Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash
Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash Photo by Yogendra Singh on Unsplash

Etiquette is the glue that holds the world together. Speaking well, interacting with respect, being kind, chewing with your closed mouth and saying thank you are some of the more well-known etiquette practices that apply across the board. These simple things make it easier for humans to be around each other and build lasting and impactful relationships. But business etiquette requires a little bit more effort.

Business etiquette is a set of guidelines that can help you know how to interact when you're in a business setting. It includes, but isn't limited to, how to speak, what topics to avoid, proper grammar, how to address others and non-verbal communication. These rules set boundaries for everyone in the room, office, or organization.

Reasons to improve your business etiquette

1. Start on the right foot

It doesn't take much to make a bad impression. A wrong word, a roll of the eyes, or a giggle at the wrong moment can set a bad reputation in stone. This will be the lens through which people will view any of your actions, words, or proposals from that day on. Great business etiquette can take the pressure off making a good first impression, so you can focus on the work you're there to do.

2. Speed up business

Good etiquette anywhere draws people in. Those positive experiences make people feel comfortable doing business with you more often. The right etiquette in business will ensure better deals, faster mergers and overall better relationships.

3. Earned respect

You earn respect as you demonstrate respectful behavior toward others. Good business etiquette is a sure way to earn admiration and trust from your professional peers. Following these rules makes you a beacon of good behavior, helping coworkers see you in a positive light.

4. Productive work environment

You wouldn't think that rules would make the atmosphere more relaxed. But the right kind of business etiquette serves as a boundary line for how you should interact. The group relaxes within those boundaries, knowing that each person will be treated with respect, instead of feeling concerned about someone crossing the line. Everyone brings their A-game and works well together, regardless of personal feelings.

How to improve your business etiquette

Not sure how to act in that boardroom? Here are seven tips to follow to improve your business etiquette. Each business, city and country has its own approach to what is business-appropriate or disrespectful for a business setting, so be sure to follow these general rules.

1. Dress to impress


Think of an outfit as an introduction. Before you even speak, your style has already said so much for you -- the fit of your clothes, your hairstyle, or even the way you smell. Clothes might seem frivolous to some, but an outfit can make or break a first impression.

Approach each day like an interview, and put together a look that presents the best of yourself. Use style to communicate seriousness, self-respect, organization and other traits connected with a successful business career.

2. Body language

Good posture conveys an air of confidence, which makes everyone sit up straight and listen. Eye contact builds trust. These two forms of non-verbal communication are important to master when learning to improve your business etiquette. Not only do they make a good impression on others, but working on your body language can help you feel more confident as well.

3. Practice speaking


Proper enunciation is the name of the game when it comes to business meetings and negotiations. Make it a daily habit to use correct grammar, be audible and avoid ambiguity. This not only improves your business etiquette, but pushes others around them to improve too.

4. Don't forget titles

In casual settings, it can be weird to address someone as professor, doctor, etc. But in business settings, titles are important. Although we live in a much more casual generation, it's better to address someone with their proper title. Using a person's earned title is a sign of respect and shows attention to detail.

5. Put your phone down

At work or business meetings, your phone should never become a distraction. Even if your job involves social media, make sure your online connection doesn't prevent you from connecting with potential clients. In meetings, keep your phone on silent or airplane mode to avoid distracting others or seeming rude.

6. Remember relevant details

Good business etiquette sometimes means you'll need to commit things to memory. If you're working with a client on a project, try your best to remember a few key facts about the person, their project and anything they're particular about. Keeping this knowledge at the tip of your fingers makes the other person feel seen, building a stronger working relationship.

7. Learn about other cultures


Business etiquette, like any other form of etiquette, is different in different cultures and countries. Just because that was acceptable in New York, it may not be acceptable in Birmingham or Nairobi or Miami or Stockholm. Taking a class is also a great option if you're taking a job in a new country, or if you plan on doing a lot of international deals.

Taking Care of Business

These basic tips will help you upgrade your business etiquette. You just might see a big improvement in how others address you at work or what kind of work you're trusted with. Remember that learning is a constant process, and growth is never-ending. Always stay open to ways you can kick your business etiquette up a notch.