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15 Business Labels Professionals Need to Know

“A man without a smiling face should never open a shop,” or so the Chinese proverb goes. Truly, smiling goes a long way in brightening the mood for a friendlier and more understanding conversation. This is also true in business, especially when it comes to making a business partnership. However, there are more business etiquettes beyond smiling and showing off that these will show others that your customers and business are worth respecting.

* Introduce everyone, even when in doubt: There is a proper way to introduce people to each other. First, introduce the senior person, using his full name and his title or responsibility. Then introduce that person to the person who has lower authority. Be sure to also mention his full name. Finally, they can mention some details of each one as a topic of common interest. When you are introduced to someone, always stand up if you are sitting down.

* A firm handshake: The way businessmen shake hands often sets the tone between them. Giving a good, firm handshake will make a good first impression, as it can eventually lead to a successful business partnership. If you are the host or lead member, you should be the one to initiate the handshake.

*Admit if you forget their names: It’s not uncommon to forget the names of people you’ve recently been introduced to. If it happens, admit it and ask again as this shows that you care.

* Sitting down for a meeting: Whether the meeting is in a restaurant or in an office, in a group or one-on-one, it’s best not to pull out your chair for anyone. In a business environment, everyone needs to throw out gendered social rules and treat everyone equally. When seated, never cross your legs as it can be distracting and disrespectful.

* Restaurant meeting: Contrary to business instincts, don’t use your knife to break bread. Tear it off with your own hands, as this means your openness to your potential business partner. When you’re done with food, never push your plate or stack plates. Try not to have leftovers too. If your guest orders appetizers or dessert, you should order those too. This avoids the potential awkwardness of having other people at your party eating and you have nothing on your plate. If you are the host, you must pay for your guest unless you insist otherwise or are against your company’s gift policy.

* Dress appropriately – The way someone dresses is a form of non-verbal communication. Dressing appropriately for a gathering shows an automatic sign of respect for the guests or the host. Also, always check the dress code for an event, as some events may require more or less formal attire.

* Keep cell phones in your pockets: never put phones on the meeting table and don’t use them during the meeting. Only answer calls that are urgent and excuse yourself from the meeting and take your call outside so as not to interrupt the meeting.

* “Please” and “Thank you”: These two phrases show courtesy in any conversation and are the most important in a professional setting. Saying “please” can be used as much as necessary. “Thank you,” however, should be used once or twice, as saying it too many times can reduce its impact. If possible, thank everyone individually after a meeting.

* Stay sober: Businessmen have lost reputations and careers due to drunken behavior. Although none of the things said or done while drunk were intentional, it is a clear sign of disrespect for the host or guests. Don’t embarrass yourself or your business. Know your limits and control your pace.

* Show genuine interest – Always make eye contact in conversation and be sure to pay attention to every detail the guest says. Take the time to ask questions, as this shows that you were listening and interested.

* Double check emails: Simple mistakes can be made to derail a meeting or ruin a deal. You may have the wrong date and time for a meeting, you missed some documents to sign, or worse, your emails were sent to the wrong person, and you could put the company in jeopardy.

* Use professional photos – When using photos of yourself or anyone else for business purposes, always use an appropriate headshot. Companies would have to appear credible to other companies.

* Greet everyone anywhere: Regardless of seniority, always greet people. You may never know that you may actually be your next business partner. When people greet you, it is imperative that you greet them back.

* Don’t forget to smile: Just like the Chinese proverb, smiling works wonders on any occasion, whether it’s in a meeting, during presentations, or at a business social gathering.

End on a polite note: When you need to leave, be sure to politely exit with “It was nice meeting you” or “See you at the next meeting.”

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