This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.
I have a saying, you never want to do the wrong things, in front of the right people. In our more casual society, it’s easy for some professional nuances to slip through the crack. Here is what I consider 5 Business Etiquette mistakes you need to avoid.
Drinking Too Much: At most business and networking events, we know there’s going to be a bar. These functions are meant to be a time to develop relationships, exchange ideas, and discover synergies for collaborations while networking with those in attendance. By drinking too much, you’ll come off as unprofessional, avoid the consumption of alcohol altogether if possible, but if the situation presents itself, please exercise control. Give yourself two drinks maximum.
Manners During Emails: Not because you interact with any of your clients or contacts daily means that it’s okay to write emails that are too casual or inappropriate. When writing any email, be sure to keep it professional and polite. Think of an email as you would a typical letter, always address it to the person receiving the email, use proper grammar and ensure your signature has your correct contact information. Refrain from sending sentimental, personal, or chain letters with your work email.
Punctuality: Be considerate and value the time of others, especially clients. Make every effort to stay on schedule. We have the technology to aid us. Set a reminder on your calendar or on your cell phone to alert you with plenty of time to attend your meeting, be it in person or online.
Gossiping: Refrain from being included in conversations of gossip. Business circles often intertwine, and you do not want to tarnish your reputation by being associated with others who gossip. One day you may be the topic of discussion. “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Being Absent-Minded: Scientists say human beings have a 7-minute attention span. You’re focused, you drift off, and then return to what you were doing, we’ve all been there. Practice active listening so you understand what is being said to respond appropriately. When on a call avoid the temptation to check your text messages or emails unless they’re related.
You may look at those etiquette mistakes and think you have them covered but there is always that unforeseen moment and that’s when those simple things happen in front of the right people.
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