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Business Manners

Businesses operate in every corner of the globe, but business is conducted differently in America than in many parts of the world, and the rules may seem strange to you.
Just remember, it's only business.

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Manners: Business Manners

Business etiquette is formal almost anywhere you go, but there are some big differences between how Americans and how people in other nations act in business settings. Your best course of action is to behave in a manner that is appropriate for wherever you are conducting business, so while you may be accustomed to doing business in Brazil or Japan, for instance, when you are conducting business in America you should act like an American. This can be confusing at first, but with a little practice you can become very good at working with people in American business settings.


Wearing the proper clothing is important. Know what kind of setting you will be going into and dress appropriately. If you are speaking to the vice president of a bank, you should be wearing business attire such as a business suit. If you are meeting with the president of a web design firm, you can probably dress in jeans and a good shirt. Dressing too formally is not as much of a problem as dressing to casually, but either can be a problem.


When you meet someone new, you need to introduce yourself, or, in some cases, wait to be introduced by someone else who came with you. After you have introduced yourself (or have been introduced), it is customary to shake the person's right hand. Be sure to use a firm grip, and always look them in the eye. It is polite to say something like "It's very nice to meet you."

During the meeting:

Sit or stand attentively; you want those with whom you hold meetings to feel that you are paying attention to what they are saying. Maintain eye contact with the speaker unless you are asked to look at a chart, photograph, or other object. Eye contact, while disrespectful in some parts of the world, shows respect for the speaker in America. Be prepared to enter into the conversation during pauses and answer questions posed during the meeting.

Closing the meeting:

When your business is concluded, you should thank everyone for taking the time to meet with you, shake hands with everyone (remember eye contact again), and leave. Usually the person hosting the meeting (in their office, their building, etc.) will open the door for other people to leave first and follow them out. Keep this in mind if you have a meeting at your own office.

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