Business etiquette provides the framework for creating successful professional relationships. It is essential to make appropriate first impressions, and it all comes down to the way you present yourself. Specific manners and rules are to be followed both in the workplace and in social situations to not only present yourself as a working professional, but also to improve communication and establish respect with other professionals. Business etiquette include both verbal and nonverbal communication, ranging from how you introduce yourself to your body posture at a professional luncheon. Etiquette also benefits the workplace as professionals are learning to work together toward specific tasks and goals in a professional manner. It forms group cohesion so that a diverse set of individuals can successfully work together. So now you may be wondering, what does this business etiquette look like? Here are some tips to help you get started:
A firm handshake is essential when being introduced to another professional. Always state your full name when introducing yourself. This gesture communicates politeness and approachability which can set the tone for professional relationships. Do not be afraid to smile! You want to come across as a professional, but it is important to be friendly as this will serve as the foundation for building future relationships. If you are seated when being introduced someone, stand to greet them with a firm handshake and a confident smile.
- Be On Time
Whether you are attending a meeting or a social event, you want to communicate that you value other’s time, so make sure you are on time. You may consider arriving 5-15 minutes early to ensure you are not late. You can also offer to help set-up or gather any materials to make good impressions. Being on time shows that you are committed and dedicated to your job, and this is a subtle but sufficient way to achieve this.
- Meal Manners
There are various “Do’s” and “Do Not’s” when it comes to etiquette during a meal. Throughout the course of the meal, take cues from your host. Do not start eating until they start eating, and make sure you focus on any questions the host may ask you and/or the conversation they are initiating. Place your napkin in your lap, and when you are finished eating, it is proper to place your utensils across your plate. Try and refrain from ordering any “messy” foods or foods that you eat with your hands. Also, do not order the most expensive thing on the menu as the host will most likely be treating you. Visit auburn.edu/career and access our virtual Job Search Guide for more tips!
- Dress for Success
You want to make sure that your attire reflects a suitable level of professionalism. Appropriate attire can give a good first impression and show that you take your job seriously. If you are attending a work-related social event, do not be afraid to ask about the dress code. When in doubt, it is more appropriate to overdress than under-dress, as being under-dressed can communicate a lack of professionalism. Make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, without any wrinkles or stains. For more examples of professional attire, visit our Pinterest board (pinterest.com/aucareer) for the best looks!
- Express Appreciation and Gratitude
After an interview or a work-related social event, thank you notes can go a long way. This is your time to let the interviewer or host that you value their time and you are thankful for the opportunity you had to meet with them. With an interview, mention that you look forward to hearing from them in the future to communicate your continued interest in their company. If you are not confident in your handwriting, go ahead and send them an email. If there were multiple interviewers or hosts, make sure to send separate emails to each individual.
As these are just a few tips, make sure to go to auburn.edu/career for further information on business etiquette. Following the proper etiquette will help you become a successful professional in your future career. If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything regarding business etiquette, please feel free come in to our office during our walk-in hours or make an appointment to meet with a career counselor. We would be more than happy to help you learn about the best of business etiquette!
Post by: Kaela Jimenez
Career Center Graduate Assistant