The 10 Basics of Business Etiquette

In the business world, good manners is essential for getting ahead. Proper etiquette can help people land jobs, get promotions and establish excellent relationships with others. The most successful businessmen and women know how to turn on the charm and exhibit their best business etiquette to get the job done professionally and effectively.

Listening Skills

Communication is the lifeblood of business. For people to get along, work in unison and establish professional relationships with one another, they must communicate with the appropriate etiquette. Listening skills are a main part of communication etiquette. When others are speaking do not interrupt them. Employ active listening techniques, such as making good eye contact and showing the speaker that you are paying attention to them.


The Society for Technical Communication says it is proper business etiquette to show up on time, or, preferably, a few minutes early to meetings. Come prepared with pen and paper.


The way you dress impacts whether you have good business etiquette. The business world is professional, and the people who work in it must dress to reflect that level of professionalism. As such, make sure your clothes are clean and pressed, and that you wear suits, blouses, skirts, blazers, ties or other clothing that makes a good impression.


Remember to always say please and thank you when you interact with others, in person or over written correspondence. Being polite makes you pleasant to work with and shows respect.

Best Behaviour

To be on your best behaviour, always give others your utmost attention when they are speaking or conducting a presentation. Put your cell phone away during this time and do not engage in side conversations with co-workers.


Shaking hands with your business counterparts establishes rapport and is in good form. For international interactions, research how that culture greets one another professionally in business, as not all countries see shaking hands as a form of respect.

Table Manners

There will be times when you have to attend a business luncheon. According to the University of Delaware, some tableside manners to practice are not speaking with your mouth full, using your napkin and not setting bags or briefcases on the table.


Ravenwerks, an organization for global ethics, etiquette and effectiveness, says to always be diplomatic when engaged in a business conversation, even if you disagree with what others are saying. Apologize if you step on other peoples’ toes, but do not be afraid to hold true to your convictions.


Never raise your voice to others in the work environment, or use foul language toward them. Keep your tone as neutral as possible, and avoid “talking down” to others.

Following Up

Following up correspondence is seen as a proper gesture. After working with a client, customer or coworker it is in good form to send a thank-you email or note, recognizing their business or efforts.

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