Professional Development

The Importance of Etiquette in Business

How many times have you heard someone express social etiquette in a way that made you wonder what they were thinking? Well, you could begin by making sure that you are not making any of the following social etiquette mistakes. Saying "thank you" publicly upon receiving an invitation to an event or a new job usually feels more like gratitude than respect. People might not understand your gesture of thankfulness and it could come across as rude. If you would like to know how to say thank you without offending people, continue reading.

Thank you for attending my open house, but I must decline. Do not let the overly polite doorman or attendant push you into a corner so that he can snap a picture of you with all of the other attendees. If he truly cares about your well being, he will not do this. If there is another group that you should be meeting with, he could send you a private message instead of making it an event that requires everyone's undivided attention. The bottom line is: you do not have to stand in line to thank someone; polite business manners suffice.

As for what business social etiquette refers to, it is how you should conduct yourself during mealtime. Etiquette may state that you should not be in front of the dining room table when your spouse or family member is eating with you. This type of etiquette refers to an important life event that you should probably wait to partake in. In general, however, people are expected to be courteous when dining with friends or family. It is rude to talk incessantly during a meal.

One of the most important business etiquette rules that relates to women is that you should never give a young woman any type of gifts above her salary. You should not buy her expensive jewelry, designer clothes or other gifts as these items can be perceived as very expensive and not affordable to most young women. If you have a young daughter who is attending college, be sure to make her aware of the social etiquette rules regarding gifts so she does not end up getting a gift that is inappropriate for her status in life.

When it comes to talking with many people, including business associates, it is always important to keep things on the level in which they were created. For example, a conversation that begins with, "I just had a wonderful dinner" is much different than a conversation in which the person talking begins with, "You had a great dinner last night." Although the two sentences are obviously related, the first sentence states how the events happened while the second sentence starts with, "I had a great dinner last night." It would be difficult to have a successful business conversation with someone who begins with, "I just had a wonderful dinner."

One great social etiquette faux pas that often occurs is when the host or hostess forgets to give the proper thank you. This is a mistake that can be easily avoided. In the business world, hosts and hostesses are expecting to be careful with their language and expectations. There are many great resources available that can teach even the novice host or hostess how to say the proper phrase in such an informal setting. In fact, just reviewing some of the websites for etiquette schools, as well as books such as The Art of Conversational Cooking, will likely help you to develop your own informal skills for making the right impressions.

You may not be able to eliminate other types of etiquette faux pas from your life, but you should try to avoid doing them as much as possible. For example, it is perfectly acceptable to say thank you in a greeting, but saying, "I'd like to thank you for sharing this beautiful table setting with us." Is there any confusion? These types of phrases will sound very formal and very rich and classy, but they will really not show your gratitude in a very good manner. Instead, use "thank you very much" and leave the hostess free to send you on your way.

It is also a good idea to look at the people around you when you are making your way to and from social events. While you should always keep your head down and try not to draw too much attention to yourself, it is rude to do the same in pictures. If you are standing in front of a beautiful object when your neighbor suddenly points and shouts out, "You got to see that! That's a waste!" you will probably have to take a little extra time remembering to make sure you are not following this poor etiquette faux pas.