What is business etiquette and why you should be concerned about it?
First of all, business etiquette is a very broad term, encompassing multiple aspects of the business interactions. These include business manners, business attire, business communications, business dining, client entertaining, business culture, cross-cultural differences, international protocol, basic workplace etiquette, netiquette and more.
Business etiquette, in my opinion, is a philosophy of building and fostering business relations based on trust, integrity, best practices, and cultural and regional sensitivities. Business etiquette is not a “business behaviour code” – it can be defined only as “guiding principals for success in business.”
The meaning of “social etiquette” (a term derived mainly from the mandated practices of the French King, Louis XIV), has been widely misunderstood and poorly interpreted. For centuries, it has been associated with the elite social etiquette of “royals” and those of the “upper crust.” Therefore, even today, when you ask a regular person what is “etiquette,” you can expect to hear vague and snickering references to the proper use of utensils – fork, knife, and spoon.
I often say that etiquette is “not about fork and knife” – it’s about consideration and respect toward the people around us. Knowing which fork to use at a dinner table is good, but knowing how to avoid offending your fellow diners is about etiquette and manners.
Likewise, Business Etiquette is about how our business relationships reflect thoughtful consideration of the interests and wellbeing of others; and they are also deeply connected to our own business goals and aspirations. Mutual trust and communication will develop based on your personal qualities – integrity, respect, responsiveness – eventually leading to business growth, prosperity, and ultimate success! Every aspect of proper business etiquette will showcase your best business manners, thereby securing crucial partnerships for rewarding business outcomes.
Knowledge of business etiquette is, of course, not all it will take to ring your cash register, but it will minimise any misunderstandings or business blunders that can ultimately kill a deal-in-progress. The presence or lack of business manners might not be immediately apparent or visible, but will certainly impact your bank account!
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