Etiquette is the rules that govern proper manners in specific settings such as schools, boardrooms, or restaurants. Communication and business etiquette are terms thrown together in the business world, but not everyone understands how the two correlate. To truly understand how business etiquette and communication interact, you have to know what is business etiquette.

What is business etiquette?

Business etiquette is a set of rules that govern how people interact in a business setting or when doing business. It includes, but is not limited to what should be said, what shouldn't be said, how to sit and the right forms of verbal communication. It holds businesses together, and most of the time, it is a deciding factor in which business deals go through.

Communication problems in business

Some common communication problems in business are:

1. Cultural differences

In this digital age, business often crosses geographic borders and cultures. Worldwide shipping and digital products and services make it easier for a business to cater to more than one location without physically having to be at each location. This means that many things can get lost in the cultural switch and cause communication problems in business.

2. Emotions

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Every human is an emotional being. This is an excellent part of being human, as it allows us to connect with the world around us. However, human emotions can often get away from us. It is easy for someone to get angry at being treated with disrespect and hinder talks or completely shut out the conversation. It is also easy to shy away from speaking one's mind because someone feels intimidated or threatened at a business meeting.

3. Bad behaviors

Bad behavior is bad etiquette. Either a person is simply a despicable human being, or they have not adapted their manners for the setting involved, and they refuse to do so. Bad behavior makes everyone else uncomfortable and often leads to feelings of resentment and rage, which in turn cause a lot of communication breakdowns.

4. Lack of clarity

Without being clear, the meanings of words can often get lost in translation. The meeting was at 7, or was it 11? It's hard to know because Tom mumbles. Vagueness, ambiguity and mumbling cause a lot of communication problems in business.

How business etiquette improves communication

Business etiquette can help eliminate 80 percent of these communication problems.

1. Good enunciation and proper use of words

Good enunciation may seem like a small thing, but using the proper words avoids a lot of miscommunication. Being able to state opinions, tasks, facts and problems clearly helps other people know exactly what the speaker means.

2. A polite and respectful environment

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A good grasp of business etiquette by each team member ensures everyone knows how to relate to one another regardless of age, gender, background and accent. Business etiquette gives everyone an equal platform in the office in terms of relation. It also clarifies how to address authority figures, confusing people, disagreements and disappointments, respectfully.

3. Teaches cultural sensitivity and adaptability

Business etiquette makes effective communication easier for people of different cultures, without disregarding each other's cultures. It makes each person more attuned to the differences and willing to excuse certain behaviors or adapt to specific customs. It also teaches preparedness, ensuring proper research before any product launch, business call, or meeting.

4. Encourages healthy communication of feelings

Business etiquette is not about swallowing emotion and maintaining a facade, but about knowing when, how and with whom specific emotions can be addressed. Anger cannot explode all over a boardroom table, and shyness should not hold someone back during an interview. Feelings are not a shield, a sword, a spear, or a wall and should not be used as such. Instead, business etiquette teaches how to set feelings aside until an appropriate moment and address them in a healthy way that does not cost one their business or professional reputation.

5. Enforces situational awareness

Just like with feelings, people should not address specific topics in a business setting. They will make everyone around uncomfortable and could even be construed as harassment. They should not be mentioned, even as a joke, lest the business suffers. It is easy to miscommunicate when using curse words or when personal topics come up in an office. Etiquette teaches to leave these things for informal settings. Sticking to this etiquette rule would keep business communication smooth and seamless.

6. Time management

Being punctual is a good character trait to have, especially in business. While friends may brush lateness off, business associates, employees, or investors may use it as a way to judge one as lazy, unprofessional, or disrespectful. Learning to keep track of time communicates respect for others, seriousness in one's job, the ability to plan and prioritize and a willingness to suffer a little discomfort for the greater good.

7. Good written, non-verbal and verbal communication

Body language is an easy way to tell what someone feels or thinks. An email with too much slang may be perceived as ridiculous. Too many filler words can make people tune you out. It is easy to see why proper written, verbal and non-verbal communication is the key to good business communication. Business etiquette hammers down the right communication rules for workspaces and ensures smoother communication.

Conclusion

While good manners may take one far, business etiquette sets how people communicate in business. The right manners for a workplace are often hard to know, and taking a business etiquette class will make it easier to understand. This, in turn, will keep communication smooth in the business.