Business Etiquette Works

The subject of etiquette isn’t what we think of first when planning our career or contemplating opening a business. There are so many other things to consider. Product, finances, marketing, etc., are all important, daily concerns. Each requires some kind of communication, and appropriate interaction is what is going to keep the business moving in the right direction.

Every business needs staff, and staff needs to be on top of lots of things.  One of the most important is effective business communication. Whether your business is domestic or international, understanding and utilizing business etiquette is essential to success.

The code of conduct applies whenever you or a staff member walks into a business environment, or someone enters yours. It also applies if you are interviewing for a job. This is a topic that could be discussed extensively, and should be investigated further if you’re business takes you abroad, since customs are often different in other countries. However, the following tips apply anywhere.

Always be on time, or a bit early. This tells the person you’re meeting that you value their time and are serious about the business.

Introduction. When you arrive, be sure to address the person you are meeting respectfully. Address that person by name (if the person is senior to you in age or position, be sure to use Mr. or Ms. If they want you to call them by their first name, they’ll invite you to do so). It’s a good idea to learn a little about the person you’re meeting or at least about the work that person does prior to the appointment, as a way to facilitate talking points.

Meeting. Use a firm, handshake, make eye contact and smile. You’ll appear confident.

Appearance.   The fashion industry is less strict about dress codes for business, as a rule. What remains true to all, however, is looking professional and polished.  You have only one chance to make a great impression. You will be able to determine, as the relationship continues, what is appropriate for that work situation.

Cell Phone. TURN IT OFF UNLESS YOU WILL NEED IT FOR THAT PARTICULAR MEETING. Nothing is more annoying than to be interrupted mid-sentence by someone answering the phone. It could cost you the client (or customer, or job…).

E-Mail Communication. If you need to connect with your client or potential client via e-mail, be as professional as you would if you were speaking to them face to face. No emodicons, and watch the abbreviations.  Be sure to proof for spelling and grammatical errors before you send. ALSO: Beware of hitting the “reply to all” button.

Thank you note. Sending a note to thank the client for their time and interest in your project is wise and polite. You might briefly recap the discussion or mention a particularly interesting idea. This will cause the client to recall the conversation once again, and remind him that you’re serious and professional.

For more information on Business Etiquette, you can check out, and type in Business Etiquette to search. You will also find books on the subject at your public library, or ask at your local Barnes & Noble or Borders.


Article by Liz Riley for Phoenix Fashion Week.

The resource for “All Things Fashionable”

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