In the 1920’s, it was common to stand up as a courtesy when a woman entered a conference room, but business etiquette has entered a whole new era where social pleasantries aren’t based on gender, age, or race anymore. Yay progress!

As technology becomes more accessible, business begins to permeate the world stage. It’s our duty to be respectful of generational, cultural, and hierarchical differences as industries become more globalized. According to Stanford Research, 85% of our career success isn’t attributed to technical skills, it’s social ability that makes you or breaks you.

The Small Business Development Center Network (SBDC) located in Downtown, San Antonio offers workshops on business, career, and skill-builders for professional development. I was lucky to tune in to the great insights Crystal Darby, the Senior Business Advisor, had to offer at Business Etiquette 101.

   “You treat people not just the way you want to be treated, but the way they want to be treated as well”, said Crystal Darby.

The Four Pillars of Business Etiquette

Business etiquette includes many social rules and regulations. There are best practices for anything from handing a business card to formal introductions, but the biggest takeaways are the four pillars of business etiquette; If you have character, respect, honor, and integrity, you can’t go wrong. Regardless of whether or not you’re familiar with socially accepted behaviors, your authenticity, and mental and moral qualities are acknowledged across diverse people and situations.

Top 5 Business Etiquette Goodies:

For those looking for more concrete tips and quips, here are some great nuggets for everyday situations:

  • Introductions: Always introduce the most notable person first. If you forget someone’s name you can pass on the introductions by saying, “Why don’t you say hello to each other?”
  • Occasions: At an event with food, wait until everyone is served and don’t begin eating until the senior at the table starts.
  • Meetings: Have an agenda at all times, and if you lead, make sure to provide agendas for everyone.
  • Pleasantries: Each generation is unique. Baby-Boomers, Gen X-ers, and Millennials communicate and prefer to work and learn differently. Baby-boomers are not about multi-tasking, so tuck your phone away and maintain your focus. All electronics off the table!
  • Interactions: Active-listening goes a long way.  As a rule of thumb, always be in the moment and pay attention to the other person in the conversation. If you allow an interruption like a phone call or must exit the conversation abruptly, keep in mind you are signaling to the other person that they are not important.

Whether you’re networking with a valuable partner or running a monthly meeting, proper business etiquette demonstrates you are up-to-date with social expectations and care about building meaningful relationships. Remember folks, stay classy!

By: Genesis Moreno