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15 Trade Labels Professionals Should Know

“A man without a smiling face should never open a shop,” or so the Chinese saying goes. In truth, smiling goes a long way in brightening the mood for a friendlier and more understanding conversation. This is also true in business, especially when it comes to establishing a business association. However, there are more business labels beyond smiling and showing them will show others that your customers and your business are worthy of respect.

* Present everyone, even when in doubt: There is a good way to introduce people to each other. First, introduce the highest ranking person, using their full name and title or responsibility. Then introduce that person to the person with lesser authority. Be sure to mention your full name as well. Finally, they can mention some details about each other as a topic of common interest. When you are introduced to someone, always stand up if you are sitting down.

* A firm handshake: The way that businessmen shake hands most often sets the tone between them. Giving a good, firm handshake will make a good first impression, as it can eventually end in a successful business partnership. If you are the host or lead member, you should initiate the handshake.

* Admit if you forget their names: It is not uncommon to forget the names of people who recently introduced you. If it happens, admit it and ask again as this shows that you care about them.

* Sitting down for a meeting – Whether the meeting is in a restaurant or office, in a group or one on one, it is best not to throw the chair for anyone. In a business environment, everyone should discard social gender rules and treat everyone equally. When sitting, never cross your legs as it can be distracting and disrespectful.

* Meeting at a restaurant: Contrary to business instincts, don’t use your knife to break bread. Take it off with your own hands, as this means your openness to your potential business partner. When finished with food, never push your plate or stack plates. Try not to have leftovers too. If your guest orders appetizers or desserts, you should too. This avoids the possible discomfort of having other people in your group eating and you have nothing on your plate. If you are the host, you must pay for your guest unless he or she insists otherwise or is against your company’s gift policy.

Dress appropriately: The way someone dresses is a form of non-verbal communication. Dressing appropriately for a meeting shows an automatic sign of respect for the guests or the host. Also, always check the dress code for an event, as some events may require more or less formal dress.

* Keep cell phones in your pockets – Never put phones on the meeting table and do not use them during the meeting. Only answer calls that are urgent and apologize for the meeting and take your call outside so you don’t interrupt the meeting.

* “Please” and “Thank you”: these two phrases show courtesy in any conversation and is the most important thing in a professional environment. Saying “please” can be used as much as necessary. “Thank you”, however, should be used once or twice, as saying it too many times can reduce its impact. As much as possible, thank everyone individually after a meeting.

* Stay Sober – Businessmen have lost reputations and careers due to drunken behavior. Although none of the things that were said or done while drunk were intentional, it is a clear sign of disrespect towards the host or guests. Don’t embarrass yourself or your business. Know your limits and control your pace.

* Be genuinely interested – Always make eye contact in conversation and be sure to pay attention to every detail the guest says. Take the time to ask questions, as this shows that you were listening and interested.

* Double check emails – Simple mistakes can be made to divert a meeting or make a deal. You might have the wrong date and time for a meeting, you missed some documents to sign, or worse, your emails were sent to the wrong person and can put the company in danger.

* Use Professional Photographs – When using your own or anyone else’s photographs for business purposes, always use a suitable headshot. The companies would have to appear credible to other companies.

* Greet everyone anywhere – Regardless of seniority, always greet people. You may never know that it may actually be your next business partner. When people greet you, it is imperative that they greet you back.

* Don’t Forget to Smile – Just like the Chinese proverb, smiling works wonders on any occasion, whether it’s in a meeting, during presentations, or at a corporate social gathering.

End on a polite note: When you need to leave, be sure to politely say “Nice meeting you” or “See you at the next meeting.”

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