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5 Etiquette Tips and Tricks for the Polished Professional

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Hosting an important dinner party, inviting a client to a business lunch, or planning a meeting? In any line of work, Preparation is key to being a polished professional. Vancouver company, Social Graces International Etiquette, provides tips that will assist in making your actions speak louder than words.

When entering a space, who gives way to whom?

Elevator | Invite your client to enter and exit first. If you are with colleagues and the elevator is spacious, the honour goes to the most senior colleague present.

Revolving Door | If the revolving door is automatic or if a doorman is present, allow your client, guests or senior colleague to enter first. If the door requires manual turning, enter first to set it in motion.

Restaurant | As the host, you enter the restaurant first and guide your clients or guests. As a guest, you wait to be guided. If a restaurant hostess guides you to the table, the order is as follows: restaurant hostess, client, you. The guest leads the way out after the meal.

Hints for Formal Business Introductions

  • Always stand
  • Maintain a pleasant facial expression
  • Look at each person
  • Use titles
  • Say something about each person
  • Avoid unnecessary gestures

In social etiquette, it is often best to wait for an introduction to be made for you; however, in business etiquette, it is encouraged to introduce yourself.

Dining like a Pro(fessional)

  • When entering a restaurant, the client traditionally sits on the inside of the table. When taking your seat, if a large party, the first guests move around to the back of the table.
  • When being seated, remember the phrase “a cat on the lap, a mouse at the back” to keep proper posture.
  • Ordering your meal at an informal bistro, pub, or café, clients are to order directly. If you are dining at a more formal establishment, the host may convey the order of the client.
  • Once seated, you should remain until the coffee is served. If you must be excused, do so discreetly.
  • A former tradition at formal dinner parties was for the host to speak with the guest to their right and the remaining guests would follow suit to ensure no one was left out. Half way through the dinner, the host would switch sides and speak with the guest on their left and remaining guests would follow. This is where the term “turning the tables” originated. Contemporary etiquette merely requests being attentive to those around you.
  • To end a meal, leave your napkin loosely folded on the left side of your plate.

Networking Essentials

  • Do your homework
  • Dress the part
  • Make a lasting impression
  • Master the art of introductions
  • Introduce others

Handshakes and Business Cards: An Extension of You  

Handshaking is a form of communication and is an important contact between two new acquaintances. Be mindful of age, rank, and gender when initiating a handshake.

Make sure to devise a carrying and collection system when giving and receiving business cards. Be well stocked, well prepared and devise a follow-up system. Hand written notes are always a good idea and are well received as they are no longer ‘the norm’. 


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