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In a conversation recently with a high-level professional, he said he often scribbles notes on the back of someone’s business card to remember something they talked about. He asked if this was okay. My response: It’s not ideal. It’s like putting graffiti on someone’s card. A best practice is to wait until the person has left the room before jotting notes on the card for follow up. Although this business etiquette error may not ruin a promising deal, it doesn’t give the best impression. Poor business etiquette reveals a lot about you as a person and reflects on your company, as well. Here are four key areas of business etiquette errors to do a bit of self-assessment to avoid errors that can be costly.

Business cards: Wait until the end of the conversation with a new person to offer your card. When you accept the other person’s card, look at it a moment or two before putting it away rather than immediately stuffing it in your coat pocket.

This shows respect for the person and their position.

Handshake: In business, men and women give each other the same type of handshake. Make sure it’s firm, but not bone crushing, and involves the entire hand connecting web to web with the other person’s. A weak handshake or finger-gripper reflects poorly on you, while a strong one—two pumps are best—shows you have confidence. Read more: How to Give a Great Handshake in Business and Handshakes to Avoid

In addition, look at the person while shaking, focusing on the eyes and brow area. Looking any lower on the face is not perceived positively.

Business meals: Avoid embarrassing errors by learning good dining etiquette skills. If you’re the host, arrive early and tell the maître d’ you want the check. Know your “host” responsibilities; you are the first to place the napkin in your lap, give menu suggestions to help your guest feel comfortable in the price range to select, and allow your guest to order first. Always ask how their meal is after they’ve taken a few bites. If not done to their liking, discreetly summon the server to have it corrected.

Networking: At business social functions, don’t just hang out at the bar or buffet table. Mix and mingle—by introducing yourself to two to three new people or prospects. Approach a group of 2-3 people, smile, extend your hand to the closest person to you, introduce yourself and ask, “May I join you?” Read more: How to Introduce Yourself to Others at a Business Social or Networking Event

After making small talk, thank each person around you. Now is your chance to move on to the next group, but what smooths this break? Offering your business card, which puts us back to the beginning of this article. And, give a great parting handshake. You may enjoy reading: How to Make Small Talk: 5 Tips

Business etiquette is really about avoiding costly errors and making other people feel comfortable. It can set you apart from the competition.

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Rachel Wagner is a licensed etiquette expert and sought-after industry leader, speaker and owner of Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol, a company specializing in professional business etiquette training. She would love to hear your comments below. You may also contact her for additional information at www.EtiquetteTrainer.com or email Rachel@EtiquetteTrainer.com.