Professional Presence Handouts Impact Factory Winter 2009
The Hard Facts about
In business, professional relationships are enhanced when people understand and
practice business protocol. Every time an associate presents or accepts a business
card, greets a customer with a handshake, or attends a business lunch or dinner, they
will exemplify the polish and professionalism that communicates exceptional customer
service and market leadership. In today’s more casual business dealings, that rare
individual is easily distinguished from the competition. Business protocol and etiquette
is also a foundation for individuals developing their leadership potential. It makes an
immediate and noticeable difference in how an individual is perceived and in their
effectiveness in business and social interaction.
What is Business Presence?
A powerful business presence exudes high-level professionalism in attire, posture,
conduct, and verbal skills as well as displaying confidence, leadership, and personal
power in a businesslike manner. A powerful business presence conveys on the nonverbal
level: "I am intelligent; I have choices; I am resourceful; I can be authoritative, easily
managing and inspiring other people; and I am capable of handling any business
situation, including conflict and curve balls."
Know the components of business presence, and learn how to use them to your
• Attire - all aspects of your clothing selections, including accessories such as
shoes, jewelry, eye-glasses, etc.
• Hair - style, color, condition, length
• Grooming - overall cleanliness, and personal presentation, including fragrances
use and abuse
• Posture - confidence in the way you hold yourself
• Demeanor - mannerisms, and body language
• Business Accessories -such as briefcases, pens, technology tools, etc.
• Communication Skills - articulation, eye contact, and effective listening
• Etiquette Skills - the right handshake, business protocols, and courtesies
Appearance + Actions + Attitude
When someone meets you for the first time, they will make up to eleven
assumptions about your personal or professional life. These assumptions are
made fast – within three to seven seconds. Right or wrong, correct or incorrect,
your appearance, actions, and attitude prompt immediate speculation –
conclusions accepted as true without any real proof.
Age ~ This assumption is largely based on physical aspects. Make sure you pay
attention to your appearance.
Level of Education ~ Education can refer to textbook knowledge as well as
worldly exposure. Appearance, action & attitude – will strongly affect this
Moral Character ~ This assumption is based on whether you project an
understanding of what is morally and socially right or wrong.
Likability ~ Your actions, particularly nonverbal body language, can greatly
affect this assumption. A friendly smile, sincerity, politeness and good listening
habits can push this assumption to the positive side.
Position in Company ~ Of the three’s A’s, attitude is the most helpful here,
Have you noticed the upper management tend to exude confidence and a
positive attitude? Body language is important – walk taller, hold shoulders back,
and make excellent eye contact.
Income ~ This assumption often reverts back to appearance, one that you can
Level of Success ~ As we mentioned earlier, attitude is contagious.
Name & Model of Car ~ This is an odd one and one I have never figured out.
Marital Status ~ While it is not appropriate to ask people often assume that
married people are more stable.
Level of Confidence ~ This assumption is based on your attitude, experience,
and self- esteem, which in turn is affected by your appearance 7 actions
Company Image ~ Remember…You are the company. The way you present
yourself is precisely how others perceive the company you work for.
Body Language Basics
Body language is the single most important means we have of getting our point
across. Over 50% of our communication is accomplished through our posture
and gestures. Body language can add to or detract from your professional
Good posture, whether sitting or standing, presents a confident image.
• Stand and sit up straight
• Head up
• Shoulders back
• Feet flat on the ground approximately shoulder width apart
• Arms should be relax at your side
When entering a room, walk in with confidence and purpose. Maintain good
posture. Keep you head up and your eyes off the floor. Lift your feet up, avoid
dragging them along the ground. Keep your arms at your side, a nice easy swing
that matches your stride. A relaxed yet purposeful walk communicates high self-
esteem and commendable confidence.
Be aware of your gestures at all times. When speaking with others, make certain
your gestures enhance your message and don’t detract from it. Gestures should
be open and friendly. Avoid doing anything that is going to detract from your
professionalism and the message you are trying to convey.
Eye contact is builds trust and develops rapport with others. Looking people in
the eye lets them know you are interested in what is happening, you are
involved, you are self-confident and a professional. Avoiding eye contact makes
people believe you lack confidence, are nervous and unprepared, and worst of all
you might not be trust worthy.
It is recommended that you maintain eye contact approximately 95% of the time
when you are engaged in a one-on-one conversation, and up to 50% of the time
when in a group setting.
Your face offers a veritable wealth of information, not just your age and heritage.
Your expressions, or sometimes lack of, give away your innermost attitudes.
