Latest "Business Etiquette" Posts

What’s Your Name?

December 4, 2017

rememberThere’s something uniquely miserable about forgetting someone’s name. Not only can it make you appear thoughtless or inconsiderate, but it can make the mystery person feel small. And this faux pas can be disastrous when you’re trying to make business connections.

You’re more likely to encounter this delicate situation during the busy holiday season. But don’t panic! A few simple strategies can help you save face.

 Don’t try to guess. The only thing worse than blanking on a name is using the incorrect name. If you’re not certain, keep your mouth closed! Better not to refer to Janet as Eva.

Follow the clues. See if you can extract information with a few carefully worded questions. For example: “When did we last see each other?” or “It’s so good to see you! How long has it been?” Hopefully, you’ll gather enough nuggets of information to trigger a memory and recall a name.

 Ask for help. If you’re in a group setting — at a networking event, for example — discreetly ask a friend or colleague for the person’s name. If you don’t have the opportunity for a private moment, ask the mystery person to introduce himself to your friend: “Please say hello to my colleague Celeste!”

Play the introduction game. At the first opportunity you get, ask the mystery person to introduce herself to someone else you know: “Have you met Jason?” That gives you the opportunity to be courteous while also prompting the mystery person to divulge the information you need.

Fess up. If all else fails, be honest. It’s best to keep it simple by saying, “I’m so sorry. I remember meeting you but I just can’t seem to recall your name. Could you please remind me?” It’s not ideal, but it’s a better option than flailing — or, worse — using the wrong name.

How do you cover your tracks when you can’t remember a name? Or, even better, what do you do to remember names? Tell me in the comments.



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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette, Communication, Etiquette Tips, Everyday Etiquette and tagged , ,

The Business Lunch Demystified

June 10, 2017


Lunchtime is a great opportunity to be productive and network. Here is a healthy serving of guidance to help you thrive in a business lunch.

No matter where you go for your business lunch, be on time. If you live in a big city, you know that traffic can be terrible. Even in the worst traffic scenarios, you can be on time if you plan ahead. Arriving early gives you time to use the restroom to check your appearance, fix your tie, reapply lipstick, make sure your shirt is tucked in, etc.

At your lunch meeting, enjoy your meal, be yourself, and remember to exchange any important information before you leave the table.

In Japan, meishi koukan is the formal exchange of business cards. The practice is very important in Japanese culture, and their long list of proper steps in the business card exchange is taken seriously. While we are not so formal in North America we have adopted the Japanese custom of handing a business card to someone with both hands with the print readable to the receiver. Your business card needs to be pristine and accurate. Look the person in the eye as you hand them your business card.

No matter the type of business lunch, whether it is an interview, a sales pitch, or just a get-to-know-you meal, remember your table manners. Keep the phone on silent and put away, and keep your handbag on a hook — never on the table or floor. Know and practice napkin knowhow, silent service code, and be silverware savvy.

Before you meet for your next business lunch, have an outcome for that lunch in mind. If you invited someone to lunch let them know why you are wanted to meet with them. It is good form to pay for your guest if you extended the invitation. If it is a mutually agreed upon luncheon, be prepared to pick up the tab, at least for yourself, when the bill arrives. Most importantly, be polite, stay focused on the outcome, and enjoy the conversation.


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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , ,

Nine Nuggets for Networking

November 21, 2016



Supersize these nuggets, then share them with others. Have fun networking!

