A Lesson In Business Basics

Whether you are a seasoned business veteran or a newly minted employee entering the workforce, there are some basic tips to keep in mind that will help you differentiate yourself as you continuously work to cultivate your personal brand.

Here are my thoughts on the basic business etiquette every person should strive to practice every day:

Take Note

Whether it’s a small notebook you keep with you or the notes app on your phone, be sure to always be prepared to jot down something of importance.

Some things to consciously train yourself to listen for and take note of include: follow up from meetings, introductions or tasks you offered to take on, introductions or follow up items that were offered to you, names of people/companies that you may want to look into later, etc.. Do not rely on your own memory; inevitably you will forget something.

Train yourself to get into the habit of writing things down and setting aside time each day to review notes and follow up on all the actionable items.

People are pleased that you feel their content is important enough to memorialize.

Meetings Are Like Baseball games

Think about monitoring your speech so that you are not chiming in too frequently. Your contributions need to move the meetings and discussions forward. Just like in a baseball game with nine innings you get to bat 3 times, it is perfectly fine to only make 1 or 2, maximum 3, contributions in a meeting.

Edit out superfluous comments i.e. just agreeing with others and use your “at bat” moments to move the conversation forward.

Step Up Your Follow Up Game

If you say you are going to do something be sure you put every effort possible to follow up and follow through. The next step is to let the person know that it is done. If it turns out you are not able to do it, then let the person know in a timely manner. It is absolutely crucial to always close the loop. If you constantly leave things open ended people may perceive you as unreliable.

So often people will offer to do something in a meeting or even in a one-on-one conversation and then never follow through. It is ok to on occasion be forgetful or have something go to the back burner if a more pressing issue comes up that requires your attention. But making a conscious effort to not let your words become empty promises will set you apart and ingratiate you in the minds of your peers.

Have an Attitude of Gratitude

Never take your employees or customers for granted. Constant gratitude is one of the most important aspects of a successful business. The goal is to incorporate gratitude into your daily interactions so that you do not feel compelled later on to put on grand displays of thankfulness that are few and far between. Make a conscious effort to acknowledge and appreciate people on a daily basis. Customers, vendors, and employees alike want to feel valued and important; showing appreciation sporadically and may come across as disingenuous.

If your team feels valued and appreciated they will be more intrinsically motivated to perform at the highest level and “go the extra mile”.

These tips may seem obvious because of their “basic” nature, so it is all the more frustrating when they are overlooked.

In recent years many businesses have begun to move away from a traditional office structure in favor of more laid back environments. However, a less rigid office environment is not a green light to forgo basic, but essential, business etiquette.

Being organized, reliable and gracious will never become antiquated practices and being mindful to always perform at the highest level will help you build the personal brand that will help get you to the next level in your career.

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