Top 7 Ways To Succeed With Business Etiquette
By Lydia Ramsey
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In the business world today, there is little difference between goods and services from one company to another. What truly sets you and your business apart from the competition is your relationships and your people skills. The best way to improve your people skills is to learn and use the rules of business etiquette. Business etiquette isn't meant to be stuffy or formal. It's really about being kind, considerate and respectful. Learn the top seven ways to success with business etiquette and you will see the results in your bottom line and your enhanced client relationships.
- Make an investment in your professional future by selecting a good business wardrobe. For those who think it's not what you wear but who you are that creates success, give that some more thought. Personal appearance is just as important as business skills, education and experience. First impressions are primarily based on appearance so your business attire is critical when it comes to building relationships.
- Every day is made up of a series of meetings and greetings. Whether you are making the initial contact with a client, colleague or vendor or having a follow up contact, you want to impress at every level. Remember to stand up, smile, make eye contact, shake hands and introduce yourself immediately. Focus on the names of people that you meet, and don't use first names until given permission.
- Today's business environment is becoming increasingly more global. Business clients and colleagues who are visiting this country should be treated with sensitivity and with an awareness of their unique culture. Before you meet with your international visitor, do your homework and become familiar with their customs and traditions. There is no one set of rules that applies to all international visitors so your research will need to be done for each international visitor you host.
- If you want to be successful, grow your business and develop good client relationships, find out how your clients want to communicate. Just because you think that e-mail is the most efficient tool doesn't mean that your clients or prospects like to sit in front of a computer all day. Some may prefer to use the phone so that they can discuss issues and gauge reactions. Others may be more comfortable meeting with you in person. Respecting your client's communication preferences is not just a courtesy, it's good business.
- Pay attention to how you communicate over the telephone. Very often the telephone is the first and only contact that you have with customers. Make it the best experience you can by smiling when you answer the phone (even if the last person you talked to was rude), answer on the first ring or certainly no later than the third ring. Ask permission and wait to hear the answer before you put someone on hold. You will win customers and influence clients every time you use good phone skills.
- When something goes wrong at work and a colleague, customer or manager chews you out, keep your cool. Even when you didn't cause the problem you can use these four steps to help diffuse the situation: apologize even if you are not at fault, sympathize with the person who is upset, offer to help in any way you can even if you didnít cause the problem and take action to deliver on any assistance that you agreed to give.
- Conducting business over meals is a ritual that has existed for centuries. To make dining profitable and pleasant know your duties as the host. Plan ahead at least a week before issuing the invitation, select a restaurant you know and where the atmosphere is conducive to business discussions. Confirm your plans the day before your meeting, arrive early and give your credit card to the maitre dí to avoid any awkwardness when the bill arrives. Take charge of the seating and by all means, limit the amount of alcohol you drink.
® 2008, Lydia Ramsey. All rights reserved. Reprints welcomed so long as article and by-line are kept intact and all links made live.
Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate trainer and author. Learn from Lydia by using her four LIVE business etiquette broadcasts on DVD or by reading the latest edition of her widely-acclaimed book, Manners That Sell. You can purchase these invaluable business etiquette resources at: [http://www.mannersthatsell.com/tms/index.html]
Article Submitted On: February 29, 2008