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Business Etiquette Dr. Thomas Clark Xavier University 513.745.2025 Principles underpinning all etiquette: the Golden and Platinum rules Golden: Treat others as you would like to be treated

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Business etiquette l.jpg

Business Etiquette

Dr. Thomas Clark

Xavier University


Principles underpinning all etiquette the golden and platinum rules l.jpg

Principles underpinning all etiquette: the Golden and Platinum rules

  • Golden: Treat others as you would like to be treated

  • Platinum: Treat others as they would like to be treated

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Perception Equals Reality

  • Two Stages:

  • Initial Perception— (Immediate)

  • Sustained Perception— (Over Time)

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Initial and Sustained Perception

Initial PerceptionSustained Perception

Presence Personal Substance

 Appearance & Professionalism

 Manner & Style  Attitude

 Etiquette  Integrity

 Awareness  Civility  Work Ethic & Discipline


 Listening and Interpersonal Skills

 Meeting Skills

 Business Meals

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People begin to evaluate us before any words are ever spoken

Who you are speaks so loudly I do not hear what you say--Emerson

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  • Carriage: exercise

  • Handshaking: exercise

  • Dress: handout

  • Grooming

  • First words: Exercise

  • Listening: Exercise

  • Introduction Style: Exercise

  • Voice: exercise

  • Name Recognition/Recall

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Handshaking exercise

  • Pumper

  • Dead Fish

  • Squeezer

  • Two handed

  • Equal, with direct eye contact

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* Does Dress Impact Decision on Interviewees?

Yes – 93% No – 7%

* Does Dress Impact Promotion Potential?

Yes – 96% No – 4%

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“The way you dress affects the way you are perceived, and the way you are perceived, is the way you are treated.”

- Buck Rodgers

Former VP of Marketing, IBM

Author of The IBM Way

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  • Neatly trimmed hair

  • Light perfume or cologne

  • Clean and trimmed fingernails

  • Limited jewelry

  • Concealed tattoos; no visible body jewelry

  • Polished shoes

  • Stockings without runs

  • Belts on pants; socks that match belt color

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Mental rehearsal

  • Before you enter a situation, visualize what you are going to say and do—and then mentally rehearse how you believe your audience will respond.

  • At the same time, visualize what your audience’s most preferred communicator would be saying and doing

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Make your first words count

  • Ask yourself, “What would the other person like to hear me say first?”

  • This will allow you to say something that will show you see things from the other person’s point of view.

  • Exercise: compliment someone at the table about something you know to be important to them.

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Interaction: Listening skills

  • How do you know someone is listening to you?

  • How do you feel when you know someone is listening to you?

  • How do you describe a person who is listening to you?

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Interaction: Listening skills

  • How do you know someone is ignoring you?

  • How does it make you feel when you are ignored?

  • How do you describe a person who has ignored you?

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Interactive moment

  • Why should you plan your non-verbal communication as carefully as your verbal behavior before you take part in a job interview?

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Planning a message

  • Purpose: What do I want to happen as a result of this message? When do I need a response?

  • Strategic alignment: How does my memo contribute both to reader and company goals? How will readers react?

  • Execution: Is this a good time to send this message? How can I finish it on time? How should I transmit this message?

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Outlining your message

  • Open with your purpose: Clear subject line. Opening paragraph that answers the What, Why, and When questions.

  • Order your arguments: Lead from strength; chronology; umbrella point.

  • List action steps: Who does What When

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Write an effective opening

  • Write precise subject lines

  • Write first sentences that tell readers how you want them to react to the rest of the message

  • Define the “why(s)” of your message

  • Be sure your opening meets the “so what” test

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Order your arguments

  • Lead from strength in action memos

  • Order by chronology in explanatory memos

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Headings: table of contents of memo; macro-organizers

Lists: improves comprehension and retention; micro-organizers

Boldface, underlining, and italics: help readers scan information- more easily

Indenting: reveal hierarchies of thought

White space: improved curb appeal of memo


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Overall appearance


Type Size




Overall length

Short paragraphs

Short sentences

Short words

Make documents inviting to read

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Write the first draft

Opening paragraphs

Background paragraph

Scannable body paragraphs

  • write in what/why/data (or significance)

    Issues/further discussion

    Follow-up paragraphs

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Introducing yourself

  • Hi, I’m Fred Jones (vs. Mr., Ms., or Dr.)

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Introducing yourself to a secretary

  • Hello. My name is Libby Smith. I am here for a 1 o’clock appointment with Mr. Jones.

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  • Mention authority figures first and introduce others to them.

