business etiquette http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/12215/all en-US Business Lunch Etiquette 101 http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/business-lunch-etiquette-101 <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/business-lunch-etiquette-101" target="_blank">http://www.openforum.com/articles/business-lunch-etiquette-101</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/business-lunch-etiquette-101" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000012261576Small.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sharing food has long been a way of building alliances in every culture. In modern society, business lunches can be very important to your success. You might invite a customer for lunch to seal a deal for a big order. Or a competitor might invite you out to discuss buying your company.</p> <p>How you eat and how you act during lunch will make a huge impression on people. Table manners are not just stuffy, old fashioned rules your grandmother insisted on. They exist because they make social situations more comfortable for everyone. Even if you run a fast-growing dot com, or have built a business and reputation by rejecting social norms, you still need to understand that a business lunch is a meeting, <i>not</i> a meal.</p> <p>Here are 11 tips to help you make a good impression at your next business lunch and keep you from embarrassment.</p> <p><strong>1. Dress Appropriately</strong></p> <p>Wearing a business suit when everyone is dressed casually can be as uncomfortable as showing up in jeans and t-shirt when everyone else is dressed up.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re the host, offer your guests a subtle tip about appropriate attire. &ldquo;The restaurant is real casual, and I&rsquo;m coming from home, so feel free to wear something comfortable.&rdquo; But that&rsquo;s not permission to wear torn jeans, smelly sneakers, and a dirty t-shirt. Remember, this is a meeting, not a party with the gang.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re the guest and didn&rsquo;t receive a hint from your host, <i>ask</i>. Demonstrating that you&rsquo;re comfortable enough with your host, and self-assured enough, to handle a little detail like this communicates that you&rsquo;re a take-charge kind of person. &ldquo;I usually work in khakis and a golf shirt, will that be appropriate?&rdquo; for example, can solve the problem.</p> <p><strong>2. Arrive Early</strong></p> <p>Whether you invite someone to lunch or they invite you, plan to be standing inside the entrance about five minutes before the scheduled time. Take into account that you may not know where you&rsquo;re going and parking may be a problem.</p> <p>Whether host or guest, if you&rsquo;re going to be late for any reason call as soon as you realize you will be delayed, so the other people won&rsquo;t worry that they had the wrong day or time, or the wrong place.</p> <p><strong>3. Go Now</strong></p> <p>If you have to go to the bathroom, and to be sure you don&rsquo;t have to go later, do it now.</p> <p>Your own comfort isn&rsquo;t the only advantage. I once overheard, standing in a stall, a discussion of how the people I was meeting with were planning to handle our upcoming negotiation.</p> <p><strong>4. Make a Good First Impression</strong></p> <p>When you first meet, firmly (but not painfully) shake hands and <a href="http://www.openforum.com/articles/7-body-language-mistakes-to-avoid" target="_blank">look people in the eye</a>. A limp handshake and a mumbled greeting with downcast eyes gives the impression you&rsquo;re either inept or uncomfortable, neither of which will help you.</p> <p>Some people scoff at such details, but humans, like other animals, look for subtile signs that tell us about the people we meet.</p> <p><strong>5. Sit Down Together</strong></p> <p>Make small talk about the place, the weather, sports, or something you know the people you are with are interested in&mdash;but not the business at hand.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re the host, invite people to sit down and do so yourself. If you&rsquo;re the guest, wait until your host sits or invites you to do so. Keep in mind that sitting side-by-side makes talking difficult, so try to sit across from whoever you want to interact with most.</p> <p><strong>6. Put Your Phone Away</strong></p> <p>Texting or making calls is insulting to the people you&rsquo;re with. You may think it makes you look like a big shot that has to deal with all kinds of important issues, but it only makes you look inept and incapable of managing your life or business for the short time you&rsquo;re at lunch.</p> <p><strong>7. Order Something Easy to Eat</strong></p> <p>A big splotch of spaghetti sauce on your lapel isn&rsquo;t easy to overlook, and it&rsquo;s embarrassing both for you and others. If you&rsquo;re wrestling with King Crab legs or trying to keep a club sandwich together you&rsquo;ll have trouble paying attention to the business at hand.