7 rules of savoir vivre in business
Business savoir-vivre is not only about our behaviour, but also about our appearance. It is how we present ourselves even before we speak. Learn the 7 rules that will open the way to a promotion, a better job or more effective professional relationships.
- Always be punctual
Being late is nothing more than a sign of disrespect to the person you have an appointment with. You should leave a little earlier than usual to avoid traffic jams or sudden car breakdowns. However, if, despite these precautions, your arrival is delayed, always let the person you are meeting know. And always do it by phone, never by text message.
- Follow the dress code
The way you dress says a lot about you, but it also affects the image of your company or the company you work for. Remember that you can only make a good impression once, and your dress code conveys respect for the person you are meeting. For men, a good choice would be a shirt with a collar (never short sleeves!), a blazer and smart trousers, or for a more casual version, dark jeans, and leather shoes. For women, a subdued top or shirt is ideal (remember that underwear absolutely must not be visible under your clothes!), a pencil skirt or suit trousers, and low-heeled shoes. If you are bringing a handbag, make sure it does not have the distinctive designer logo on it.
- Communicate… with your body too!
Our body language says a lot about our emotions and intentions towards the other person. It is worth learning to read it properly, because words are… not really everything. And so:
- a fluctuating tone of voice and eye contact are signs of interest in what the other person is talking about;;
- crossed legs or arms folded are a sign of discomfort (as are raised eyebrows), sometimes of defiance and little openness towards the other person;
- a shaky, twitching leg is a sign of uncertainty;
- an expansive posture expresses the leadership skills of the interlocutor;
- looking too long in one’s eyes may be a sign of deception.
- Learn to converse
Stay calm, don’t interrupt, keep it short and to the point, and always think before you speak. When talking on the phone, pay attention to your tone of voice – the person on the other end of the phone cannot see you, so they may misjudge you by your tone of voice. Always introduce yourself when you answer the phone, especially when you answer a business call, and it is good manners to include the name of the company you work for and your job title.
- Remember to mute your phone
Make sure you always give the maximum of your time and attention to a person you are having a meeting with. Mute your phone and don’t glance at it nervously every minute! If you are waiting for a really urgent contact, then warn the other person before the meeting.
At the office, put your phone on vibrate mode or set a classic, not too loud ringtone.
- Leave private matters outside the office door
If you want to appear professional, leave private matters outside the office door. People who don’t share private information are seen as conscientious, responsible and trustworthy. Restraint in your dealings with colleagues will get you promoted much faster, and you will be the one your boss assigns to confidential and important projects.
- Respect the hierarchy
Remember that business savoir-vivre recognises neither age nor gender. The one in the lower rank bows first, but the hand is extended first by the one who is higher in the hierarchy. However, in a meeting with a client, it is the client who becomes your “boss” and should be the first to shake hands. In situations where peers meet, the woman shakes hands with the man and the older person with the younger one.