NOTE: This is a book excerpt from A Beginner’s Guide to Business Etiquette: Mastering Good Manners is now Blissfully Simple by Crista Tharp.
Have you ever been told that your body is another version of a business card? It’s true. It is said that it takes less than 30 seconds to make a first impression. Often, this is before you even open your mouth!
Once you do get the chance to speak, will it be professional or will you accidentally offend? Do you introduce yourself with a handshake or not?
While we were always taught “don’t judge a book by its cover,” unfortunately, we all come to instant conclusions about a person the first time we see them. How do we make sure that impression is a good one?
The most important thing about your appearance is that you should look well groomed:
- You should be clean and not ill.
- Your hair should be nicely combed.
- Both hands should be cleaned and well-manicured. Do not chew your fingernails.
- Clothes should be pressed and in good condition.
- Your breath should be fresh.
- Accessories should be minimal and professional.
- Women should refrain from wearing skirts or shorts that are too short and necklines that are too low.
- You should walk tall without slouching; Shoulders back and head held high.
- Sit tall in a chair and do not slump.
- Leave at least a foot, if not a little more between you so you are not invading their personal space.
- Do not chew gum.
Generally, “office” wear is comprised of a suit jacket with matching slacks or skirt for women. The colors chosen tend to be more neutral and solids.
Women’s skirts should be no shorter than just above the knee and can be combined with a dressier blouse. In the past, women would wear hose with closed-toed shoes however, that is starting to be a bit more relaxed.
Men should wear a collared solid button-down shirt paired with a conservative tie.
Accessories are very simple and not be too bold or large. Men are expected to wear belts and ties and often choose to wear suspenders.
Often, you are called to wear a name tag at events in order to promote your company. This name tag should be in good condition, polished if it is gold or silver and placed on your right side high enough to be seen. This makes it easy for someone to see and read it while you are shaking hands.
Business casual still means professional, but it is a little less formal.
Women can wear more casual dresses, suits and skirts that split beneath the knee in addition to more colorful shirts and accessories. Capri pants are also a good option. Strapless/spaghetti strap shirts and dresses are inappropriate, as well as mini-skirts or flip flops.
Men can wear pants such as Dockers and shirts that are short sleeved but still have a collar. Golf shirts and polo shirts are acceptable but are still expected to be tucked in. Cargo pants, sweat pants, or beach shorts are inappropriate.
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This FREE training session is packed with simple, actionable, and crucial up-to-date information on the latest business etiquette trends. Don’t let a simple mistake cost you business or your job!
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Just a snippet of what you will learn includes:
- How to make a great first impression
- The correct way to make an introduction
- Current Electronic Communication etiquette
- How to use your cellphone and tablet without offending anyone
- How to practice proper social Networking Etiquette
- How to follow correct table manners and conduct business over meals
- Plus a Q&A at the end
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