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The 5 golden rules of business etiquette…

It dawned on me recently that for all the useful business concepts and strategic insights that I teach my students at Macleay College we rarely discuss how to behave in business. The business world is a minefield for the uninitiated but there are plenty of ways to make a good impression. Good business etiquette can be just as important to your career as technical skills.

To get started on the right track, stick to this short list of behaviours and you are likely to win respect, cooperation and possibly even career advancement.


In fact, be early. Never keep clients and colleagues waiting. To a busy businessperson, lateness signifies lack of interest, commitment and even competence.


This means listening hard and showing that you are. Look at the person who is speaking, take notes, be alert and do NOT be distracted by your mobile, tablet or laptop…unless you are using it to take notes. And if that is the case, explain that that’s what you’re doing.


If the meeting is booked for an hour, set aside a full hour in your schedule and stay for the whole hour.


'Please' and 'thank you' are among the most important words in the English language. Business relationships can be difficult to navigate but simple courtesies will help you find your way.


A smile, eye contact, and a good old-fashioned handshake are three essential ingredients when trying to make a good first impression. Say the person’s name, and remember it for later.

This list will get you started on the right foot… but it is by no means exhaustive.

If you are serious about making a good impression, try standing when a more senior person enters the room, contribute appropriately to conversations in meetings, raise issues and problems constructively… and acknowledge cross-cultural business etiquette (Shake, Bow or Kiss!)

Peter Rix is a marketing and management lecturer at Macleay College. You can find out more about Peter via our YouTube channel!

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