  1. When you meet people at a networking event, shake hands, smile and look them in the eye. Greeting people warmly is always welcome.
  2. Have professionally designed and printed business cards available to give on request. Better yet, make a point of asking others for their cards . . . that way, you can follow up and not wait for them to contact you.
  3. Listen well when talking with others. Use your eyes, heart and brain as well as your ears to engage in a full conversation. Never look over the person’s shoulder to pick out someone “more important.”
  4. Take opportunities to praise people for the contributions they make. Letting them take a bow makes you both feel good!
  5. Make a point of regularly connecting with people on your key contact list, even when you aren’t requesting something from them. They will feel nurtured by your outreach.
  6. Follow up your networking conversations within a day or two (that’s why you ask for the other’s card). Graciously follow through on any agreements you make—and do it as soon as practical.
  7. If you’re in a conversation with people who are badmouthing others, do the reverse. Say positive things instead; “goodmouth” them as recommended by Susan Rhohan.
  8. Acknowledge what others do and who they are by sending cards, emails or letters. Frequently congratulate those in your networking circle on their ideas and achievements.
  9. Always ask people how you can help them accomplish their goals. Get specific details and follow through on what you promised. Doing that will build loyalty and trust every time!

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Posted by Margaret Page in A Page of Insight, Business Etiquette, Etiquette Edge, Newsletters and tagged , ,

What is Etiquette?

May 31, 2016

what is etiquette When you hear the word “etiquette,” what do you think of?  Do you relate it to fancy table manners and other highfalutin behaviors associated with the social protocol of dignitaries, royalty and “upper class?”

Etiquette is being aware of how your actions affect those around you. It’s about making others feel comfortable in your presence by the way you present yourself. It is not a standard we hold others to, but instead, a way we measure ourselves.

Having good manners and following etiquette guidelines, rather than being stuffy, serve to make everyday interactions more pleasant for everyone.

Emily Post said it best with this quote: “Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.”

So, why does it matter? In business it’s a sign of professionalism and respect for others. Knowing what to do or say in business situations saves you from an embarrassing moment, but also puts the other person at ease—building trust.

With the launch of the digital age, etiquette has definitely seen some changes. Social media and new technology has altered the way we live and the way we communicate. It’s so easy to forget the basics of good manners when we can share information so easily on Facebook!

It’s more important than ever to take a step back and remember to keep to those standards we set for ourselves. Whether we’re using technology or face-to-face communication, the rules of etiquette are constant. Here are two questions to ask yourself:  Is what I am about to do respectful? Is it kind?

Turning off our cell phones when in the company of others. Thinking before we send a tweet or post a status update to Facebook that shares personal information that could be harmful to others. It matters.

Yes, the digital age has added new etiquette questions, but in the end, the answer is still the same. Etiquette is about making other people feel comfortable. It’s about doing the right thing at the right time. It’s about respecting others and yourself.

Good manners will never go out of style.

“Class is not about societal position, wealth, and status or up bringing. Class is about making other people feel comfortable in your presence.” ~ Ann Landers


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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette, Everyday Etiquette and tagged , ,

A Guide to Good #HashtagEtiquette

March 8, 2016

hashtag etiquette
Hashtags. They’re everywhere! Their popularity began with Twitter and then rapidly expanded to almost all other social media networks. In fact, they are now being referenced in television commercials, like this one for Toyota Corolla. If you’re not familiar with hashtags, a hashtag is a word or phrase that begins with a pound sign (#) and are used to help people find messages with a specific theme or content.

Why bother using hashtags? If you are trying to have more online conversations, or increase exposure to influencers, then using relevant hashtags in your social updates will help you do that. Anyone that searches for or clicks on hashtagged content can see all of the other posts that include that keyword or phrase. If you follow me on Twitter, you’ve likely seen my tweets with the #etiquette hashtag, for example.

Unfortunately, hashtags have been increasingly abused, creating a whole new sect of social “netiquette” issues. To get the most out of hashtags, here are a few tips to follow:

