Business Etiquette

Etiquette is a way of behaving – and in this case, it’s a way of behaving that promoted a positive view of your business and what you’re selling.

Below are some guidelines on a variety of etiquette types that will help you be a professional business person to your customers, suppliers, and the world.

Attire for Meetings and Events 

  • Business/Business Casual/Casual
    • Business – Young Men:
      • Shirt and tie with slacks
      • Sports jacket or suit
      • Nice shoes – not tennis shoes
    • Business – Ladies:
      • Dress, nice skirt or suit
      • Heels or nice flats
    • Business Casual – guys:
      • Slacks or khakis
      • Collared dress shirt or polo (shirt tucked-in)
      • Nice shoes or black tennis shoes
    • Business casual – ladies:
      • Slacks, blouse or polo shirt
      • No sandals
  • Casual
    • Nice jeans, conservative shorts
    • Cotton T-shirts
    • Tennis shoes, sandals


  • Come prepared to any meeting
  • Be on time or even early
  • Shows respect to the host
  • Give the host your full attention during the meeting or at a speaking engagement


  • Most important gesture in the business world
  • Don’t be afraid to extend your hand first
  • Appropriate times to handshake: When you meet, greet or say goodbye

Addressing Adults

  • Always use titles if you aren’t sure
  • Examples: Dr. Jones, Senator Smith
  • Wait for permission to use first name
  • Use Mr. or Ms. Whenever possible to show respect


  • Observe name on the tag
  • If you are introduced – shake hands, give greeting, and repeat his/her name to help you remember. Some reminders:
    • Stand up, if seated
    • Smile
    • Make eye contact
    • Extend your hand
  • Make small talk – helps you to remember the person
  • Conclude politely – “It was a pleasure to meet you” etc.
  • If introducing yourself – shake hands, give greeting, and give complete information about yourself:
    • “Hello. I’m Joey and a run a lemonade stand.”
  • When introducing someone else, give full name, title if appropriate and you know it, and context:
    • This is my business partner, Ashley.  She is in charge of marketing.

Receptions / Events

  • Do not talk with food in your mouth
  • Look for newcomers and reach out to welcome them
  • Dress appropriately for the occasion

Thank You Notes

  • Always thank people — verbally or written

Voice Mail Messages

  • Identify yourself – say your name slowly
  • Leave a brief and succinct message
  • Always leave phone number – ok to repeat

Email Etiquette

  • Be sure to sign off with your full name – not all email addresses i
  • nclude your name, i.e.
  • Add phone number if necessary

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