The Career Connection: The Lost Art of Business Etiquette

By Josephine Nicholas ~

In these unprecedented economic times and rapidly expanding global economy, executives on all levels need to distinguish themselves from the competition.  Gone are the days of common courtesy in a business forum, and ushered in are the days of an in your face type of carelessness about behavior, style, and interaction.

The courtesy and class that used to be prevalent has dwindled; it is true – business etiquette is a lost art and not much can make up for a lack of tact, professionalism, and consideration. Balance needs to be implemented in a business world that is so caught up in itself.

Networking isn’t about the food, how many cards you pass out, or even how many people you meet. It’s about you going up to the woman in the corner who is standing like the wallflower at prom, and introducing her to the right people in the room.  Conducting a seminar on a social media dressed as if you didn’t care about your appearance and telling obnoxious jokes isn’t going to gain you new friends in the ‘cool circle’ – conducting that seminar looking like you respect yourself and your audience, nailing the subject matter on the head, and paying close attention to the questions from the audience; these are the things that earn you a seat at the table. According to research, 85 percent of your job success is connected to your people skills.

Engaging in the conversation, focusing on the other person, not interrupting and thinking before you speak are the proper elements involved in a professional business conversation. Proper training on how to best conduct yourself in business settings can increase your bottom line and position in the market. Implement the following four things and watch business associates, clients, and others flock to you like bees to honey:

  • Make an Entrance and Work the Room

“Who are the ones in a room we are most drawn to speak with? Qualities others want to be around are humility, confidence and authority; be that person during this holiday season,” says Josephine. “When you make your entrance, it is best to find and go directly to the host and thank them for hosting. Make eye contact, and smile, as you walk through the room, so you do not look lost; and, remember, starting with gratitude is always effective.”

  • Introduce Yourself and Others with Ease

“Doing a little research prior to any event you attend is a great way to make sure you are well-informed on the crowd. This knowledge equips you with the ability to introduce yourself to the right people in the room with ease, and have a little something about them to discuss. Everyone likes to talk about their latest accomplishment, award, or effort,” says Josephine. “Never fail to introduce one person who may need an introduction to another in the room – even if this introduction provides zero value to you. You will then be known as the classy person who is looking out for others, making them feel at ease.”

  • Implement Effective Meal Tactics and Improve Your Mingling Proficiency

“One of the largest holiday faux paux we see is to have both your hands full when at a party – make sure you always have one hand free to give a proper greeting,” says Josephine.  “Additionally, brief yourself on current events and make sure you are skilled with small talk. Be an interesting person to speak with and others – especially your host – will be grateful. Small talk breaks the ice, establishing an immediate connection that you can’t otherwise gain.”

  • Effective Business Meal Tactics

“Have you ever faced confusion over which piece of silverware to use during different parts of the meal?  Make sure you learn the best way to dine with style and grace so that others walk away feeling as if they were dining with royalty,” says Josephine. “Another hint: always place your napkin on your lap, folded in the middle, with the open side facing the table. Wipe your mouth with the inside of that napkin, not the outside – which only creates a messy napkin. Follow your host with regard to the speed of eating and completing the meal.”

Always keep in mind that when you have proper etiquette and protocol intelligence – the ability to think, learn, and apply etiquette and protocol skills, especially when this ability is highly developed – you will make a better impression, feel better about yourself, and close more deals.

About the Author

Josephine Nicholas is a professional speaker, writer, and entrepreneur.  Her work ranges from business etiquette to inspiration and motivation.  Josephine runs her own PR Agency, Insert Catchy Headlines, and specializes in obtaining local and national media exposure for her clients.  From 2005-2011, she was the Executive Vice President and Press Liaison for CMPS Institute, the first and most prestigious mortgage planning certification program in the industry. Josephine skillfully brings her practical life experiences from her world travels into her class rooms.  Her contagious laughter, dynamic personality and energetic presentation style make for an interactive, relevant, and enjoyable experience. You can contact Josephine at about speaking at an event or writing an article about the topics in this article, and many more.

Photo credit: Ambro


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