THINK YOU KNOW THE RULES? THERE MIGHT STILL BE
SAND IN YOUR SOCIAL GEARS.
MIND YOUR BUSINESS MANNERS
By Ann Marie Sabath
Actions that most people take for granted, or
never think about, affect business deals. You may have the greatest
product or the most marketable service since the invention of instant
coffee, but if there is sand in your social gears, you may as well not
be there in the first place.
Business relations at all levels
should be simple and effortless – or at least should seem that way. With
increased competition, having the right price or the right product isn’t
always enough; the comfort level between business people must also be
“Perhaps that’s why, according
to a recent USA Weekend story, one of the themes for the ‘90s was
“good manners means good business.” Knowing what to do and when to do it
projects confidence and savoir-faire essential to success.
So, whether you are meeting a
client for the first time, conducting business over lunch or making
telephone calls in transit, one thing is certain: your actions are being
FIRST THINGS FIRST
It takes 15 seconds to make a first impression,
and the rest of your life to undo it if it was a negative one. Observing
the “Rule Twelve” is the key to projecting a positive image:
The first 12 words
you speak should include some form of thanks, if appropriate. When
meeting someone for the first time, express your gratitude. Example:
“Thank you for scheduling this meeting.”
The first 12 steps
you take should be those of confidence. Whether you are walking from the
parking lot to your office, or are going to the reception area to greet
clients, walk with a purpose – with vim, vigor and vitality.
The first 12
inches from your shoulders down should include impeccable grooming. Your
hair, collar and tie/scarf accessories should be a reflection of the
quality person you are.
GREETINGS AND INTRODUCTIONS
What you say and how you say it is “The name of
the game”. That’s why the four most commonly asked questions about
greetings and introductions are listed below:
Q: When introducing my
supervisor to a client, whose name should I say first?
Q: When being introduced to a
woman client; is it appropriate for a man to initiate a handshake?
Absolutely. In the past, social
etiquette dictated that men should wait for women to initiate the
handshake. However, in today’s business arena, it is appropriate for
either party to initiate this gesture of welcome.
Q: What is the best way to
remember the name of a person I’ve just met?
A: When meeting someone for the first
time, make a point of using his or her name when shaking hands. By
repeating it at least once during your conversation, the name will be
reinforced in your mind.
Q: What should you do when you
encounter someone whose name “slips your mind”?
When the person approaches you,
extend your hand and say your name. Typically, the one person will mimic
your actions by giving his or her name.
CAR PHONE ETIQUETTE
Whether you’re breezing down the freeway or
stalled in traffic, car phone courtesy should be automatic. When calling
form a car phone:
and indicate that you are calling from a car phone. This may expedite
When receiving a
call on your mobile phone, identify yourself with your first and last
When you have
passengers, your car phone should be used sparingly, if at all.
When calling someone’s car
and ask if this is a good time to talk.
Remember, using a
car phone is expensive. Discuss only pressing issues; save other
conversations for office calls.
If at all
possible, refrain from putting car phone users on hold.
9 KEY RULES FOR BUSINESS DINING
clients to lunch, remember that the restaurant you select is perceived
as an extension of your office. Choose a restaurant where the food is of
good quality and the service is reliable.
success. When frequenting the same restaurant, you can expect to be
recognized, called by name and shown to an area that is conducive to
When escorted to a
table by a maitre d’, your guest(s) should precede you. When seating
yourself, take the lead.
Be sure to offer
the “power” seat to your guest. Seat yourself with your back to the door
or main part of the room.
When making a food
recommendation, realize that most guests will also take your suggestion
as a guideline to suitable price ranges.
When the server
asks for your order before your guests’, say “I’d like my guests to
order first.” Besides being appropriate, it’s a cue that you will take
care of the check at the end of the meal.
When reaching for
the bread basket, salad dressing, etc., offer them to your guests before
Treat your server with the same consideration you show to your business
associates. A generous tip is a small price to pay for good service,
personal attention and the business you hope you’ll earn.
MEN AND WOMEN AS COLLEAGUES
Here are some social courtesies that are still
welcomed by many women in the business world:
When at a business
meal with a woman, a man should offer to hold her chair as she is being
When a woman
excuses herself from a business luncheon for a “fleeting moment”, the
man seated closest to her should acknowledge her departure and return by
When going through
a revolting door, a man should precede a woman.
When going down an
escalator, a man should precede a woman.
When going up an
escalator, a woman should precede a man.
Believe it or not “non-machismo”
chivalry is much appreciated. Note: My own findings in workshops with
executive woman indicate that up to 60 percent of them welcome these
If you are a woman and prefer
that these niceties not be extended to you, you may drop the hint by
saying, “Thank you, but that’s not necessary.”