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Times change and etiquette rules may evolve with the times. But many etiquette rules never go out of style.

While dozens more could be added to the list below, here are 7 old fashioned etiquette rules to still use today. You will be perceived as professional, courteous and respectful.

1. Be on time.

It’s never impressive to be late, especially for work. So, show up on time, or better yet, arrive a few minutes early to get your coffee and settle in before your workday starts. Also, it’s good manners to be punctual for an in-person meeting, a Zoom meeting, or a business lunch or project deadline. Punctual. Be on time.

2. Write thank you notes.

Although you may have already expressed verbal thanks, follow up with a handwritten thank you note. Use your best handwriting. Be sure to include a greeting, such as Dear ____ or Hello _____. Send a thank you note for a dinner out, a client referral or for a birthday, wedding or graduation gift. My husband recently hosted a dinner for past presidents of his Rotary Club. What a delight for him several days later to receive a hand-written thank you note from one of the attendees who appreciated his time, effort, and welcome toast.

3. Make eye contact.

During in-person conversations, good eye contact shows you’re listening, helps build rapport, and shows that you value and respect the person with whom you’re talking. On a Zoom call, look at your camera, not the person’s video box, to make good eye contact.

4. Stand for an introduction.

stand for introductionIn business or in social settings, it’s polite to stand when you are introduced to someone. For example, if seated at a chamber lunch, it’s still important to stand if someone stops by to introduce someone to you or even just to greet you. Standing shows respect for the other person and helps you be on the same level for that all-important eye contact.

5. Dress for success.

True, today’s work environment has become more casual. Perhaps fewer people are wearing suits and ties. But putting thought and care into your work wardrobe shows you respect yourself and others. You will look well put together in “business casual” attire, but also know when it’s best to wear the suit and tie or skirt suit. You may also like to read “Workplace Attire: How NOT to dress too casually.”

6. Begin eating after the host does.

Business meals are in full swing again. The one who “invites” is the host and he/she is the first to take a bite. Guests at the table follow the lead of the host. At a dinner party in someone’s home, the same etiquette applies. Unless the host or hostess tells everyone to go ahead and begin, wait to start eating until the host/hostess does.

7. Disagree respectfully.

In work and life, people will always have differences of opinions. The key is to be a good listener, not interrupt, and be able to disagree without losing your temper, shouting, or using foul language. I was stunned to learn that several folks at our recent Homeowners Association meeting got into a shouting match. It’s okay to disagree but remember to convey respect and civility instead of squabbling and name calling.

When you think about it, these 7 old fashioned etiquette rules still apply today. Be known as that person who’s punctual, writes thank-you notes and dresses for success. These decisions and action steps paint you in a positive light personally and as you represent your company or organization.

What other old fashioned etiquette rules are important to still use today? Use the comment section to share your thoughts.

Rachel Wagner is a licensed business etiquette consultant, trainer, and speaker. She is the owner of the Oklahoma-based business etiquette firm Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol. 
Rachel provides onsite and LIVE virtual training on business and dining etiquette topics. She has corporate clients from many industries around the country. As an etiquette expert, she is interviewed and quoted in a variety of local and national media outlets. These include The Washington Post, MONEY, Forbes, and many more. She is also credentialed as a Virtual Event Professional and Zoom Producer.

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