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re a guest, don&rsquo;t order the most expensive thing on the menu, even if your host does. I once took all my employees to lunch, and one of them ordered lobster while everyone else had a sandwich. That one act left a lasting (and accurate, it turned out) impression about that person&rsquo;s attitude and personality.</p> <p><strong>8. Don't Start Eating Until Everyone is Served</strong></p> <p>A business lunch (or dinner) isn&rsquo;t a competition for food. When you sit down, feel free to sip your water, but don&rsquo;t grab a roll or condiment and start wolfing it down.</p> <p>Assuming everyone&rsquo;s meal arrives at the same time, wait until the host starts to eat. If that&rsquo;s you, take a bite or two so others know it&rsquo;s okay to start eating, even if you&rsquo;re <a href="http://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/money/article/12-fatal-sales-mistakes-to-avoid" target="_blank">ready to launch into your pitch</a>.</p> <p>If the meals don&rsquo;t all come at the same time, wait until the host is served or invites you to begin.</p> <p><strong>8. Elbows Off the Table</strong></p> <p>While you&rsquo;re eating, sit up straight, and don&rsquo;t lean on the table. You&rsquo;re trying to look like a businessperson. Don&rsquo;t shovel in your food with your elbows on the table like a six year old. Again, the purpose of your lunch meeting is to <i>meet</i> not <i>eat</i>.</p> <p><strong>9. Cut Your Food</strong></p> <p>Stabbing a steak and gnawing off bites around the edges might impress someone who lives in a cave, but not modern people. I watched a smart, educated person do this recently, and saw everyone&rsquo;s impression instantly change with that one simple mistake.</p> <p>Cutting your food and taking small bites helps keep you from putting something in your mouth you don&rsquo;t want to swallow. If you nevertheless have a piece of gristle or something else you don&rsquo;t want to eat in your mouth, take it out the same way it went in (utensil or fingers) and put it on the edge of your plate (<i>not</i> in your napkin).</p> <p><strong>10. Don't Chew with Your Mouth Open</strong></p> <p>Kids think it&rsquo;s funny, because it&rsquo;s gross to show off a mouthful of chewed food. If you chew with your mouth open you&rsquo;re grossing people out over and over. Grown-ups (which includes most business people) aren&rsquo;t amused by it.</p> <p><strong>11. Don't Talk with Your Mouth Full</strong></p> <p>See #10, plus it makes you hard to understand.</p> <p>A lunch is a business social event and your job is to handle it with grace. Mom was right about a lot of things and behaving properly at lunch is one of them.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tom-harnish">Tom Harnish</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/business-lunch-etiquette-101">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reclaiming-etiquette-dining-basics-for-young-professionals">Reclaiming Etiquette: Dining Basics for New Professionals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/13-things-people-with-good-table-manners-never-do">13 Things People With Good Table Manners Never Do</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette">11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business etiquette business lunch etiquette meetings small business table manners Sun, 23 Oct 2011 18:15:57 +0000 Tom Harnish 756222 at http://www.wisebread.com The Etiquette of Calling for References http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-etiquette-of-calling-for-references <div class="field field-type-link field-field-url"> <div class="field-label">Link:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/the-etiquette-of-calling-for-references-thursday-bram" target="_blank">https://www.openforum.com/idea-hub/topics/lifestyle/article/the-etiquette-of-cal...</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/small-business/the-etiquette-of-calling-for-references" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000011086631Small.jpg" alt="Angry man with phone" title="Angry man with phone" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When you're hiring a new employee, it's standard practice to ask for references. Those references&nbsp;may represent the closest you come to running a background check of any kind on your prospective employees, making it crucial that you get as much information out those references as possible. Of course, you'll be talking to people who will only want to say nice things and who you don't know well enough to dig very deep with. How do you really make the most of a phone call to a reference, especially while remaining polite?</p> <p><strong>Asking for Negative Information Without Causing Problems</strong></p> <p>When you call a job applicant's past employer, expect to only hear nice things. It has become very difficult to get anything but a positive reference &mdash; even for an employee that a company was glad to leave. Partially it's a matter of some references just not wanting to give a negative reference, but there have also been many situations where a company chose not to hire an applicant on the basis of a negative reference &mdash; and then the applicant sued his or her former employer. Some companies have simply instituted a policy of either only giving positive references or refusing to do anything more than confirm dates of employment as a result.