Some expressions may make you appear unfriendly, angry, or disinterested. A
warm sincere smile on the other hand, allows you to appear friendly, open, and
approachable, and may be one of your best accessories.
Americans traditionally shake hands when meeting or leaving someone for the
first time, or when reconnecting with a person. An appropriate handshake is
between right hands only (unless your right hand is disabled), web-to-web
contact with locked thumbs, and care given to not grab the other person’s
knuckles. A firm grasp that lasts long enough for two to five substantial pumps is
Every handshake should begin from a standing position, ladies as well as men.
There is no gender distinction in business today. The rest goes as follows:
extend your right hand, initiate eye contact, say an enthusiastic hello, slowly and
clearly state your first and last name, and be sure to smile.
The handshakes you should avoid:
• The limp, dead fish handshake
• The double-handed handshake, often called the politician or pastoral
• The bone-crusher handshake
• The cold, clammy handshake
Business Tip: Name Badge
Always place your name badge on your right shoulder where it can be readily
seen. The nametag’s purpose is to reinforce your name. When you meet
someone and shake hands, their gaze will automatically follow your right arm
up to your shoulder and then to your face. Place your nametag high enough
on your right shoulder to be easily see.
There are two kinds of introductions: self-introductions and three-party introductions.
When do you introduce yourself? When you recognize someone and he or she doesn’t recognize
you, whenever you’re seated next to someone you don’t know, when the introducer doesn’t
remember your name and when you’re the friend of a friend. Extend your hand, offer your first
and last names and share something about yourself or the event you’re attending.
Tip: In a self-introduction, never give yourself an honorific such as Mr., Ms., Dr., etc.
In a three-person introduction, your role is to introduce two people to each other. In a business or
business/social situation, one must take into consideration the rank of the people involved in
order to show appropriate deference. Simply say first the name of the person who should be
shown the greatest respect. And remember, gender doesn’t count in the business world; protocol
is based upon rank. Senior employees outrank junior employees, customers or clients outrank
every employee (even the CEO), and officials (Mayor, Senator, etc.) outrank non-officials.
Begin with the superior’s name, add the introduction phrase, say the other person’s name and
add some information about the second person. Then reverse the introduction by saying the
second’s name, followed by the introduction phrase and the superior’s name and information.
When a three-party intro is done correctly, the two people being introduced should be able to start
some small talk based upon what you shared about each of them. Introductions should match, so
if you know the first and last names of both people, say both. If you know only the first name of
one person, say only the first names of both. If you add an honorific for one person, the other
should also have one.
“Mr. Brown, I’d like to introduce Ms. Ann Smith, who started yesterday in the mailroom. Ann, this
is Douglas Brown, our CEO.”
(Ann would be wise to call the CEO “Mr. Brown” right away and not assume she may call him by
his first name. Always use the last names of superiors and clients until you are invited to do
“Pete, I’d like to introduce to you Doug Brown, our CEO. Doug, I’d like you to meet, Pete
Johnson, who’s considering our firm for his ad campaign.”
Tip: Don’t say “I’d like to introduce you to..”, but rather “I’d like to introduce to you…”
Tip: Always stand for an introduction.
Social skills are important prerequisites to succeeding in business. Knowing how to shake hands
and handle introductions can set you apart from the competition, convey confidence and project a
professional image. Practice these simple skills and you will reap the benefits!
The Twenty Most Distracting Behaviors
Every Professional Should Avoid
Adopting distracting behaviors is easy and most people don’t even
realize what they are doing. Be aware of your actions.
• Interrupting repeatedly
• Dominating the conversation
• Inconsistent eye contact
• Standing too close, invading "personal space"
• Taking a cell phone call or even letting it ring
• Chewing anything, unless you're at a luncheon
• Arriving late
• Being longwinded
• Risky humor
• Wrinkled clothing
• Checking your watch frequently
• Not listening, missing key points
• Poor table manners
• Boasting (I call it "I" disease)
• Looking and sounding bored
• Complaining about anything
• Distracting noises, such as tapping on a table
• Notebook or briefcase needing replacement
• Power Point that won't work
• Cluttered office when someone visits you
Seven Body Language Killers
In many ways, listeners hear with their eyes. What is your body language saying
about you? When you give a presentation or run a sales meeting, are you
coming across as authoritative, confident and credible, or insecure, disreputable
and out of your league?
When it comes to body language, simply avoiding the most common mistakes
and replacing them with more confident movements will make a big difference.
Killer #1- Avoiding eye contact
What it says about you: You lack confidence; you are nervous and unprepared.
