Corporate Etiquette: learn how to use it to your advantage


Corporate etiquette can be defined as the ability to use social skills to do business with courtesy, affability and service; and it is necessary for all commercial and personal relationships

Whenever an employee has a meeting with customers, business etiquette helps define the image of their company and manage business relationships. Business etiquette is not confined to rules, but rather a set of guidelines to help conduct business with ease, style and confidence. Here we will offer some skills that will help any professional appropriately handle day-to-day business situations.

Introductions serve to introduce two people, or a new person to a group, or a conversation, or even to telephone a prospect. Today, introductions are less formal, but they are still important.

In the corporate world, it is hierarchy and not gender or age that determines who is introduced to whom. The most important person (or one with most authority) that should be mentioned first during introductions:

“Carlos, I would like to introduce you to my colleague, André Fernão. André, this is Carlos Rodrigues, Director of Marketing for DBX.”

There is an exception to the rule for people of the same level. In this case, the social etiquette norms are important: the oldest person (or female) should be mentioned first.
In the case of clients, we cannot forget that they are always more important:

“Mrs. Silvia Amanda (client), I would like you to meet the President of the company, Mr. Mauro Andrade.”

When in doubt, stick to the following guidelines:

– The older person to the younger
– A colleague to someone from a different company
– A trainee to an executive
– A colleague to a client
Many people soon forget names after being introduced. Try to overcome this problem by using memorization techniques. If you forget the name of someone who you have already met, you should be honest and ask. Be sensitive and say, “I’m sorry, it slipped my mind, I forgot your name!” If you don’t hear someone’s name properly, say so and ask the person to repeat it. It is important to pronounce names correctly as a show of respect and consideration. If someone calls you by the wrong name, discreetly correct them.

etiqueta1In the corporate environment the appropriate way to greet someone is with a handshake. A good handshake speaks volumes about your professionalism and credibility. A proper handshake should be done with your right hand. First, make eye contact and smile. Then extend the hand, the palm must be extended – the two meet and complement each other. The handshake should last long enough for two people to introduce themselves. A firm handshake transmits confidence, security, interest and respect. A weak handshake can send the wrong message. There are cultures that kiss on the cheek as a greeting. When in doubt, the most senior person determines the type of greeting. You respond in the manner with which you were received. If you are a visitor, wait for the recipient to extend their hand first.

Punctuality is a quality that demonstrates professionalism and a characteristic that helps people form a first impression. Delays and late arrivals can wreak havoc on your personal image. Being on time shows respect for people and the company, and helps you best use your time to prioritise your work.

The importance of business cards
A business card reflects the professional image of your business. As a communication tool that ideally transmits credibility. Always ensure you have cards on your person to present to potential clients or other business associates, including on weekends. You can make important contacts and exchange business cards in the most unlikely of places. Check that your cards are always impeccable, without damage or ink marks, at the end of the day they reflect the image of the company. The best way to carry business cards is to use a specific wallet or holder, preferably one with a hard case. When you are given a business card, take a few seconds to look at it. Then, make a comment about the design or details (if appropriate) and put it in your wallet.

Do not give more than one business card to a new contact. Just give one card. Only exchange more than one card should if asked. Offer your card with the printed information facing the recipient. Hold the top of the card, making sure not to cover the text. You should not write on a business card that you receive from somebody. Once you have met someone you can ask for a business card, however, if the person is more senior than you, you should wait to be offered a card. Remember: if they want you to have a business card they will offer you one. If the person with whom you are talking seems interested in a product or service, offer them a business card.

Well, these are the first tips. I am certain that they will help with relationship building. But, we still have much to consider and talk about.


About Author

Reference in the image consulting area, she is a professor Specialist in Postgraduate Course in Image and Style Consulting in Fine Arts of São Paulo and Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado (FAAP).