We are all judged by the way we behave toward others. Training your employees in business etiquette will set your business apart from others in a most positive way. The goal is to, “outclass the competition”, making your clients feel comfortable, and respected.
I am going to go over some very specific etiquette of visiting an executive’s office. This information is a combination of The Golden Rule and common sense. First, be aware that you are on display the minute you enter the receptionist's area, before the actual meeting. The first impression you are going to make on this person is being on time. In fact, you should arrive ten minutes early to make sure you are prepared to make a great impression.
Upon entering the receptionist area it is helpful to give your business card to the receptionist while pronouncing your name and company’s name carefully. Being able to see your name as well as hearing it will make sure there is no mispronouncing it when announcing you in the office. Then, ask where you can hang your coat. The receptionist will probably do it for you, but it is always nice to offer to do things yourself. Some other things to remember are no chewing gum, smoking, or eating in the waiting room. Also, make sure you have used the restroom and had a drink of water. You never want to make requests like, “Can I have a cup of coffee?”.
Now, the host of the meeting is ready to see you. When he or she (or his or her assistant) approaches you, stand to greet them. This shows respect, gratitude, and makes them feel important to you. When ushered into the office, shake the most important person’s hand first. In every case the most important person is the client. If there isn’t a client present, the importance is determined by rank in the company; president, vice president etc. As you enter the office, don’t just sit anywhere, wait for the host to tell you where to sit and put your briefcase on the floor next to your seat. If you have a gracious host he has already planned to sit you where you will have the best view. Do not handle any items on tables or your host’s desk without permission to do so and please don’t ask to borrow a pen, your credibility will go down the drain. If you have initiated the meeting, you should have an agenda and it’s your responsibility to get to the point after no more than three or four minutes of small talk. Don’t let the meeting run over, stick to the allotted time. If your host must take a telephone call while you are in the office, offer to step out for a moment to allow some privacy. When the meeting is over, shake hands with your host and others present at the meeting and don’t forget to thank the receptionist before leaving.
If you follow these courtesies when visiting another’s office, you can be sure that you have left a great impression of your business on the host and everyone in his/her office. And hope that those same courtesies are used when someone is visiting your office. This along with much more information is provided in the seminar that I teach for business etiquette. Training your employees in proper etiquette will give them the confidence that will make them feel comfortable in any business or social situation. Call me for reservations to my next seminar at 270-683-3466.