  • Always spellcheck – Make sure your hashtag is spelled correctly so people can find your content. For example, more people will find my posts if I use #etiquette as opposed to #etiquete as a hashtag.
  • All one word – Putting a space between two words in a hashtag phrase will only make the first word searchable rather than the entire phrase. For example, if I post a link to an article on body language, I would use the hashtag #BodyLanguage, as opposed to #Body Language. The latter, in this example, will only get searches from people looking for posts with the word “body” in them.
  • Capitalize – Make an effort to capitalize each word in your hashtag phrase. This makes it so much easier to read. In Toastmasters, the widely used hashtag phrase we use #WhereLeadersAreMade, for example, is far easier to read than #whereleadersaremade?
  • Double check – Always double check your hashtag to ensure that it can’t be misconstrued. When Margaret Thatcher passed away, people were using the hashtag #NowThatchersDead in their social posts. However, when the capitalization was removed, the #nowthathchersdead phrase was comprehended incorrectly as “Now that Cher’s Dead”!
  • Keep it short – #ThisIsAnExampleOfAnUnnecessarilyLongHashtag. You’ve likely seen many “run-on” hashtag phrases being used in a joking manner. However, if you are serious about getting your message noticed, keep it short.
  • Cut back – Avoid using too many hashtags in one social post. It’s confusing, makes your post difficult to read and muddies your message. One to two hashtags are ideal for most social networks, with the exception of Instagram, where you can use as many as seven hashtags without raising eyebrows.
  • Don’t hijack a hashtag – Refrain using hashtags that have nothing to do with your topic. “Hijacking” popular or trending hashtags that are not relevant to your message is in poor taste and could negatively affect your online personae. Keep it on topic.
  • Search it – Are you using a new hashtag for a post? If so, do a search for it to see if it has already been utilized elsewhere. If so and it is not relevant to your message, try to come up with a different word or phrase that makes more sense.

Do you have any hashtag etiquette tips or interesting stories you’d like to share? Tweet your hashtag etiquette to me @EtiquettePage – and be sure to tag it with #HashtagEtiquette. Thanks!

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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette and tagged ,

7 Top Text Messaging Etiquette Tips

February 21, 2016

Texting can be a wonderful and convenient way to communicate, but in business, it poses new questions of etiquette and protocol – the when, what and how to use it wisely.

Keep these simple text etiquette tips in mind to ensure you’ll never annoy others or embarrass yourself.

7 Top Tips of Text Etiquette copy

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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette and tagged ,

The 6 “Rs” of Social Media Manners

February 1, 2016

The way you conduct yourself through social media is a direct reflection on who you are as a professional. Yes, your reputation is on the line every time you send a tweet or post a photo to your Facebook page. Everything you share online can potentially be captured for the entire world to see!

To easily avoid gaffes and maintain your professional dignity and social grace, follow these 6 “Rs” of social media manners:

6 Rs of Social Media Manners

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Coworking Spaces: 7 Essential Etiquette Tips

January 5, 2016

coworking etiquette

Coworking – where professionals share one workplace environment – has become an increasingly popular style of work in recent years. A coworking space is typically in an enhanced “coffee shop” type setting, but with more multi-functional workspaces. Unlike a typical office environment, those who are coworking are not usually employed by the same organization. They are working independently, but in very close quarters. Just as in a traditional office setting, it’s important that members of a coworking space understand the etiquette of working side-by-side.

To get the most success out of your coworking experience, here are seven etiquette tips:

Tip #1: Notice the noise

Does your coworking space carry a loud din of noise? Are most people having normal-toned conversations, meetings or phone calls? Or do you find it to be more library-like, where people speak in whispers or conduct quiet meetings in closed-door conference rooms? Observe and then match your sound level to that of your coworking space.

Tip #2: Be considerate of others

If you are at a shared table, use just one chair and keep your items contained to your space. Also, people are there to work, not to fill you in on the Wi-Fi password. The coworking staff is there to help with items like finding an outlet to charge your computer or fixing problems with the printer or coffee machine; however, know your boundaries. The office manager of the coworking space is not your personal assistant.

Tip #3: Keep headphones handy

Wear headphones to drown out the noise, and to help you concentrate on your tasks. As much as you love your tunes, avoid humming or singing along with the music. When someone is wearing headphones or ear buds, it’s a sign that they do not want to be disturbed.