What to do instead: Spend 90% or more of your presentation time looking into
the eyes of your listeners. The vast majority of people spend far too much time
looking down at notes, PowerPoint slides or at the table in front of them. Not
surprisingly, most speakers can change this behavior instantly simply by
watching video of themselves. Powerful business leaders look at their listeners
directly in the eye when delivering their message.
During the recent confirmation hearings for U.S Chief Justice nominee John
Roberts, newspapers praised him for "looking self-assured." How did Roberts
project this image? Instead of reading his statements from notes, Roberts looked
his audience of Senators straight in the eye as he delivered his remarks.
Killer #2- Slouching
What it says about you: You are non-authoritative; you lack confidence.
What to do instead: When standing stationary, place feet at shoulder width and
lean slightly forward. Pull your shoulders slightly forward as well -- you'll appear
more masculine. Head and spine should be straight. Don't use a tabletop or
podium as an excuse to lean on it.
Killer #3- Fidgeting, rocking or swaying
What it says about you: You are nervous, unsure or unprepared.
What to do instead: Well, stop fidgeting. Fidgeting, rocking and swaying don't
serve any purpose. I recently worked with the top executive of computer
company who had to deliver the news of a product delay to a major investor. He
and his team actually had the event under control, and had learned valuable
lessons from the failure. But his body language suggested otherwise.
Killer #4- Standing in place
What it says about you: You are rigid, nervous, boring -- not engaging or
What to do instead: Walk. Move. Most men who come to me for presentation
coaching think they need to stand ridged in one place. What they don't realize is
that movement is not only acceptable, it's welcome. Some of the greatest
business speakers walk into the audience, and are constantly moving... but with
For example, a dynamic speaker will walk from one side of the room to another
to deliver their message. But if there's no one in a corner of the room, it doesn't
make sense to go there -- it's not moving with purpose. When I tape my clients
on video, I actually want to see that they move out of frame once in a while.
Otherwise, they appear too rigid.
Killer #5- Keeping hands in pocket
What it says about you: You are uninterested, uncommitted or nervous.
What to do instead: The solution here is too simple: Take your hands out of
your pocket. I've seen great business leaders who never once put both hands in
their pockets during a presentation. One hand is acceptable -- as long as the free
hand is gesturing.
Killer #6- Using phony gestures
What it says about you: You are over coached, unnatural or artificial.
What to do instead: Use gestures; just don't overdo it. Researchers have shown
that gestures reflect complex thought. Gestures leave listeners with the
perception of confidence, competence and control. But the minute you try to copy
a hand gesture, you risk looking contrived -- like a bad politician.
Killer #7- Jingling coins, tapping toes & other annoying movements
What it says about you: You are nervous, unpolished or insufficiently
concerned with details.
What to do instead: Use a video camera to tape yourself. Play it back with a
critical eye. Do you find annoying gestures that you weren't aware of? I once
watched an author who had written a book on leadership discuss his project. He
couldn't help but jingle all the coins in his pocket throughout the entire talk. He
didn't sell very many books that day, and he certainly didn't score points on the
Nervous energy will reflect itself in toe-tapping, touching your face or moving
your leg up and down. It's an easy fix once you catch yourself in the act!
Use your body as a positive communication tool!
How to Write a Handwritten Note
Only three or four sentences long, a thank you/hand written note is a
golden opportunity to make the sort of personal connection that builds
stronger professional relationships.
Hand write a note whenever possible. It says you took the time to think about
what you were writing. The person receiving your note will appreciate your
thoughtfulness and will not be grading your penmanship.
A simple fold-over note card, a black or blue pen, a stamp and little effort are
all you need. A good thank you/hand written note that gets mailed is better
than the perfect one that never gets written.
The six elements of a basic thank you note:
1. Salutation Dear Jay,
A surprising number of writers forget
this, but people like to see their own
If you are on a first-name basis, use
it, otherwise use the more formal Mr.
or Ms. greeting.
2. Express your appreciation Thanks so much for the the tickets to
Thank you is more formal; thanks is
3. Describe the gift or experience Al and I have always loved going to the
theater, especially when it's a comedy.
Mention how an object looks or how The performances were great, and we
you will use it. Mention your laughed until our sides ached. It was
enjoyment of an event. People want wonderful of you to think of us.
to know they made you happy.
Even if there was a problem with the
gift, keep negatives to yourself. If the
gift or event wasn’t to your taste,
focus on the giver and the thought.
Everyone wants to be appreciated.
The time and energy are more
important than the gift.
