Now that you’ve launched your small business, it’s time to get out there and land some new business. First impressions do last, so you’ll want to ensure that you conduct yourself in the most professional way possible. There are many smart, capable people out there in the business world, so the thing that may just set you apart from the rest, is your manners.
Now that you’ve launched your small business, it’s time to get out there and land some new business. First impressions do last, so you’ll want to ensure that you conduct yourself in the most professional way possible. There are many smart, capable people out there in the business world, so the thing that may just set you apart from the rest, is your manners. Social norms tend to change with the times, even with regards to professional behaviour, yet basic etiquette still remains and should never be overlooked. Here are a few basic business etiquette rules you should brush up on before your next meeting with a prospective client.
Arriving on time for meetings and events is a sign of respect, and your colleagues and clients will appreciate this. Making the effort to be punctual can also show your level of commitment, as well as highlight the fact that you really do care. Tardiness can be a sign of blatant disregard for others’ time, so be sure to apologise if you are late and try and let people know when you’re running late.
Shaking someone’s hand when meeting them for the first time (as well as times that follow) is still considered the professional standard in today’s world. A firm handshake accompanied by a smile and eye contact is a polite approach when greeting someone, and shows that you’re both approachable and confident. In certain instances, when the meeting has more of a casual tone than a serious one, you may be able to get away with a simple “hello” or nod of the head, but it’s best to stick to the good old-fashioned handshake most of the time.
NOTE: If you’re conducting business in another country, it’s a good idea to do a little etiquette research beforehand so you can be sure to behave in an acceptable way. For example: In Japan, you may find that you are met with a bow instead of a handshake. Rather wait for them to initiate a handshake, as sometimes they’re avoided. The last thing you want to do is offend people within the first few minutes of meeting them for the first time.
Hone Those Listening Skills
Communication is essentially the lifeblood of a business, and it’s often when communication is lacking that business relationships tend to suffer. Listening to others while they speak is a sign of respect for their opinions and thoughts, so avoid interrupting at all costs as it’s rude. By all means, show your eagerness and share with others what you think, but don’t allow your urges to get your point across override your politeness. Show the same courtesy to others as you would have them show you, and remember that there’s a fine line between being assertive and aggressive.
HELPFUL HINT: When you do share your thoughts, be sure to be aware of how they come across. Choose your words carefully and always remember it’s not so much whatyou say, as how you say it.
Part of making a good first impression is ensuring you look the part. How you dress reflects your level of professionalism so make sure you look presentable. Avoid wearing anything too revealing and give that shirt an iron the night before your meeting. If you want to be perceived as being professional, then dress accordingly. If you’re unsure of the tone of the meeting you’ll be attending, phone or email ahead and enquire as to how you should dress.
Always Be Polite
The golden rule when it comes to business etiquette is undoubtedly “be polite in whatever you do”. From what you say to how you behave, be sure that politeness is always leading the way. Showing you’re courteous will signal to others that you are not only respectable, but also that you’re respectful of others and you’re pleasant to work with. The key to impressing people is by conducting yourself in a well-mannered way, in person as well as over the phone and email.
People can form opinions about you within the first few minutes of meeting you, particularly in the business world, so it’s vital that you make the best possible first impression. It’s not always so easy, but with these basic tips, you’re bound to be ahead of the rest.
Featured image: http://www.careerealism.com