5 Business Etiquette Tips for Everyone

Good manners will open lots of doors for you in life. This is especially true in the workplace, where good business etiquette will help propel you to success, while poor business etiquette could stall or even end your career. Here are some easy tips to keep you in your coworkers’ good graces, and help you avoid common social mistakes in the office, regardless of your industry.

First Impressions Count

The old saying “You never get a second chance at a first impression” is correct. People will remember if they are impressed by you when you first meet. If they aren’t, they may think negatively of you, or forget meeting you all together. When meeting new or potential coworkers, smile, maintain eye contact and stand straight. Learning and remember people’s names is also an important aspect of business etiquette.

Nothing Good Comes from Gossip

Here’s another time-tested adage: “Loose lips sink ships.” In any office environment, gossip is the biggest breach of business etiquette. At the very least, it’s a waste of time. In extreme cases, it can sink a company. Usually the result is somewhere in the middle, amounting to hurt feelings, mistrust, or long visits with the HR manager. As you can see, none of this is good. If you have issues with a coworker, try to resolve them through proper channels, and keep it to yourself.

Establish and Maintain Open Communication

Good communication, on the other hand, is essential to a productive and happy workplace. Understand how the people you work with process information, and know when it’s best to email them, call them, or see them face-to-face. Always do what you say you will, take notes in meetings, and default to positivity.

Be Aware of Your Work Environment and Conduct Yourself Appropriately

Read the room! If you are being objective, it’s very easy to see what sort of language, behavior and dress are appropriate by observing and emulating fellow staff members whom you respect and have been around for a while. Always err on the side of caution.

Strike the Balance Between Being Personal and Professional

Finally, you want to be friendly, outgoing and personable. But you must draw a line and avoid over-sharing and/or bringing too much negativity from your personal life into your office. It’s perfectly fine to ask people how their weekend was, or to tell short, pleasant anecdotes about your home life, but exercise discretion when talking about personal or medical issues.

Nothing bad can come from behaving well at work, and it may lead you to more exciting opportunities!

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