“Civility costs nothing and buys everything.” — Mary Wortley Montagu.
Why is Having Professional Business Etiquette Important?
Business etiquette is a highly valuable transferable skill in almost every career. It’s how you present yourself to others and showing you are to be taken seriously. Business etiquette helps to build and maintain long-term professional relationships with co-workers, managers, clients and customers. By improving your business etiquette, your professionalism will stand out at networking events and other business functions.
Different companies may have different cultures and expectations. When in doubt always ask at your company induction, check the company handbook or research the company online for their expectations of employees. Whether it be a job interview, networking event or simply meeting someone arbitrarily, having professional business etiquette will make you to stand out from others and set a good impression.
How Can You Improve Your Business Etiquette?
- Be punctual and ready to work. Regular lateness indicates that you don’t respect the value of other people’s time. First impressions matter in an interview and the first days of a new job so being late without a valid excuse shows unprofessionalism.
- Show you are ready to work by coming prepared. Bringing the right materials e.g. laptop or notepad and pen can show you’re prepared to work.
- To show you’re serious about your job, dress appropriately for the job environment. If the job dress code is formal business, you must wear jacket and tie but if its casual, it might seem silly in a full suit. If in doubt, ask HR once you get the job.
Avoid Office Politics
- Avoid controversial topics (political, religious) to ensure your co-workers find you easy to talk to. Having good manners will also show to everyone that you’re approachable and professional.
- Show interest in what others have to say and be aware of your body language. Always be sure to introduce yourself and others.
Social Media Etiquette in the Business World
If your company is going to use social media to promote itself, you must know your audience and tailor the content and delivery accordingly. There are many different social media platforms with different styles. Different social media platforms may require more casual posts while others more formal.
- Use hashtags wisely – use enough to reach out to people searching for those hashtags, but not too many to annoy your followers.
- Don’t use all 280 characters – leave room for people to retweet you
- Respond to all comments – even the bad. In the case of negative comments; respond fast, don’t delete the comment and don’t give a generic response. This will increase the chance of customers seeing your company in a positive light.
- Limit number of hashtags – too many can make the post look like spam
- 80/20 rule: entertain and inform your audience first, then sell to them second
- Don’t post too much in one day – no one likes their feed filled with one user
- Use hashtags to advertise your brand appropriately
- Always gain permission if you’re reposting
- Keep posts industry-related
- Personalise connection requests
- Don’t use groups to promote your company – contribute information and start interesting discussions
- Link back to the original source and give credit
- Only use images related to your content