When you think of the word etiquette, you might be imagining a Miss Manners book from the 1950s. Proper business etiquette, however, is about much more than using the right salad fork. Etiquette might seem old fashioned, but it’s also an essential business tool.
If you’re ignoring proper business etiquette, you’re doing so at your own peril. With more employers hiring based on company culture fit and communication skills, you can’t really afford to display ill manners. Whether you’re trying to nab a great job or finally nail that promotion, your manners matter much more than you might think.
Here are 10 business etiquette rules you might not have ever considered which can help you climb higher on your career ladder without stepping on any toes:
1. Introduce yourself with your full name. When first meeting someone, whether in a boardroom or a networking event, always introduce yourself with your full name. No matter the situation, the name of the game is to be as memorable as possible. If you only use your first name, your new contact might later struggle to remember which Kevin or Rachel you were. This is another reason why having business cards to hand are always a good idea, no matter the circumstance. Unless you’re Madonna, always include your last name in introductions.
2. Uncross your legs. Crossing your legs can be distracting, and even just a little bit too sexy. More importantly, however, is the health concerns. Crossing your legs can be very bad for your circulation.
3. Limit your “thanks yous.” It’s great to be grateful, but you don’t want to be overly thankful. Saying too many thank yous in a single conversation can actually work in reverse to your meaning, diluting the impact of your initial thanks. It can also work to make you come off as needy and unsure of yourself.
4. Keep your lunch in the kitchen. It’s easy to get overwhelmed at work and decide you don’t even have 20 minutes to eat lunch. Instead, you end up eating lunch hunched over your desk looking at spreadsheets. Not only is this a sad state of affairs for you, it’s also not great for your coworkers. Most of your coworkers don’t want to hear you crunching lettuce or smell your reheated leftovers. Take the time out of your day to eat lunch in the kitchen or common areas, even if it means taking only a short lunch. Your coworkers, and your stomach, will thank you.
5. Always pick up the tab if you did the inviting. If you invited clients or coworkers out to dinner, don’t look for contributions when the bill comes. If you were the host of the evening, proper etiquette dictates it’s your turn to pay the bill.