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Definition: Business etiquette is the accepted code of polite behavior or protocol in business. It creates a level playing field where everyone is treated the same, regardless of gender.
Definition: Social Etiquette is the rules of behavior in polite society. It defers to older people and women, treating them with special respect.
Good business etiquette skills put the customer first, hosting and connecting with them and treating clients with extra respect. Customers subconsciously feel this welcoming aura. This creates special customer relationships that are essential for successful businesses.
To customers and clients, it is the employees they deal with, that represent the organization. In the eyes of the customer, the employee is the company.
Team members are the ambassadors for the company. All your points-of-contact, image, brand, social skills, phone manners and business etiquette skills affect the client’s impression of your company.
This may seem like a huge responsibility. What if you make a mistake with your business etiquette skills and cause the end of your company or cause the end of civilization, as we know it. Relax there is a secret to always get it right.
A few years ago, we were hired to give some business dress training to salesmen with an industrial pump company. They wanted some help fine-tuning their work wear so they could quickly move from casual wear to dress for success as the situation called for. But this pump company surprised us.
When we arrived for our first meeting, we were greeted by the receptionist. Good receptionists are vital to organizations and are often referred to as “first impression coordinators”. This receptionist had excellent business etiquette skills, welcoming us with a smile, taking our coats and offering to get us a cup of coffee while we waited.
The receptionist impressed us. But what really impressed us was what happened while we were waiting for her return.
Every member of the organization who came through the foyer, whether they were wearing a three piece suit or a pair of coveralls, smiled and greeted us.
They all welcomed us and asked us if we were being taken care of. Wow, we knew this was a great organization to work for AND do business with. From top to bottom of the organization, they all knew the secret of proper business etiquette.
Everyone was empowered as an ambassador and acted as a host for their company. No matter your industry or position you can and should act as the host for your organization. It gets noticed and sends a powerful welcoming message to customers
This is something that we refer to as the host mentality. And this is the secret that you should adopt if you want your business etiquette skills to be exceptional.
We are Star Trek fans (we’ll argue which series and Captain is the best, later). In Star Trek they have something called “the prime directive”, which is sort of the underlying rule of engagement for the Enterprise crew no matter where they go in space.
The host mentality should be your prime directive. If you want to stand out positively in business, subconsciously assume the role of host.
Act as a gracious host (BONUS TIP – this also works well on dates and in your social interactions). Even in unknown etiquette situations, ask yourself what would a host do in this situation and you’ll never go wrong.
Hosts aim to make other people feel acknowledged, comfortable and welcome in their presence. Take the business etiquette secret to heart.
If you consistently practice the host mentality, you will not only be a great ambassador for your organization. You will stand out in your personal brand no matter where in the universe your career takes you.
Move your team from good… to great