Professional social situations can be awkward. And, unfortunately, many people wind up making fools of themselves because they don’t understand that etiquette rules in business differ from those in other settings.
In “The Essentials of Business Etiquette,” Barbara Pachter writes about the rules people need to understand to conduct and present themselves appropriately in professional social settings.
We looked through the book and spoke to Pachter to find the most important tips on how to introduce yourself, how to dress, and what to order at restaurants.
As it turns out, a lot of these rules should be followed in everyday life as well as business.
Vivian Giang contributed to an earlier version of this article.
Stand when you’re being introduced to someone.
“Standing helps establish your presence. You make it easy for others to ignore you if you don’t stand. If you are caught off guard and cannot rise, you should lean forward to indicate that you would stand, if you could,” Pachter writes.
Always say your full name.
In a business situation, you should use your full name, but you should also pay attention to how others want to be introduced.
If your name is too long or difficult to pronounce, Pachter says you should consider changing or shortening it. Or you should consider writing down the pronunciation of your name on a business card and giving it to others.
Always initiate the handshake if you’re the higher-ranking person or host.
In today’s workplace, the host or the higher-ranking person, regardless of gender, should extend their hand first, she writes. “If the higher-ranking person fails to do so immediately — often because of gender confusion — the lower-ranking person should extend his or her hand without missing more than a beat.”
Either way, the handshake must happen. “In the United States, the handshake is the business greeting. If you want to be taken seriously, you must shake hands and shake hands correctly.”