Proper etiquette doesn't get its due in the business world.  We are not talking about highbrow, inconsequential ceremony, like how many times you curtsy to the Queen or how high to hold your pinky finger during high tea. Business etiquette refers to a code of professional conduct, and it can play a significant role in our success as a means to optimize our relationships and overall productivity. Applied more specifically in business and the sales role, business etiquette does the following:

  • Facilitates optimal productivity and positive outcomes
  • Instills confidence among customers and peers in your commitment and expertise
  • Communicates your respect for customers, laying the foundation for healthy long term relationships and, ultimately, preferred position

Ironically, most professionals recognize and mourn the loss of business manners, and the functional "sloppiness" that has crept into our culture - in our appearance, our communications, attention to detail and deadlines, and ultimately our expectations of ourselves and those around us. So why participate in this downward slide? Bucking this particular trend will only benefit you and your customers, creating a differentiating feature for both your personal brand and that of your organization.

Ultimately, business etiquette is about better performance. "No matter what business you are in, business etiquette is vital to your success," writes etiquette expert and author Lydia Ramsey in a recent blog. "Those who overlook the value of business etiquette are losing business every day Ultimately business etiquette will show up in the bottom line. Polish builds profits," says Ramsey.

In the coming months, we will periodically examine proper business etiquette in a number of areas, including electronic and written communications, workplace professionalism, phone etiquette and meeting etiquette. We hope you find these insights relevant and valuable.

Please take a moment to share your thoughts on business etiquette by participating in our poll.