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What is business etiquette?

What is business etiquette?

Basic business etiquette is not about following the rules and regulations of your organization. Instead, it's about professionally conducting yourself to make the business environment safe, equal, and comfortable for everyone. Accordingly, defining business etiquette is challenging—it changes between organizations and across the globe.

That said, there are a few standard principles you'll find anywhere. Improving your business etiquette is vital for business success. 

What is business etiquette, and why is it important? 

Proper business etiquette is a skill you'll learn throughout your career. It's about using a professional approach to build strong relationships within the workplace. How each business communicates internally differs. However, adopting business etiquette will help your professional success wherever you work. 

The basics of business etiquette are:

What are the benefits of business etiquette?

The importance of business etiquette often goes unsaid. However, it's crucial for a productive workplace. If everyone presents themselves in a mutually respectful manner, everyone feels more comfortable expressing ideas or challenges. As such, employees will feel the company values their work, an excellent example of employee recognition.

In addition to improving the internal workplace atmosphere, it can also improve customer and investor relations. Ensure you list business etiquette skills in a cover letter and showcase it to the job interviewer.

What are some do's and don'ts of business etiquette?

There aren't any official guidelines. However, here are the basic rules of proper business etiquette.

Body language

Pay attention to your body language. In the West, we typically greet each other by shaking hands. If you're working abroad, ensure you research the proper greeting. A firm handshake is all the contact you should have with your coworkers in the workplace. 

During meetings, maintain eye contact with your colleagues. Eye contact is one of the main aspects of active listening. By paying attention to what is said, you'll show respect for your coworkers and improve your responses.

All in all, try to present yourself in a friendly, respectful, and professional way. Don't frown, cross your arms, look at the clock, or indicate a negative attitude.

Always use names in a meeting

An excellent way to build strong relationships is to use a person's name when talking to them. When entering a meeting, ensure you introduce yourself and pay attention to the names of others. If unsure about the level of formality, it's always best to opt for 'Mr,' 'Miss,' 'Ms,' or 'Mrs.'

If you have trouble remembering names, write them down. It's a good idea to check their spellings and pronunciations, so you don't offend anyone.

The three 'R's

One of the reasons there are no universal business etiquette rules is that everyone is different. Even within one organization, we perceive things differently, so everyone's idea of etiquette differs.

As a result, it's a good idea to remember the psychological needs of others with the three 'R's.

  • Recognition.

  • Respect.

  • Response.

A business etiquette tip: even if you do not act perfectly, others should appreciate the intention to follow the three 'R's.

Wardrobe and hygiene

It may seem obvious, but dressing and looking professional is paramount. Hygiene can be anything from dirty clothes to finger biting in a meeting. We all have habits we are unaware of, so try to recognize if you have any turn-offs. For example, if you're eating in the office, follow dining etiquette to avoid irritating anyone. 

Similarly, dressing well shows proper etiquette. Adhere to any dress codes. If your organization doesn't have any, dress smartly. The importance of first impressions can make or break your professional development. 

Cracking inappropriate jokes 

Remember that business culture is not the same as your friends or family. You may get on well with your colleagues, but the office is still not the place to crack inappropriate jokes. Pay extra attention to how you conduct yourself in an open-plan office, where others might hear and take offense.

Similarly, if on a business lunch, remember to follow the rules of conduct. While the atmosphere might be more relaxed, try to discuss business only. 

Showing gratitude

Courtesy and respect make for better interpersonal communication. A positive attitude, smiling, and a thank you will go a long way to improving relationships. Whether you're a manager or coworker, showing gratitude and recognition when others go out of their way for you is vital.

Additionally, try to emphasize that you mean your thanks. Make eye contact and indicate precisely why you're grateful. 

Leaving people waiting

Its common courtesy to arrive on time. If you have problems with time tracking, make an effort to improve your time management

If your company has a visitor management system or remote entry security technology, make sure to schedule access automatically to conference rooms or comfortable waiting rooms ahead of time. 

Now, we can't always help being late. If there is an unavoidable reason, try to let the person waiting know ahead of time and apologize for your lateness.


In the business world, the rules of business etiquette urge respect. One of the most significant indicators of a respectful relationship is showing patience and listening. Wait your time to talk in a meeting. If you have something urgent to say, wait until others have finished speaking. 

Plus, use a polite tone of voice; don't sound impatient. If you need to improve your emotional intelligence and social skills, take an online course and develop workplace etiquette. 

Business etiquette tips

Communication with coworkers doesn't stop when we leave the room in today's world. In-person business etiquettes are one thing, but how do we conduct ourselves on other forms of communication? As technology constantly evolves, business etiquette rules try to keep up.

Instant messaging 

Many offices have an instant electronic communication platform. While it might feel like social media, remember that you still have to maintain professionalism. Remember that while it's "instant," not everyone has the time to reply straight away. Additionally, it may be a more casual form of communication, but you should still stick to work-related topics only.


Video or phone calls have been more common than ever since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. If it's not a planned meeting, ensure you introduce yourself and your reason for calling. If it's a meeting, make sure you know who's leading to avoid people talking over each other. 

Telephone etiquette is much the same as in-person communication. Just because you're talking over cell phones doesn't mean you shouldn't give your undivided attention.


Emails are the halfway point between formal and informal messaging. Business emails should start with a polite greeting, addressing the person by name. Similarly, sign off with respectful "kind regards" or "best wishes." 

How to do business in china etiquette?

With business travel taking up again, you need to conduct yourself professionally wherever you are on the globe. Our etiquette basics will help you in any country. In China, there are a few extra things to bear in mind:

  • Business cards are a must.

  • Arrive 15 minutes early to meetings.

  • Send gifts to business partners.

  • More personal questions are not bad manners.

How can you learn business etiquette?

Improving business etiquette is something you'll do throughout your work life. However, to quickly pick up etiquette rules, take an online course. Courses for Success offer a Business Etiquette Online Certificate Course. It teaches you basic business etiquette guidelines for different situations and develops your career.

A certificate in business etiquette will prove your commitment to your professionalism within your job to future employers.

Why Courses for Success? 

Courses for Success offers more than 10,000 online courses, all of which assist in advancing your professional and personal goals. You can study them at home, any time of the day or night, and complete the courses at your own pace.

Our courses will enhance your skills and help improve your career possibilities in any field, from our coding training and trading courses to design and developer courses. Once you successfully complete a course with us, you will receive a certificate online. In addition, industry professionals recognize Courses for Success' online business etiquette course, which will increase your chance of obtaining your dream job. Sign up today and make a name for yourself in your chosen profession.

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