Business Salutation Etiquette

With today’s business environment becoming increasingly global, most of us come across situations where we have to meet clients from different countries and cultures. Studying and understanding your client’s culture, in-depth, may take a lot of time, but there are some generally agreed principles that are a part of the correct business salutation etiquette. It is very important for all of us to display good business etiquette as it plays an important part in ensuring success and professionalism in the workplace.

Salutations When Meeting

The acceptable way of greeting a client or someone from your workplace is a handshake, irrespective of the gender of the person. It is important that you make eye-contact with the person and have a genuine smile. It is important to remember that a handshake is not an alternate for using your voice. While you extend your hand, you should introduce yourself at the same time. Avoid being too firm with your handshakes and remember that handshakes are a way to start a communication, not a show of physical strength. There are times, when you will not get it right, but you should not start feeling remorseful and instead, you should try to make up for it by offering a compliment or engaging the person in a short conversation.

Cross-Cultural Salutations

The art of salutations would have been much easier if our interaction in a business environment was limited to people from our own country and culture only. Today, more and more companies want to be global and the mergers and acquisitions mean that you get to meet people from almost all parts of the world. Winning over your clients requires knowledge of their traditions so that you are able to impress them in first meeting itself. In this section, we will take a brief look at the business salutation etiquette in different cultures.

China
The accepted way of greeting in China is a slight bow as Chinese tend to avoid physical contact with the other person. A lot of Chinese people are comfortable with a handshake but remember that the handshake is not as firm as the one in western countries.

India
The business salutation in India is similar to that of the west with most business people shaking hands and introducing themselves. It is common for businesswomen to shake hands, however a kiss on the cheek is uncommon. Indians are sensitive and have strong family ties, so you may be involved in some conversations on family life, marriage, children, etc., which normally are considered as personal issues in the west.

Saudi Arabia
Arabs greet each other by saying Assalaamu ‘alaykum which translates to, “peace be upon you”, however, Saudi Arabs don’t expect people of other cultures (non-Muslims) to greet them in this fashion. Like other countries, a formal handshake is the acceptable way of greeting each other. Businessmen can shake their hands with businesswomen, but the man has to extend the hand first.

Russia
The business salutation in Russia is similar to other western countries, but the handshake is much more firm, almost a bone-crusher. When shaking hands with a woman, the handshake is less firm. You can introduce yourself using only your surnames, but you should find out if your Russian counterpart uses any titles.

Germany
Although most of the Germans introduce themselves with a handshake, however, who shakes whose hand can sometimes get a bit perplexing. The norm is that a person who is at a higher position will take the initiative to extend his hand and introduce you to all the sub-ordinates. If you have joined a group of people, then the onus is on you to extend your hand and introduce yourself to each one of them. It is considered good to shake hands with older members first as it shows a sense of respect.

Business letters are formal in nature and there are some set standards that have to be followed while communicating with business associates. One of the commonly used salutations is ‘Dear’, which is followed by the name to whom the letter or e-mail is addressed to. In situations where you don’t know the name of the person and the gender, you can address the letter/e-mail as

– To Whom it May Concern
– Dear Sir/Madam

It is important that you close the letter in a professional manner. Some of the common salutations to end a letter are

– Kind Regards
– With Appreciation
– Sincerely
– Regards

It is important to have a sound knowledge of these business salutation etiquette as these plays an important part in ensuring whether you are successful in your endeavor. We hope that this article is helpful to you and helps you with some information on salutations in the business environment.

Meeting Etiquette

Etiquette is nothing but a set of unwritten rules that are accepted by everyone, for the smooth functioning of a society. Proper etiquette is expected in all social activities and interactions. Of course, it is different for every occasion.

Following Etiquette at a Meeting

Here are the prime principles to bear in mind.

Punctuality: It might sound like a cliché, but punctuality is one quality which needs to be followed throughout life. It is a crucial factor when it comes to formal meetings. In fact, it’s best to be present at the venue, at least five minutes beforehand.

If you reach late due to some reason, occupy your position, without disturbing the proceedings. If you are organizing the meeting, start on time, irrespective of the attendance. Do not make members wait, even if the others are late.

Dressing and Mannerism: Formal attire is expected. Dress like a professional. T-shirts and jeans are out of question, when it comes to a meeting. There won’t be any dress code mentioned, however, you are expected to dress in clean and neat clothes. Also, pay attention to your footwear. Choose comfortable formal shoes.

Talking about manners, it is expected that you switch your phones to a silent mode. Avoid answering calls during the meeting.

Listening attentively is also an important part of etiquette. If at any point you do not agree with the chair, wait for him to finish and then put forth your opinion in a modest tone. Every person in the meeting gets a chance to express his views. Wait for your chance. Avoid aggression, and reason instead.

Be Prepared: All meetings generally have an agenda. You will be informed in advance about the meeting timing. Do not waste your and others people’s time beating around the bush. Speak only about the concerned topic, in short and simple sentences.

Be precise and wrap your presentation within a certain time. Be prepared for questions that might be asked about the topic. If you cannot answer a certain query, honestly accept it, instead of providing vague answers. Also carry a pen and notepad with you.

Summarize: When the meeting ends, summarize it by giving a short account of all that happened, which includes plans that were put forward, accomplishments, any suggestions etc. Also decide the time and place for the next meeting. Do not rush out. Thank everyone for coming, if you are the organizer.

These were the most important meeting etiquette rules. Following them will not only help in improving productivity, but will also improve relationships within the team.