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By Connie Pheiff

Etiquette is not charm school; it’s a set of guidelines for everyday living. Mastering the art of etiquette will project a polished image of an executive (Dr. Joan, 2006).

If you are out networking, you’re busy greeting and meeting new friends. If you played your cards right with proper etiquette, spoke with confidence, energy, and didn’t drink too much and danced on the tables, you are starting 2014 generating new business.

Business schools rarely discuss professional etiquette topics. I’ve never been known to hold back. Whether you work in the public or private sector the essentials of business etiquette remain the same. Here are a few tips.

  • Always tell the other person your NAME and remember their name. If you’re like me and have trouble remembering names, try a name game or learn a memory game. I did and it works.
  • STAND when being introduced. Did you ever go to a networking event where someone is sitting when they are introduced? And they remain sitting while they talk about themselves? STAND-UP!
  • Don’t REPEAT your message, unless you are asked. Repeating your message will weaken your impression and you will seem nervous and less confident.
  • FOLLOW-UP immediately after – the rule of thumb is 24 hours. My recommendation is written thank you notes. Email is sooooo impersonal.
  • Watch your BODY language. No pointing, have good eye contact, or crossing your legs and looking sexy (ladies). Sorry it’s not singles night at the local club.
  • If you’re out to dinner, don’t ask for a DOGGIE BAG. My husband was at a dinner meeting where one of the attendees wrapped his left overs in his napkin. DO NOT ATTEMPT!
  • If you ask for the meeting – be prepared to pay the BILL. If you’re a nonprofit organization you can argue this point. A nonprofit should not spend money on dinner. Consider this – you ask a donor to coffee, if the donor invites you to dinner – THEY’RE PAYING

These are just a few professional etiquette tips. You can locate a variety of business etiquette books that will provide you significantly more advice. I recommend checking them out. It could potentially generate new business and/or new donors.

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