</p> <p>But you have to get the full picture if you want to make sure that you're truly finding the best applicant for a job. There are ways to get a better sense of an employee's history, even during a short phone call. The secret is to ask open-ended questions: Asking a former supervisor to describe how an employee handled certain tasks can help you get at least a sense of the situation, especially if you can ask about specific examples. You may not get a negative review, but with a little practice, you can get a sense of when a reference has to dig for something nice to say or if a supervisor is holding something back.</p> <p><strong>Avoiding Even a Hint of Discrimination</strong></p> <p>Asking a former supervisor or another reference about anything that could contribute to accusations of discrimination should be avoided. This goes far beyond asking about an applicant's ethnicity, religion, or other matters of obvious discrimination. Asking about whether an applicant made adequate child care arrangements can be enough to cause problems (it is illegal to discriminate against applicants with children).</p> <p>As a prospective employer, you can only ask questions that relate directly to a candidate's ability to perform the job he or she is being considered for. The same rule applies when interviewing an applicant &mdash; you simply don't want to have any information that could be the basis of an accusation of discrimination later on.</p> <p><strong>Making a Reference Call a Simple Matter</strong></p> <p>A past supervisor may get a whole slew of requests for references for the same individual at the same time, depending on how hard that person is looking for a new job. Taking that fact into consideration can make your call go a little easier. Simple etiquette, like making sure that it's a good time for the person offering the reference to talk, can dispose her in favor of offering you more information about your prospective new hire.</p> <p>Ask as many questions as you can: This may be your only opportunity to really check up on a candidate. It may be appropriate to write out a list of questions before you make the call, so that you can be sure that you get any truly important answers. Some businesses use forms to guide reference calls, but such an approach can put constraints on the call that make it harder for you to get all of the information you need to make a hiring decision.</p> <p><strong>If You Can't Get a Reference</strong></p> <p>It's not always a simple matter to get a reference. Sometimes a company has a policy about giving references for past employees. Sometimes a supervisor has moved on and there's simply no one else who worked with your candidate.&nbsp;</p> <p>It's generally worthwhile to offer candidates the chance to provide a few other references (or at least try to find new contact information for the names you've already received). Even a simple check online can often provide you information. With social networking sites, it's becoming more common to be able to find individuals online and to verify the validity of an applicant's references.</p> <p>Ideally, getting a reference for an applicant you're considering hiring should just be a matter of calling a few numbers and listening to past employers tell you how great this particular individual is. Sometimes, though, you need to put a little more work into it. After all, if you're going to trust a new employee as a part of your business, it's important to get as much information as you can to help you choose the right person for the job.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/small-business/the-etiquette-of-calling-for-references">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/250-tips-for-small-business-owners">250+ Tips for Small Business Owners</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-questions-you-must-ask-at-your-next-job-interview">4 Questions You Must Ask at Your Next Job Interview</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-5-best-credit-cards-for-small-businesses">The 5 Best Credit Cards for Small Businesses</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-body-language-mistakes-that-sabotage-most-interviews">10 Body Language Mistakes That Sabotage Most Interviews</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/weird-job-interview-questions-and-how-to-answer-them">Weird Job Interview Questions (and How to Answer Them)</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Small Business Resource Center business etiquette hiring job interviews references small business Sun, 23 Jan 2011 21:51:23 +0000 Thursday Bram 473846 at http://www.wisebread.com Reclaiming Etiquette: Dining Basics for New Professionals http://www.wisebread.com/reclaiming-etiquette-dining-basics-for-young-professionals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/reclaiming-etiquette-dining-basics-for-young-professionals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_lunch.jpg" alt="Men at a business lunch" title="Men at a business lunch" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We live in a society that values speed and multitasking. Dining has devolved into something that needs to be checked off of our To Do List, rather than an event with its own unique process and traditions. Eating from a Styrofoam tray may be fine on our own time, but uber-casual dining habits can sometimes leave us at a disadvantage during a client meeting, formal event, or lunch interview. As the job market tightens, here are a few quick and easy lessons on dining etiquette that can help young professionals stand out from the crowd.