4. Mention a connection We hope to see you when you are in town
Discuss the past, allude to the future
or mention something you have in
common with the giver. If you can’t
think of anything else express your
desire to see or talk to the person
5. Thanks again for Thanks again for a wonderful evening.
It’s not overkill to say it again
6. Close Sincerely,
Any of the following are suitable for
• Sincerely yours
What to Say: Ideas for Business Greetings
Thank You: General
• With special thanks and much appreciation.
• Sincere thanks for your extra efforts.
• Your thoughtfulness is appreciated so much more than words can say.
• With sincere gratitude for all you have done.
• You’re the best!
• You made my day!
• It was a pleasure to work with you.
• Thank you for thinking of us.
• Many thanks for all you do.
Thank You: For Business/Order
• Thank you for your order. Continuing to serve you will be a pleasure.
• Your business is always appreciated.
• Thank you for choosing us.
• Thank you for your friendship, your business and the opportunity to serve you.
• Your business is sincerely appreciated. We look forward to continuing to serve
• Success is having you for a customer.
• We appreciate your business and your confidence in us.
• Thank you for your continued business. We look forward to working with you in
Thank You: For Referral
• Thank you for the referral. Your confidence and trust in us is sincerely
• Thank you for referring _______ to our firm. We sincerely appreciate your
confidence in us.
• Thanks for thinking of me. Your referral is very much appreciated.
• Thank you for the vote of confidence.
• Many thanks for referring _______ to me. I’ll make sure he/she gets VIP service.
Thank You: For Time/Conversation
• Thank you for taking the time to meet with me.
• It was a pleasure talking with you. I hope we can speak again soon.
• Thanks for your time. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to call me.
• Thank you for meeting with me. If you need anything, I’m only a phone call
• Thanks for squeezing me in. I know how busy you are.
• Many thanks for your inquiry. I’m sure we can meet your needs.
It is Your Birthday
• Wishing you a wonderful day.
• Sincere good wishes on your special day.
• Best wishes on your birthday for good health and happiness throughout the
• Warmest greetings on your birthday with every good wish for the coming year.
• With friendly thoughts and best wishes for your birthday.
• Sending you sincere wishes for good health and happiness on your birthday.
• All the best to you for a very special birthday.
• May you have an unforgettable day filled with happiness.
• Wishing you life’s best!
• May this day and every day be filled with joy.
• Wishing you every happiness today and always.
• Have a sensational day!
• May all of your dreams come true.
• Warm wishes on your birthday and always.
• Happy Anniversary! Thank you for being a part of our success now and in the
• Thanks for another great year!
• You’ve made our success possible. Thank you!
• Thanks from all of us for ______ years of your business. We look forward to
• Many thanks for being our customer for _______ years. We value that
• Your business is appreciated. Thank you for choosing us.
• A hearty welcome from all of us.
• Welcome aboard! It’s good to have you with us.
• A very warm welcome. We’re glad you joined us.
• We’re glad you’re here.
• A warm welcome. Thank you for choosing us!
• Welcome! We look forward to serving you.
• A warm welcome from all of us. Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.
• Congratulations on a job well done.
• Hoping the best things in life will always be yours.
• This is a day to remember.
• It’s great to see good things happen for someone so deserving.
• Congratulations on a well-deserved promotion.
• Congratulations on an outstanding accomplishment.
• Your achievement is an inspiration.
• Kudos to you! You’ve earned them.
• Just want to add my good wishes to those you’ve already received.
• Bravo! You’ve accomplished great things.
• With every good wish for your retirement. May this be the start of your best
• Congratulations on your retirement. Best wishes for a great future.
• Wishing you life's best today and always.
• Congratulations on achieving a milestone. Here's to a great future.
• Best wishes for today and every day in the future.
• Congratulations on your special day. May the future be filled with much
• May every day find you feeling better!
• Thinking of you. May you feel better soon.
• Our warmest thoughts are with you. Wishing you a speedy recovery.
• We’re sick without you. Get well soon.
• Hoping this finds you well on the way to recovery.
• Take care of yourself and feel better soon.
• You are in my thoughts. If there is anything I can do, please let me know.
• You are missed! Get well soon and hurry back.
• Please accept my/our deepest sympathy
• My/Our sympathy and thoughts are with you and your family.
• Offering my/our sincerest condolences to you and your family
• With concern and caring sympathy.
• May your sorrow be eased by good memories.
• With heartfelt sympathy. You are in my thoughts and prayers.
• Hoping these words of sympathy will comfort you in your time of sorrow.
• Words are inadequate at a time like this. Please accept my heartfelt sympathy.
