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Use This Business Etiquette Cheat Sheet To Help You Get Ahead

Photo by Jennifer Ryan Jones

Being buttoned up means more than just wearing the right suit and tie. We know you’re a total pro. But if you’re way too comfortable with your office crew, work remotely or don’t leave your cubicle much, you may need a business etiquette refresher. Making a great impression starts by having good manners. Of course, you want to represent your company in the best light. But remember, you are your own brand. Your actions, body language and how you’re put together speaks volumes about what kind of character you are. So before that big meeting, interview or business lunch, dust off your business etiquette with this list of everything you should be mindful of in a corporate situation.

  1. Don’t be late. Ever. Be respectful of people’s time and when it absolutely can’t be avoided, call ahead.
  1. Have a firm handshake. Make eye contact, keep your palms dry and avoid the dead fish grip.
  1. Don’t talk with your mouth full. Don’t let lip smacking, sloppy chewing distract from the great ideas coming out of your mouth.
  1. Unless the host gives you the green light, don’t start eating before everyone at the table is served.
  1. Remember your basic table manners. Some business etiquette rules are not exclusive to working lunches. Keep your napkin in your lap and your elbows off the table, just like Mama told you.
  1. Learn how to use your utensils correctly. Start from the fork furthest away from the dinner plate and work your way in with each course. It’s also proper to switch hands while cutting your food and to rest your utensils on the plate when you’re finished eating. If you love talking with your hands, be careful not to use your fork or knife as a pointer while telling that great story.
  1. Know your way around a table setting. We love this trick from Emily Post that will keep you from stealing your client’s bread dish. “Holding your hands out in front of you, touch the tips of your thumbs to the tips of your forefingers to make a lowercase ‘b’ with your left hand and a lowercase 'd' with your right hand. This reminds you that “bread and butter” go to the left of the place setting and “drinks” go to the right."
  1. Don’t fight over the check, or have stingy alligator arms. The person that does the inviting usually picks up the tab. And as a rule, the boss always pays. Avoid a scene, just take care of the check or allow yourself to be treated.

  1. Don’t get bombed at a business lunch. There’s no “turning up,” not even on a Tuesday. Of course, if your client orders a drink you can too. Just sip sensibly.
  1. Don’t be a dick to the waiter.
  1. Don’t text, email or crush candy during a meeting or business lunch. Keep your cell phone off the table and give your colleagues your undivided attention.
  1. When it comes to business etiquette and personal etiquette, there is nothing ruder than poor hygiene. Runaway nose hairs and sweaty pit stains are distracting, to say the least. Get groomed and wear deodorant.
  1. Interrupting or talking over a co-worker is just friggin rude. Don’t be that guy. Instead, listen respectfully and give them the floor. Don’t bully, bulldoze or cut them off. It’s obnoxious.
  1. Save the slang for home, brah. Inside lingo between you and the office squad can be all-good. Just be careful not to exclude potential clients when taking your show on the road. Keep the conversation polite and more formal until you have the chance to break the ice.
  1. What about the ladies? We’re glad you asked. In the workplace, everyone should be treated equally. Hold the door open for her and him too. When in doubt, treat others how you would want to be treated yourself.
  1. Don’t discuss politics, although these days how can you not? When you’re in a business situation, take the high road whenever tense political conversation comes up. If it gets too tricky to navigate, change the subject and discuss something easier like religion.
  1. Always say please and thank you.

This article was written and appeared on Grooming Lounge and our Founder, Mike Gilman, were quoted a lot, so we borrowed the article. Giving them credit -- hope it's OK.

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