  • Introduce a younger person to an older person.

  • Always stand up.

  • Always shake hands.

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Introduce lower ranking person to higher ranking person. Include useful information

  • Father Graham, may I introduce Libby Smith, our new assistant director of diversity. She recently earned her MA in Human Resources at Indiana University.

  • Father Graham has served as President of Xavier University for the past 6 years. Recently, US News & World Report ranked Xavier as the 2nd best comprehensive university in the Midwest.

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Interactive moment

In groups of 3-4, introduce each members of the group to one another.

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Remembering names

  • Get business cards from everyone you meet and makes notes on it about when you met, what you had in common, and details about the person, including names of children.

  • Prefer the formal to the informal, especially with older and higher ranking people

  • Avoid saying, “I’m sorry, I have forgotten your name” Instead, say “Help me out, your name was on the tip of my tongue and I must be having a senior moment.

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Speak with authority

Even when asking questions, have your voice end on with a downward inflection.

Say “What time is the meeting?” once with voice raising at the end and one with voice ending with a downward inflection.

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Write with authoritatively and positively and concisely, pp. 4-1 ff in workbook

Authoritative language

Positive language

Concise language

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Business Communication

  • Telephone calls

  • Notes of Appreciation

  • Phone Calls and Voice Mail

  • Beepers, Cellular Phones, and Portables

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Telephone Etiquette

  • Identify yourself and your company.

  • Ask the person if he or she has time to talk.

  • Make calls during normal business hours.

  • Return calls the same day.

  • Never put someone on hold without asking permission.

  • Don’t do other work while on the phone

  • Be courteous of others when screening calls.

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General Do’s and Don’ts

  • Outline points you want to make prior to placing a call.

  • If your party is not there, leave a brief message and request a telephone appointment.

  • If your party answers, identify yourself, stick to your outline and thank the person at the end of the call.

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Conference calls

  • Prepare

  • Be respectful

  • Be inclusive

  • Keep moving

  • Get commitments

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Voice Mail

  • Identify yourself and your return number immediately.

  • Be brief and to the point. What you want, why it is of mutual interest, details, next steps. Leave return number again.

  • Record your own concise outgoing message. Make sure you sound upbeat and optimistic

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Your voice-mail recording

  • Start with an upbeat greeting

  • Indicate how the caller can get a response

  • Close on a positive note (Make it a great day!)

  • Do not have

    • a cute message

    • background music

    • a long introductory comment before the beep

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What are the differences in impressions you make when you use each of the following media:

  • voice mail message

  • e-mail message

  • business letter

  • telephone call

    • impact of

      • normal call

      • speaking from or to a speaker phone

      • call waiting interruptions

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Beepers, Cellular Phones,and Portables

Limit the use. Put on vibrate or silent.

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Notes of Appreciation

  • Thank You

  • Letter of Commendation

  • Memos of Recognition

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Ice breakers

  • When visiting an office, pay attention to how the office is decorated. Look for clues that will allow you to compliment the other person on something non-controversial

  • Avoid politics, religion, how much you earn, or negative communication such as comments about a company or people

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Interactive moment

In small groups, identify something in your office décor that perceptive visitors could identify that would allow them to compliment you or start a conversation about a topic that stirs feelings of pride within you.

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Meeting Etiquette

  • Before the meeting

  • Starting the meeting

  • After the meeting

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Etiquette at Business Meetings: Before the Meeting

  • Arrive early to make sure meeting room is set up correctly. Put agendas in place. Provide for drinks and a light snack.

  • Stand near the door to thank each person who arrives. Ask what issues are of particular interest to them.

  • Introduce new members to existing members

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Etiquette at Business Meetings: Starting the Meeting

  • Ask new members of group to introduce themselves. Ask historical members to give their names and positions.

  • Preview the agenda and set a time limit for each item, including time at the end of the meeting to come back to issues.

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Etiquette at Business Meetings: During the Meeting

Ask non-contributing members if they’d like to add their perspectives.

Note: Interestingly, research shows talkative members welcome the comments of others—and shy members value inclusion in the conversation.

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Etiquette at Business Meetings: Ending the Meeting

  • Summarize agreed upon actions, responsibilities and timing, later written as minutes and distributed to relevant parties.

  • Thank group and guests for their time and contributions.

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Social Events

  • Business Meals

  • Rules for the Host

  • Rules for the Guest

  • Ordering

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Business Meals

  • Breakfast Meetings: often best time to meet with busy executives

  • Luncheon Meals: iced tea and simple food

  • After-Work Cocktail: one only to stay in command in the meeting and on the road.

