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Business Etiquette Tips You Need to Know

We are back in full swing of in-person networking, business lunches and coffee meet-ups. Here are a few tips to ensure that you’re polished and leave a great impression.

Networking Event

  • Always keep your right hand free for handshakes or fist bumps.  
  • When meeting somebody new who is a higher rank, don’t offer your business card. Ask if it is okay that you send them an email. Most savvy networkers will suggest a LinkedIn connection. 
  • Limit alcohol consumption. You want to ensure you are ready to hold great conversations. Seltzer water with lime and mint is fresh and fancy!

Business Lunch

  • Always review the menu before you arrive, so you get a sense of what to order. Nothing worse than studying the menu for 15 minutes. Also, you don’t have to announce you already know what you want; just let the conversation flow and review the menu briefly before ordering.
  • Arrive 10 – 15 minutes early. Do a Google search to get sense of location, directions, parking details, etc.
  • Don’t order a smorgasbord — a salad and main course is the usual. Also, order something that is easy to spear with a fork and not incredibly difficult to eat. This is not the time to twirl spaghetti or eat a messy burger.
  • Remember: A business lunch is more about your professional presence, not the meal.

Coffee Meet-up

  • If you are the host, choose a coffee shop with seating or benches nearby.
  • Arrive early to get a good seat — and wipe the table off, if needed.
  • If you are the guest, let the host pay without awkwardness, if offered. A simple, “Thank you, that is so kind,” is all that is needed.
  • Don’t try anything new. If you don’t like your drink, it ruins the experience. I always go with my standard “Vanilla Latte”. YUM!

I’m a certified etiquette trainer through the Protocol School of Washington!  Let me know if these tips are helpful!

Treva Smith is a federal human resources, diversity and inclusion, and business operations professional, with over 33 years of service. Treva enjoys advising and mentoring individuals navigating their career paths to meet identified goals. She specializes in career planning and personal branding, and is certified to instruct Business Etiquette through the distinguished Protocol School of Washington and a certified Global Career Development Facilitator through National Employment Counseling Association. Connect with her on LinkedIn.

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