Business etiquette

In a business context, always open doors for clients, superiors or guests and let them pass through first. While overt expressions of chivalry are no more expected, both men and women are expected to hold a door till the person behind you takes over. It is customary to thank the person who holds a door open for you. In a business scenario, one should hold a door open for superiors or clients (regardless of gender) simply as a matter of respect.

When you are being introduced to a new person, the handshake should go on throughout the introduction. Ideally, this would mean there are about 6-7 pumps before you stop. Eye contact during a handshake reflects a person’s confidence and trustworthiness. It is important to remember that a handshake should start and stop crisply. Ideally, there should be about two to three pumps. Do not continue to hold hands through the length of the introduction.

Simply smile and thank the person for the compliment. When a person compliments you, it is not necessary to return the compliment. You can simply thank the person and graciously accept compliment. Etiquette demands that no matter how expensive your clothes and accessories are, you should not brag about designer labels or their cost.

Talk about pleasant weather at the weekend getaway you had been to recently. Boring though it may sound the safest topics that make for small talk and serve as icebreakers in social get-togethers are the weather, popular sports or the pleasant party setting.

Even if you are passionate about issues such as improving the education scenario or uprooting corruption, do not bring them up. For all you know, the person you may be talking to might be an educationist or a local politician himself / herself Topics such as religion, politics, family and personal appearance and grooming are an absolute no-no.

“Thank you, but could I have a soft drink instead?� It is perfectly fine not to have alcoholic drinks. However, do not make it sound as if drinking alcohol is a crime. Whether you drink or not is a personal choice and you are not bound to give long-winded excuses as a reply. Simply thank the host for offering the drink and state your preference.

If it is a business meeting involving people from other countries be prepared well in advance to know the country’s mannerisms and some thing about their cultures so that you can conduct yourself accordingly at the start and during the meeting. It is advisable to discuss for a short while some general and pleasant things before getting down to actual business.

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