The Ten Rules of Business Etiquette
Here are my rules of business etiquette that I have researched that will make networking at events and meetings an experience that you will look forward to:
- It’s better to arrive early than late. An early arrival shows enthusiasm for the event and respect for other people’s time. It also affords you the opportunity to meet more people.Arrive prepared. You have already read your Networking checklist so you have done your homework and research.
- Position your name tag so people can easily see it. Place your name tag on your right hand lapel. When meeting contacts, this will allow people to see your name better as they shake your right hand.
- Exchange business cards with ease and grace.Fresh, neat business cards are a must. Place them in a pocket where they are easily accessible and be sure to keep yours separate from the cards you receive. If you electronically exchange contact information use Airdrop or another app. that you are efficient with.
- Silently communicate to your connection. Make eye contact and keep it. It is noticeable when your eyes are wandering around the room searching for a “better” contact. Looking someone in the eye shows respect and interest. Eyes are the windows to the soul.
- Extend a confident greeting.Make your handshake firm, professional, and genuine. Bone crusher or jellyfish handshakes come across as intimidating or insecure. A sincere greeting will make a lasting impression.How many of us still remember someone who gave us the ‘Bone crusher’ to this day! I do.
- Avoid invading personal space. Be aware of your contact’s personal space. Moving in too close while conversing makes people uncomfortable. Most people consider anything closer than 18 inches too close and will back away from you. This varies in other countries, so be sure to do little body-language homework before you travel. I am doing that right now before I leave for Scotland and Ireland.
- Gracefully join conversations. Be sure to ask for permission to join a conversation in progress. Simply say, “This looks like a fun group, may I join in?” or “How do you all know each other?” You can tailor your request to fit your personality. People enjoy having you connect with them when you are courteous. Also look at their feet—if it is just two people and their feet are pointing towards each other, don’t interrupt. Walk over to a group of 3 or more.
- Avoid the awkwardness of food to chew and handle while you converse. While most events and meetings offer refreshments, refrain from eating and carrying on a conversation at the same time. It takes a lot of experience to balance a plate and eat while conversing. I don’t recommend it.
- Nonalcoholic networking is the best. A nonalcoholic drink without ice is the easiest to handle. Why no ice? Frigid handshakes are unpleasant. Why nonalcoholic? You’ll pay better attention.Common sense not always common practice.
- Politely exit conversations. Your objective at networking events should be to develop several connections. Talking with someone, learning about them and how to follow-up, exchanging contact information, and moving on is an accepted practice. When exiting a conversation, politely express pleasure at having met the individual and the hope that you will meet again. Develop your strategy and follow-up.
Successful business relationships, just like successful personal relationships, rely on common courtesy. Following these simple rules of etiquette will create a more relaxing opportunity for networking and your aptitude to be well-received at events or meetings.