</p> <h2>Timing</h2> <p>It nearly goes without saying: don&rsquo;t begin eating until everyone has been served. Upon serving, the host should be the first to begin dining, unless he or she indicates otherwise.</p> <h2>Utensils</h2> <p>Utensil placement indicates the order of use &mdash; work from the outside in (for example the outer-most fork is for the salad). During the meal, set your utensils down completely on your plate. Never rest a used utensil on the table or dangling off the edge of a plate (half-on, half-off). When you&rsquo;ve finished your meal, placing your knife and fork together in the center of your plate in a shallow &ldquo;V&rdquo; position indicates to the waitstaff that you&rsquo;re done.</p> <h2>Napkins</h2> <p>Place your folded napkin in your lap immediately upon being seated. Unfold the napkin while it&rsquo;s on your lap, rather than on the table. The napkin should remain in your lap until the meal is finished, or until you need to excuse yourself from the table temporarily. When leaving the table, fold the napkin and place it to the left of your dinner plate (or on the left, if your plate has already been cleared).</p> <h2>Ordering</h2> <p>The host sets the tone for the meal. Don&rsquo;t order alcohol unless the host has ordered it. At restaurants, don&rsquo;t exceed the price of the host&rsquo;s ordered item (for this purpose, when selecting from the menu, it&rsquo;s good to choose two items &mdash; one that is your first choice and then a more moderately-priced alternate). Avoid ordering items which involve more courses than the host or other guests.</p> <h2>The Tab</h2> <p>When dining out, it&rsquo;s business-appropriate for the person who organized the meal to cover the cost. Offering to pay or to &lsquo;chip in&rsquo; on the gratuity, is not expected or considered necessarily polite. A &lsquo;thank you&rsquo; at the conclusion of the meal is all that&rsquo;s required.</p> <h2>Technology</h2> <p>Formal events should be considered &lsquo;tech-free&rsquo; zones. If you must be plugged in and accessible during such times, make sure your PDA, phone, or pager is not audible (this includes a rattling vibrate). Essential calls may be made by excusing yourself from the table and other diners.</p> <h2>Quick Bites</h2> <p>Here are a few quick pointers on the finer details of dining:</p> <ul> <li>In a formal dining environment, don&rsquo;t blow on hot food to cool it down. Let the hot item cool naturally.</li> <li>Never salt your food before the first taste &mdash; this suggests you don&rsquo;t anticipate good flavor and is an insult to the cook.</li> <li>When signaling to waitstaff, discreetly raise your hand while making eye contact. It&rsquo;s never appropriate to tap on your glass to get a waiter&rsquo;s attention.</li> <li>If you need an item that&rsquo;s not within easy reach, politely ask a fellow diner to pass it to you. Never stretch to reach an item or think the term &ldquo;pardon my reach,&rdquo; absolves you of this impolite maneuver. When asked, it's proper to always pass the salt and pepper together, even if only one was requested.</li> </ul> <p>Admittedly, few of us need to channel Don Draper for lunch at The Four Seasons, but a few etiquette basics can hold us in good stead as our careers advance. Though societal rules are changing quickly and the finer point manners are sometimes considered antiquated, don&rsquo;t doubt people are watching and drawing conclusions based upon how well each of us navigates different social environments. Enjoy your knowledge, let it give you that added bit of confidence and, of course, Bon Appetit!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/kentin-waits">Kentin Waits</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/reclaiming-etiquette-dining-basics-for-young-professionals">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/does-money-really-buy-happiness">Does Money Really Buy Happiness?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-create-a-financial-5-year-plan">How to Create a Financial 5 Year Plan</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-and-give-honest-feedback">How to Get and Give Honest Feedback</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-6-best-reasons-to-quit-your-job">The 6 Best Reasons to Quit Your Job</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-ways-to-have-a-better-day-at-work">7 Ways to Have a Better Day at Work</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Career and Income Personal Development business etiquette dining etiquette table manners Fri, 11 Jun 2010 14:00:04 +0000 Kentin Waits 124145 at http://www.wisebread.com