Business is all about people, and social customs and practices are probably as important as other factors in making business successful. But such etiquette is rarely talked in any formal sense, most businessmen rely both on instinct and picking things up along the way. Here are a few areas where the right approach can make a difference.
• Greetings – You only get a short time to make a good impression, so taking care of appearance, a friendly genuine greeting and handshake, proper eye contact and deference will go a long way.
• Small Talk – This can often be difficult especially with a stranger, take time to find common ground and show interest in them. Proper preparation always helps.
• Punctuality – Everybody is always busy with too much to do and too little time to do it, but punctuality is crucial. If one has to be late, always let them know. Equally, don’t arrive so early as to potentially cause a problem.
• Entertaining – Breakfast, lunch or dinner can be a good way to get to know somebody better in a more relaxed setting, but always ensure you pay your way and never ever get drunk.
• Devices – This is a modern problem, phones, tablets and so forth have impaired everyday servility by deflecting our attention from our companion. They should be turned off, put away or at the very least muted.
• Simple Thanks – Expressing your appreciation is actually a great art, which can involve effort. Keeping it simple and genuine is the key.
Of course, you can’t learn old fashioned charm, but you can learn good manners, and perhaps the open secret is the old adage, “treat people with respect and do to others as you would be done by”.
27 January 2017