Business Etiquette


In 2016, @ETIQhour will concentrate on the top 15 Business Etiquette Essentials every future leader will want to know. Each fortnight a new Essential has been released: Essential #11: Avoid the “Big Two”

We have blurred many of the personal and professional lines due to the popularity and necessity of Social Networking. I will share some great ways that you can remain Professionally Social.

Social networking while on the job is a fact of life. Employers find this mingling of business and pleasure troublesome for the loss of productivity, negative posts about the company from its employees, and, most dangerously, the posting of confidential company information. For employees, talking about work through a personal social networking account can land them in trouble with their employers. Including coworkers as friends on social networking sites can also expose employees to complications, since personal comments on sites can adversely affect how coworkers perceive an employee as a professional while on the job.

  1. Fill out your online profiles completely with information about you and your business. Use your real name and your own photo. Your cat may be adorable, but unless you are a veterinarian specializing in the care and treatment of felines, don’t get cute.
  2. Create a section on your main profile detailing who you are seeking to befriend and ask that visitors abide by that information. Everyone need not apply.
  3. Offer information of value. Don’t talk just about yourself and your company.
  4. Use a different profile or account for your personal connections. Business and pleasure do not mix in this medium.
  5. Pick a screen name that represents you and your company well. Don’t call yourself ‘SlowLearner1’ unless you want to be known by that name.
  6. Don’t approach strangers and ask them to be friends with you just so you can then try to sell them on your products or services. You will quickly lose credibility and your so-called ‘friends.’
  7. Don’t put anything on the Internet that you don’t want your future boss, current client or potential clients to read.
  8. Sites like LinkedIn allow you to endorse people in areas of business. Don’t endorse someone if you don’t truly know them and their areas of expertise.
  9. Don’t send out requests for birthdays, invitations to play games or other timewasters for those using the site.
  10. Check out the people who want to follow you or be your friend. Your mother was right when she said that people will judge you by the company you keep.
  11. If someone does not want to be your friend, accept their decision gracefully. They have the right to make that choice and you have to accept it.
  12. Never post when you’re overly-tired, jet lagged, intoxicated, angry or upset.
  13. Compose your posts, updates or tweets in a word processing document so you can check grammar and spelling before you send them.

The world of online networking is new to most of us, but there is little difference in connecting with people online and offline. The same basic principles hold true – trust and genuineness remain high on the list.

Now I’ve given you some great guidelines to live by with keeping your professional and personal relationships online in-tact, there’s still the question of avoiding the ‘BIG TWO’ topics that must, and always should remain off the table of discussion.

Politics and Religion.

We live in a world where individuality is encouraged, independent thinking is taught and personal opinion is stimulated. What I’m trying to say is ‘each to their own’. These topics are highly charged minefields for a professional atmosphere. Have whatever conversations you like with your friends and family, but leave these guys at the office door. If someone wants to start a discussion or debate, don’t engage with them. How I deal with this is “I know we will both disagree on ‘xyz’ but I am of the opinion that everyone is able to have their own opinion and I’m perfectly ok with this, I hope you are too!” This has never failed me; I hope it helps you too.