I think it’s safe to say that everyone is familiar with the rules of social etiquette:
- Always say please and thank you.
- Make eye contact with those you are speaking with.
- Shake hands when you meet someone.
- Call if you will be late.
- Make introductions.
- Don’t talk with your mouth full.
- Place your napkin on your lap when dining.
But why is it that social etiquette escapes some people as it relates to their business lives? Shouldn’t we give the same courtesy to everyone, regardless if it’s a social or business situation?
At a recent networking meeting I was talking with a colleague about how his business was going and he surprised me with his response. He told me that just the other day he spent most of his time travelling from appointment to appointment only to find that three of them were unable to (or didn’t want to) meet with him. Now, all three appointments had been set with his customer relations department, so the potential client had already agreed to this meeting in the first place. This is a perfect example of a major lapse in business etiquette.
Giving people proper notice if there is a need to cancel is polite. It tells others that you value their time. Sometimes the need to cancel at the last minute is unavoidable and people understand. There are also times when we agree to a meeting only to find ourselves later regretting that decision. Maybe we thought there was money in the budget or we didn’t realize the issue had been resolved internally when the appointment was set. In either case, a simple phone call or email to the person you are scheduled to meet with is ideal. An honest approach to business works best in the long run as it builds your credibility with those you encounter on a daily basis.
Wouldn’t you rather work with someone who is a straight talker as opposed to someone who strings you along, never intending to do business with you? How much do you value your time and those of others?
Keep it personal.
Sr. Marketing Director