The business world is full of rules and etiquette. Some are fairly obvious like being punctual, dressing appropriately, and being friendly and courteous. Others are less apparent but can make a big difference in how you present yourself.
Put your best foot forward and don’t stumble over these more subtle business etiquette rules by following our advice below.
1. Stand For Introductions
You should stand up whenever you’re introducing yourself to someone. The same is true in cases where you are being introduced. Standing establishes presence while showing respect. It makes you more visible, memorable, and difficult to ignore.
Standing is a better position for offering or accepting handshakes. It allows for better eye contact and makes it easier for people to hear you when you say your name. Remaining seated gives the impression that you can’t be bothered.
2. Use Your Full Name
When you’re introducing yourself to someone you should clearly state your first and last name. Not only is it more formal, it also shows a level of confidence as well as transparency and trust. First names are for friends, but full names are for professionals.
Stating your full name has the added advantage of making it easier for people to find you. Whether they are trying to look you up in the company directory, or find your profile on LinkedIn, having your first and last name will make the task easier. It’s in your best interest to make yourself easy to find.
3. Know How To Point
If you need to bring attention to something specific, point to it by using your whole hand while keeping your fingers together. This is true for items on a whiteboard, but it is even more vital for people. Never point to a person with your index finger. It appears aggressive and is considered rude.
4. Slow Down On The Gratitude
You might think that being generous with your thank you's would be a good thing, but it isn’t. Avoid saying thank you more than twice during a conversation and say it only when you mean it. Don’t overuse it and dilute the impact of the words. A thank you should be sincere and from the heart.
If you’re overzealous with the gratitude you might come across as helpless, needy, or weak. Some people might feel that you’re trying to hard. At other times you may be giving the impression that your constant use of the words thank you are a tactic to get even more out of someone.
5. Know When To Shake Hands
When you greet someone, there should generally always be a handshake. It is customary for the person of higher rank to extend their hand first. The only exception to this rule would be a host at an outing or event.
If, for whatever reason, the higher ranking person doesn’t immediately offer their hand for that handshake, then the lower ranking person should do so. The need for the handshake trumps the hierarchy for initializing that contact.
6. Keep Your Brand Professional
It’s smart to maintain a presence online but keep your profiles professional. Use appropriate headshots that make you look credible and approachable. Your photo should be clear and display your head, face, as well as part of your chest and shoulders. Make sure you dress appropriately for your headshot too.
It is also key to have a professionally appropriate email address which clearly displays your name. Don’t use anything cute or too descriptive. First/last name is always the safest route.
Have you been guilty of breaking these rules?
Sierra E is a Los-Angeles based trial lawyer and entrepreneur. She became partner at her law firm in 2015 and has made numerous appearances as a guest legal correspondent on CNN. In 2018, Sierra launched SuitKits, an online shopping service that allows women to custom design suits and separates to fit their exact measurements, style, color and cut. Through her career, her writings, and her company, Sierra hopes to help women from all backgrounds achieve both personal and professional success for the benefit of themselves and their families. You can find her on Twitter/Facebook/IG @SuitKits