always introduce the lower ranked person to the higher ranked one.
  • When first introduced, stand up to meet or greet the person.
  • It is rude not to greet people when you first enter an office, whether you're the mail person or the CEO. Make it a habit to smile and say “good morning” and you will help make the workplace a more pleasant environment
Electronic Communication Etiquettes
  • While communicating with your colleagues, seniors or clients through emails, always address the person with ‘Dear’ ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello’ followed by a title (Mr./Mrs./Miss etc.) and his/her name and end your mail with ‘Yours Sincerely’ or ‘Yours Truly’, whatever suits best with your name and designation. Also, always mention a ‘Subject’ to all your official mails.
  • Keep official mails preferably short and precise. However, if the subject demands elaborate details and explanations, go ahead but use a friendly formal language instead of a casual one.
  • While speaking over telephones, always greet the other person while starting and ending the call. Always speak politely.
  • Include your contact details and the date while sending faxes.
  • While participating in conference calls introduce all the participants to each other at the beginning.
Dining Etiquettes
  • Always be courteous while official dinners. Offer the seat to your guest first. If you are the guest, be punctual and thank the host for the dinner.
  • Avoid opening your mouth and chewing food.
  • Initiate conversations while waiting for the food.
  • Avoid pointing the knife or fork towards the other person while eating and speaking.
  • Allow your guest to select the menu and wine.
  • If something unwanted has gone to your mouth, place the napkin in front of your mouth tactfully and bring it out instead if putting your hand inside the mouth to get rid of it.
  • Avoid talking when there is food in your mouth.
  • Learn the basic table manners before you go out to dine with a potential client or an important business meet.
  • Power breakfasts are ideal for:
  • urgent business
  • to review an event happening that day
  • to meet with a person who doesn't take lunch.
  • Lunch is the ideal meal to:
  • entertain clients
  • to establish business contacts.
  • Lunches are also the least compromising male/female dining situation. Make sure you don't wait until dessert to bring up your agenda; the time to start discussing business is after the appetizer has been served.
  • Allow two hours for a power lunch.
  • Dinners are ideal to cement existing relationships or as a special treat for the client.
  • Business dinners should never be the first meal with a client unless that person is from out of town or has specifically requested it.
  • Respect the client's personal time.
  • Discussing business at dinner can also be tricky if you don't get down to it before the second drink arrives.
  • Paying the tab in business is clear:
  • whoever benefits from the business association pays, regardless of gender. Whether you invite the client or the client invites your, you pay.
  • If there is no clear beneficiary, the person who extends the invitation pays.
Host Etiquettes
· The host's responsibility is to greet the guest and to make the visitor feel comfortable.
· If you're busy, have your secretary go out to reception to bring the visitor to your office. Then, get up and come around from the desk to shake hands with the person.
· Indicate where you would like the person to sit.
· The host leads the visitor through the visit.
· When the meeting is over, the host is responsible for bringing the meeting to a close, summarizing what was covered and what action is to be taken.
· Then the host escorts the visitor to the elevator or out of the office.
· Never leave visitors to find their own way. Not only is it rude, it jeopardizes security.

Guest Etiquettes
· First, a guest is punctual and does not pay surprise visits
· Guests also do not make themselves more comfortable in someone else's office than the host.
· And they don't take over someone else's space by spreading papers all over the person's desk.
· they don't place a handbag or briefcase on the hosts disk.
· Guests also do not overstay their welcome.
· When your scheduled time is up, don't assume the host's schedule is so flexible it can accommodate you for another hour.

General Etiquettes
  • Always be punctual at your workplace.
  • Switch off or put your mobile/cell phones in silent mode while in a conference call, business meeting or corporate presentation. In case it is an urgent call which you need to take excuse yourself and take permission from the others for taking the call.
  • Avoid digging your nose in public.
  • Use handkerchiefs when you are coughing/sneezing in public.
  • When in a meeting room, always stand up to greet the seniors of they arrive after you.
  • Try to ignore and overlook funny or embarrassing sounds when in a meeting or official conversation.
  • If you have forgotten somebody’s name ask him/her politely saying that you are sorry that you cannot remember the name.
  • Always keep a comfortable distance while conversing with others. Avoid standing or sitting too close to the other person. An arm’s length would be ideal to maintain the comfort zone.
  • Be careful while smoking and drinking when you have company. Find out if the person is comfortable with your smoking. Avoid excessive drinking when in a client meet.
  • It would be nice if you hold the door for the person who is coming immediately behind you.
  • You hold the door open for a woman if you would hold it open for a man in the same situation.
  • Doors are held open for superiors, for clients, for peers following close on your heels and for anyone who is loaded down with packages, regardless of your gender or theirs.
  • Whoever is closest to the elevator doors, man or woman, exits first. Men do not jam up elevators by trying to let the woman out first, unless of course she happens to be your CEO or your client.

From India , Madras
Thanks for the comments..
This article was written by me and few of my HR collegues for a seminar on professional ethics in our company.This bagged the best article award for the year 2007 in our company.So just wanted to share to you all.

From India , Madras

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