Business etiquette can have a big impact on the success of your career. The business world is all about working with people and therefore, making the right impression and building strong business relationships is crucial.
Professional behaviour today is thankfully not as stuffy as it used to be. However, this isn’t to say that business etiquette isn’t as important as ever. There are still a few unspoken rules that you should be following in order to make your way in the business world.
Here are eight rules that should never be broken.
Some of us hate being late and meticulously plan ahead to ensure we arrive at meetings at least five minutes early. However, some of us seem to always find ourselves rushing to meetings, being held up by unexpected circumstances and profusely apologising for being late yet again.
Arriving at meetings on time shows that you value the time of the people you are meeting. Even if you’re accidentally late and do feel bad about it, this still comes across as inconsiderate to others.
Being dressed appropriately can depend on the industry you work in, the business situation and your work environment. The general rule is that clothing should be clean, not creased, relatively polished and not too revealing.
It can be difficult not to interrupt when you have a great opinion or idea that you want to share, however, having a number of people who talk over each other simply results in too much talking and not enough listening. It’s important that you do speak up but wait for an opportunity to have your say. Interrupting others only comes across as rude and suggests that you don’t respect the other person who is talking.
We all spend a lot of our day on our phones – making calls, checking texts and sending emails. However, when it comes to attending a meeting, you should turn your phone off and put it away.
Being on your phone during a meeting is highly disrespectful and a common faux pas. It shows that you are not engaged and is also quite annoying for the other attendees. The meeting will also go on longer if people keep losing focus to their phones.
A lot of professional communication, both written and verbal, isn’t as formal as it used to be. However, the words we use are still very influential when it comes to how others view us.
You should always avoid derogatory, rude or offensive language. Slang can also present the wrong image and while you may use plenty of it down the pub with your mates, it doesn’t really have a place in the office.
Talking of communication, emails play a massive part in business. It’s important that you double-check your spelling and grammar as these errors can make you look stupid. You should also, re-read your emails to check that they set the right tone and couldn’t be misconstrued by the receiver.
Beware that you don’t send super-informal emails to your colleagues. We’ve all accidentally sent an email to the wrong person and if an important client or manager receives a jokey or offensive email meant for a colleague, your professional reputation could be in trouble.
Gossip is never harmless. It can be hurtful to the person you are gossiping about and it can be damaging to your professional reputation. Make an effort to steer clear of circulating rumours and participating in gossip.
Finally, avoid those topics that always end up raising tempers and causing arguments. We’re talking politics and region as the big two! These topics could be damaging to your working relationships so it’s best to avoid them where possible.