Business Etiquette: Earn Straight A’s

Career New Professionals


Think about how you want to be perceived. Everything you wear says something. Depending on the situation, what you wear and how you look will vary. Consider the following:

  • Dress appropriately for every occasion. You wouldn’t wear shorts to a formal dinner as you wouldn’t wear a suit to the company beach party.
  • Daily grooming habits and clothing maintenance.
  • Appropriate clothing choices for business and business casual. Please, leave the clubbing clothes at home :)
  • Proper fit and tailoring.
  • Hairstyle and maintenance.
  • Accessory choices. Women, you can do without the scarf and big jewelry. Men, keep it simple, a watch and one ring is simple…not 2 earrings, gold chain and brass knuckles as a ring.


Action is a behavior. It is important to display the proper behavior at the appropriate time or risk the chance of being labeled. Consider the following:

  • Body language. If you stand with your arms crossed, do you think you’re happy or open for discussion?? Probably not.
  • Posture. Being slouched over or leaning far back on your seat shows you are disinterested.
  • Facial expressions. Be aware of the things you may do when you hear things you don’t like (i.e. rolling your eyes, biting down on your teeth, etc.).
  • Approachability. Be sure to come off like you are open to any and all feedback. There is nothing worse than having to go up to someone and 2 seconds into the conversation they turn your back to you.
  • Nervous Gestures. Watch the flicking of the pen and the tapping of the feet. It can be very distracting.
  • Smiling. A smile gets you a long way. Smile when you walk into the class, office or home and it sets a better atmosphere anywhere you go.
  • Social Behavior. This is what I meant by managing perceptions. Always be aware that there is someone watching you. You might be at a bar or club with people from class or the office, but there is a level of professionalism that you shouldn’t cross. If you want to party, go out with your friends. Having the CEO watch a 20+ new professional get wasted does not leave a great impression.
  • Accountability and follow up. There is nothing people like more than having someone do what they say they are going to do. I like the 1 minute manager philosophy. 1 min. goals, 1 min. praise, and 1 min. reprimands.




Attitude is everything in business. If you are a student or a new professional, the faster you learn this, the faster you will succeed. If you can manage the 6 characteristics below, you will be a successful business professional!

  • Self-esteem and self confidence.
  • Motivation and passion.
  • Enthusiasm.
  • Willingness to change.
  • Ability to lead and influence.
  • Working effectively with a team.



  1. In the Business arena: a) Only men should stand for handshaking and all introductions. b) Only women should stand for handshaking and all introductions. c) It is not necessary for men or women to stand for handshaking or introductions. d) Both men and women should stand for handshaking and introductions.
  2. To show confidence and authority during a handshake, use: a) The bone crusher. b) The limp fish. c) The glove. d) The fingertip holder. e) The web to web.
  3. For easy reading, one’s name badge should be worn: a) On the left shoulder. b) On the right shoulder. c) In the center. d) Around the neck.
  4. A woman’s handbag, if it’s small, can be placed on: a) A desk. b) Boardroom table. c) Restaurant table. d) All of the above. e) None of the above.

I will post the answers on the comments section once a few people have a crack at it. You would be surprised at how many people don’t know how to give a proper handshake!

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