Business etiquette isn’t just about knowing which fork to use at the dinner table. It’s simply about good behavior in social settings. Here are 10 good examples of business etiquette that can help you act appropriately to move your career forward.

  • Introduce yourself with your full name. Don’t be offended if someone doesn’t remember you. Just graciously provide your name again. 
  • Don’t eat at your desk. Be conscious of what you’re eating in the break room, too. Pungent leftovers, such as fish or spicy dishes, can be distracting. 
  • Don’t fidget in meetings. Find a comfortable position when sitting. Don’t cross and uncross your legs, as it shows impatience, even if you don’t mean it that way. 
  • Knock before entering an office, even if the door is open. 
  • Keep your personal items off the table during meetings. Keep your attention on the speaker. 
  • Limit the number of questions you have in meetings. Don’t be the person who keeps a meeting going with specific questions that could be addressed in an email or personal meeting. 
  • Know who pays for a business meeting. If you invited, you are the host. You pay the bill. If you’re colleagues getting coffee, decide it’s Dutch treat before you go. If you’re mentoring someone, it’s likely that you make more money than your mentee. Even if you’re invited, picking up the tab is a nice thing to do. 
  • Use the reply-all judiciously. Don’t hit reply all unless you really do need to clarify something to everyone. Double-check your email before sending, to make sure that you really are sending it to the person who needs it. 
  • Remove people from the memo chain when possible. 
  • Limit apologies and thanks. Being overly grateful in a professional situation can make you seem insecure. Being appreciative is always warranted, but find a good balance. Don’t always say you’re sorry, either. Use apologies when justified, but otherwise, just say, I’ll remember that.  

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