Business Etiquette – Your tool for social & cultural intelligence

Business Etiquette – Your tool for social & cultural intelligence

Customs and etiquette vary wildly from country to country, and business professionals are often unaware of the differences. What is perfectly reasonable to one culture can be highly inappropriate to another. So where does this leave us when working and living in multi-cultural companies or cities?

For instance the French prefer to shake hands lightly, as do the Japanese and South Koreans, and pre-business chit-chat may be customary in Brazil, but this is not the case in Russia, Switzerland and a number of other countries.

Nowhere is the lack of culture awareness more evident or more problematic than in the world of business. Building trust and effective relationships is key to business success, yet it is hard to develop relationships when behavior is not understood or misinterpreted.

Here are a few top tips which will help you from embarrassment in business situations-

  • Stand when you are being introduced to someone

    You want to make your presence known and standing can help convey that. If you are in the middle of something or caught off guard, make it a point to lean forward to indicate that you would stand if you could.

  • Always say your full name during introductions

    Using your full name can help people remember you. When introducing yourself, use your full name, but also be conscious of how others would like to be introduced. If you have a long name or a name that is hard to pronounce, you should consider shortening it or writing down the proper pronunciation on a business card and give that out.

  • Remember peoples’ names

    Remembering names is the key to good manners and etiquette. Repeat the name after you’ve been introduced to the person. Then use it again as soon as possible to underline the name in your memory. Look at the person as you say their name. Note anything visual about that person that will help you anchor that name in your memory.

  • Always initiate the hand-shake if you are the higher-ranking person or host

    Regardless of gender, the host or higher-ranking person should always extend the hand first. If this person fails to do so immediately, the other person should extend their hand. Whoever initiates it, the handshake should always happen because the handshake is the standard business greeting. A proper handshake will leave the impression that you mean business.

  • Dress appropriately

    Your clothing is an important form of non-verbal communication. What you choose to wear can either enhance your professional reputation or detract from your credibility. Figure out what the dress code is before you attend any events or meetings and be sure your attire falls within those standards.

  • Business Lunch/Dinner Meetings

    When the server asks for your meal order before your guests', it's the perfect time to say, "I'd like my guests to order first." Besides being appropriate, it lets the server know that the bill should be left with you at the end of the meal.When reaching for the bread basket, salad dressing, etc., offer them to your guests before using them yourself.

  • Be punctual for business appointments

    Being on time or late for an appointment can tell a lot about a professional and his interest/disinterest in the other party. If you are going to be late because of a genuine reason, ensure that you call and keep the other person informed about it and apologize.

    Also, we can’t meet with everyone who wants a piece of our day, and deep inside we know when we really don’t want to meet with someone. If you don’t want to meet someone, just tell them so. Your time is important, so is everybody’s.

Every culture has different expectations regarding dress, business meeting conduct, negotiations, social settings, introductions, treatments of peers, subordinates and superiors, business correspondence and business cards – to name a few areas that are problematic.

The person who makes an effort to understand global business etiquette and makes sure they make time for cultural intelligence is the person who will have the extra edge./p>

27 January 2018 Posted by: Sunita P (Sr Trainer)