  • Business Dinners

  • B=Bread D=Drink

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Rules for the Host

  • Don’t impose invitations.

  • Request responses as soon as possible.

  • Invite others for business reasons.

  • Select an appropriate setting.

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Rules for the Host

  • Arrive early to greet guests.

  • Give credit card to server in advance. Ask that 18% be added for a tip. Be sure server gives you signature form to sign promptly and discretely at end of meal.

  • If price is a factor, indicate courses & meals you recommend that meet your guidelines.

  • Apologize to guests if the food or service is below your expectations.

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Rules for the Guest

  • Respond promptly to the invitation and give reasons for a negative response.

  • Know where the event will take place and know what rules apply there. Arrive 2-3 minutes late, no later.

  • Follow the host in deciding what to order. Be aware of what you order says about you to others.

  • Thank the host. Say positive things about host that he or she want to hear said and cannot say about him or herself.

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  • Avoid awkward foods.

  • Do not order alcohol if . . .

    • it is against company policy.

    • you will be driving after the meal.

    • you don’t want to drink alcohol.

    • it will be your second drink.

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Dining Etiquette

  • Leave some food on each plate

  • Split bills evenly if bill is divided

  • Do not take a doggy bag

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Table Manners

Only begin eating after your host or guest is seated and begins eating.

Bring food up to your mouth (soup spoon)

Observe pace of eating of others and conform to their pace

Cut one piece of food and eat it rather than cutting up meat all at once

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Table Manners

  • Lay napkin across lap; do not use as a bib

  • Select silverware from the outside in

  • When finished, put silverware in 10 o’clock position

  • Do not dunk food

  • Keep mouth closed when chewing

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Sustained perception

  • All Four Elements are Important

    • Attitude

    • Integrity & Trust: Always Doing the Right Thing

    • Civility

    • Self Discipline

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Be positive about yourself, your work, your boss, peers, coworkers, customers, suppliers, and company

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“Winning is not a some time thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time.

Winning is a habit. Unfortunately, so is losing.”

  • -Vince Lombardi

  • Former Head Coach

  • Green Bay Packers

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- Telling the truth

- Doing what you say you will do, reliability

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  • Making priorities and organizing time in terms of those priorities.

  • Putting the important ahead of the easy.

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Understanding Office Protocol

Treat Others the Way You Want to be Treated

  • Extending Greetings

  • Nurturing Your Colleagues

  • Overcoming Gossip

  • Handling Rivals

  • Accepting Criticism Graciously

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This is taking forever

Why can’t you

I hate it when

Here’s the best way to do it.


How can we get this approved (finished) quickly?

What if you

Would it be better if

Here’s my suggestion.


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  • I know you want what is fair for both of us.

  • I am sure you will do your best to help me out.

  • I am counting on you.

  • I enjoy working for you because you respond so effectively to your department’s needs.

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Take responsibility by




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Why doesn’t this company value me?

Why can I never understand exactly how I am supposed to do my job?

When am I going to get the training I need?

Why does my staff show so little enthusiasm?


How can I learn what management values? How can I show my value?

How can I find out how to do this job so that I am confident I am doing it right?

What ‘s the best way to approach my manager to discuss this issue?

How can I let my manager know what kind of additional training I need?

How can I develop the skills I need on my own?

How can I get my staff to tell me about how they feel about their work? How can I motivate them more effectively?

Be Pro-Active

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Reframe Questions Proactively

1Why are things changing so fast?

2Why don’t we ever change around here?

3When is this supplier going to call?

4Why is that customer always so discourteous?

5Why are our services so undervalued?

6Why do I do more work than any other

member of my group?

7Why is one of my co-workers so lazy?

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Reframe questions proactively

8Why is my supervisor so critical of my work?

9Why isn’t my staff following my directions?

10 Why do I have to always do what my boss wants?

11 Why can’t I follow my own work priorities?

12 Why do I get sick so often?

13 When will I get some relief from this stress?

14 Why is it so hard to make friends here?

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I did not do the study because I’ve been busy.

You are so selfish you never see how much you demand.

The tests are not done yet! What do you people do all day?

Don’t you ever pay attention? This document is full of mistakes.

That’s won’t work

I am planning to complete the study by Friday.

I know you are busy. When can we schedule 30 minutes to discuss the possibility of hiring a part time assistant?

I realize these tests require careful planning and execution. How soon can you finish?

This memo is headed to the Director. Please make the changes I identified and proofread the report carefully. Thanks. I appreciate your help.

Let me share my perspective on this issue.


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