Tip #4: Clean up after yourself

Did you just take the last cup of coffee? Make a fresh pot! Refrain from leaving dirty dishes in the sink. If you spill something on your desk, take the time to thoroughly clean it up. Eat your lunch in the break room rather than at your desk to prevent crumbs and other sticky residue from getting on work surfaces. At the end of your workday, pack up your things, put trash and recyclables in their respective bins and leave your space as nice as or better than you found it.

Tip #5: Bring your own supplies

If you forgot to bring your own coffee mug, use a disposable cup rather than using someone else’s ceramic mug. Refrain from eating or drinking anything from the fridge, unless you put it there. Just as if you were headed to a traditional office, bring along everything you will need for the day – including snacks!

Tip #6: Build connections

Take advantage of the networking opportunities that coworking offers. Make a point to get to know the others sharing the space. Coworking spaces often host events for members—giving everyone a chance to socialize, get to know their projects, products and ideas. That person sitting next to you might be someone who is looking for your expertise, or who could help you on a project you’re working on.

Also, do your best to get to know the owner of the space. Owners are always interested in learning about the companies and individuals who are utilizing their facility. You’ll likely create some excellent, mutually beneficial professional relationships.

Have you ever worked in a coworking space? If so, I’d love to hear your additional tips!

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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette and tagged

Show Your Gratitude – It’s National Thank You Month!

January 15, 2015


“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a gift and not giving it” ~ William Arthur Ward.

Many people are forming good habits in the New Year, such as exercising and eating right. I encourage you to add just one more – a simple daily dose of gratitude. It is an amazingly rewarding way of cultivating kindness, and January is the perfect month to start this new habit—it’s National Thank You Month!

Thank you notes can be sent anytime to anyone to let them know you appreciate them. Here’s the bonus: the amount of effort required to show gratitude is easier than exercising and eating right. In fact, one of my goals last year was to send at least one card a day. I thanked people not only for their gifts, but also for other kind gestures like taking the time to meet for lunch or for showing good leadership skills or supporters of my work. I was, and continue to be, successful in my daily thank you note endeavor. I know what you’re thinking – that you have no time to craft, much less send, a personal note. I use Send Out Cards (which I truly love!). You choose a card template, enter a quick personal message add your own photo, and then simply click SEND.  Send Out Cards takes it from there by printing and mailing your heartfelt meaningful message for you.

Just think how delighted one would be to receive your beautiful, personalized note from you.

In addition to sending thank you notes, here are some other quick tips for celebrating National Thank You Month:

  • Take a few minutes to think and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for. It could be a call from an old friend to the fresh air you breathe. When you really think about it, the list can be endless!
  • Start a gratitude journal. Every day, write down at least one thing you are grateful for. Over time, you will have manifested a fantastic new habit and a thoughtful record of all your many blessings.
  • Create an attitude of gratitude. Know that it is not how much you have, but how you feel about what you have that makes the difference.       Let people know throughout the day you are grateful that they are doing their job. I’ll bet the bus driver, policeman or barista that makes your coffee would like to hear you appreciate them being on the job.
  • Connect with others who are also grateful for what they have, not just in the workplace but in personal relationships as well. These are the people that have positive energy, are inspiring and they cheerfully impact people in valuable ways.

Take note of the warm feelings you get from expressing gratitude. Be thankful, not only in January, but throughout the year to those that mean the most to you. Letting people know just how important and special they are takes just a bit of effort, yet has massive rewards.

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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette

International Travel Etiquette Tips (Infographic)

October 31, 2014

Getting ready for a business trip abroad? Brush up on the customs and proper etiquette of your host country BEFORE you board the plane.

In Nigeria, for example,  it’s extremely rude to rush a greeting. Before you even begin to discuss business, take some time to inquire about the other person’s well-being. The Japanese prefer to do business on the basis of personal relationships, while the South Africans are more transactional and don’t require developing a long-standing personal relationship before conducting business.

The infographic below from covers the dos and don’ts for business travelers in countries from Argentina to India to South Africa.



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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette and tagged