10 Quick Business Etiquette Tips for Getting Ahead

Increase Your Chances for a Promotion at Work

Businessmen in meeting
Show respect in a business environment in order to gain respect. David Lees/Digital Vision/Getty Images

You probably landed your job with excellent skills, knowledge, and an impressive interview. Now you want to impress the higher-ups so you’ll be considered for bigger and better positions. Following proper business etiquette is essential if you want to get ahead with your company.

Follow these tips to be noticed in the best possible way:

  1. Dress for success. You’ve probably heard that in order to move up with a company, you need to dress for the position you seek rather than the one you currently hold. Believe it because it’s true.
  1. Be on time. Arriving on time or even early shows your commitment and dedication to the company and your job. Walking in late shows a lack of interest and respect of your coworkers.
  2. Respect everyone. You may think that you only need to be nice to your boss, but showing respect for your coworkers and those who work beneath you is a sign of respect that many managers expect.
  3. Use proper cell phone etiquette. When you go into a meeting, put your phone on silent or turn it off. Avoid loud, personal conversations in the workplace. Your coworkers don’t need to know all the details of your personal life.
  4. Be friendly. When you meet new business associates, smile, make eye contact, and maintain a pleasant tone of voice. Don’t forget to say, “Please,” when asking for something and, “Thank you,” afterward.
  5. Avoid office gossip. Be aware that when people in the office gossip, the conversation doesn’t stop at your level. Those who gossip typically enjoy the drama of spreading the word.
  1. Maintain good manners during company meals. Using proper etiquette during a corporate dinner shows that you respect yourself and your coworkers enough to be polite. Learn the placement of utensils so you don’t appear to be a clod.
  2. Offer a firm handshake. This is the time to show your confidence and friendliness.
  1. Give your coworkers credit. No one likes an employee who steals ideas. You may get away with it for a while, but eventually, the bosses will catch on to your game, and your future with the company will be grim.
  2. Be generous. Offer your assistance and knowledge when someone else needs it. After all, you are all on the same team, and when the company improves, everyone wins. When you go to lunch with coworkers, show respect for your server by leaving a generous tip.

What Not to Do on the Job if You Want to Get Ahead

Just as important as what you should do, there are some things that you shouldn't do. Here are some behaviors to avoid:

  1. If you are asked to meet with other company executives before a promotion, don't fall into bad interview etiquette practices just because you feel comfortable in your position. Treat this as you would your first interview with the company.
  2. Don't forget about the company dress code if you want a promotion. It is usually a good idea to dress for the position you would like to have long before you move up. 
  3. There is nothing you can do if your boss has bad manners, but don't use that as an excuse to forget proper business etiquette.
  4. Avoid embarrassing others. There will be times when you will need to correct someone. Show respect and do so in a polite way that doesn't embarrass the other person.
  1. While it's fine to let others know what you've done to help the company, don't do shameless self-promotion. Let your accomplishments speak for themselves.
  2. Don't sabotage your career by not learning from your faux pas. Everyone makes mistakes, but repeating the same ones over and over can show that you aren't management material.
  3. Don't talk down to your coworkers, whether they are less knowledgeable, older employees, or fresh out of college. You need to be able to work with people at all levels in order to move up in most companies.