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Etiquette skills are timeless, whether in business or social settings. No doubt you’ve heard these three words refresh, re-set and renew multiple times since the New Year began.

So, let me share some ways you can apply those 3 words to your social and business etiquette skills.

Why? Because a little self-assessment is always a good idea to make sure we’re making a great impression. These timeless etiquette skills will help you feel confident and present your best self in both social and business settings.

For social events or when out and about

  • Say “excuse me please” if leaving the table briefly or you happen to walk in front of someone.
  • RSVP promptly to an invitation for a dinner party or celebration.
    • Take a small hostess gift to the party hosts.
    • Introduce yourself to others and how you know the host/hostess.
    • Learn about others by asking open-ended questions.
    • When ready to leave, find the hosts and express your thanks.
    • Send a handwritten thank you note the next day.
  • At the table, especially in restaurants, it’s polite for men and boys to remove their hats.
  • Refrain from having mobile phone conversations in public, especially in restaurants, the restroom stall, the check-out line, or at nail and hair salons.

In business settings

  • Be sure to give a firm, 2-pump handshake when you meet and when you depart.
  • It’s courteous to answer those emails and respond to phone messages within 24 hours or less.
  • At a business meal, follow the lead of the designated host. Put the napkin in your lap after the host does.timeless etiquette skills handshaking
  • Allow the host to indicate where you are to sit at the table. Don’t begin eating or take a sip of wine until the host does.
  • Encourage good office etiquette by keeping coworker conversations at a low volume to not distract others trying to get their work done.
  • When you represent your company at a networking event or business reception
    • Don’t make a beeline to the food and beverage area first.
    • Greet those you know and introduce yourself to several new people.
    • Exchange business cards after your conversation with a new person, not at the beginning.
    • Hold hors d’oeuvres or a drink in your left hand so the right hand is always free for a handshake.
    • Keep your phone tucked away and be fully present with those you’re speaking to.
    • Don’t monopolize someone. Know how to graciously exit a conversation to mingle with others.

In both social and business interactions:

  • Say “you’re welcome” when someone thanks you instead of “no problem” or “yep.”

If you haven’t taken time for a little self-assessment of your social and business etiquette skills recently, it’s never too late to refresh, re-set and renew  those skills. Making needed minor adjustments helps you to present your best self at all times.

For additional information, you may like to read “Conference Room Business Lunch Tips” or “9 Networking Tips for Anyone Including Introverts.”

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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