Keeping in Touch
• Just a note to keep in touch. Let’s talk soon.
• Thinking of you—hope all is well. Let me know if I can help in any way.
• Sorry I missed you. Hope to talk with you soon.
• Just touching base with you.
• Sending this just to say hi.
How Does Your Office Welcome Clients?
A new client is coming to visit--and panic sets in. What will they think? Will they
have a favorable experience that encourages them to do business with you? Or
will they leave your facilities wondering how to contact your competition?
When customers visit, they form an impression of your business. That impression
becomes your image. Whether the visit involves a business transaction, a service
call or a corporate event--whether it's for only an hour or a full day--you need to
create positive impressions for everyone.
Here are some tips for receiving visitors graciously:
• Create a welcoming atmosphere
Have you trained your receptionist (or the first person your clients see) to smile
and greet every visitor who comes to the office? That first contact can affect
perceptions about the company. If this person is on the phone or occupied with
another customer, do they acknowledge the visitor with a glance or a smile? Or
do they ignore the visitor? Do customers have to hunt around for someone to
If you know ahead of time that the client is coming, make sure everyone knows
the name of the visitor. The receptionist should be prepared with a name badge
or a visitor's pass. Be sure every visitor is greeted in a friendly and helpful way.
• Set professional standards
A client visited a car dealership on a Saturday afternoon. The sales
representative who greeted her was dressed in a white tank top that exposed her
belly button; she also wore a pair of tight black jeans and black-and-white
sneakers. The client took one look at her and decided to go to another
Are your employees appropriately dressed? Do they always project a
professional image, even on business-casual days? Or are they dressed a little
too casually? Your employees represent the company; their appearance should
reflect that at all times. Think about how their appearance can enhance or detract
from your corporate image.
• Act as the host
When you receive visitors, you are the host. The way you greet them in your
office can affect the outcome of the meeting. So set the tone for a positive
Don't keep your visitors waiting. If the receptionist is escorting them to your
office, be sure to come out from behind your desk to greet them. Stand to shake
hands, and shake "web to web"--that is, grasp the other hand fully with your
hand-don't simply clasp the other person's fingers. Shake in the same manner
with men and women alike.
To create the best impression, personally greet the visitors in the waiting room.
Shake hands with your guests and escort them to your office, letting them follow
you. Upon arrival at your office, allow them to proceed first into the room, and
indicate where they should sit. Do not seat your guests directly across from your
desk; instead, place their chairs to the side of the desk.
Don't accept calls or interruptions during the meeting. When the meeting is over,
stand, shake hands once again and walk your guests back to the waiting room.
• Make the proper introductions
Introductions may seem like a trivial item in the grand scheme of business
interactions, but they are crucial to setting a professional tone in the office. If
clients are at your location for the entire day, make an effort to introduce them to
your senior executives. This simple gesture will help your guests to feel welcome.
As you escort a client through the office, you may run into company employees.
Be sure to make the proper introductions. When deciding who should be
introduced first, use the following order, regardless of gender: client, senior
executives, and junior executives. Provide information about each person you
introduce, so these people can start a conversation. For example: "Mr. Harris
(client), I would like you to meet Ms. Jones (company president). Mr. Harris is our
new client from Chicago; Ms. Jones is our company president." Show equal
respect and gracious behavior to everyone in your office. Your clients will notice
how you treat everyone.
• Be conscious of office courtesies
When escorting a client for a product demonstration or a company tour, use
proper office courtesies. One should never, for instance, discuss office gossip or
talk negatively about company employees in front of guests. I have sat in
reception areas and overheard employees talk about things and people that gave
me a very unflattering view of the company. The same should be applied to
employees that walk through the office talking on their cell phone. You never
know who may overhear a remark that should not be heard at all.
Know the appropriate way to handle entrances, exits, revolving doors and
elevators. As the host, when you get to a door, open it. This rule applies
regardless of gender. It is polite to hold the door for your guest to enter. At
revolving doors, the host enters the door first, leading the way for guests. As you
enter, you might want to say, "I'll wait for you on the other side." Then do so. If
there is more than one person with you, wait until everyone is through the
revolving door before you proceed.
When navigating stairs and escalators, the host leads the way, whether you are
going up or down. When using elevators, allow your guests to enter before you
do; upon exiting, leave the elevator first and hold the door for those following.
People at the front of the elevator should step off to make room when those in
the back need to exit. Hold the door, allow them to leave and step back into the
elevator. This is much nicer than cramming your body to the sidewall so that they
have room to leave.
Companies that want to stand out from their competition pay attention to making
visitors welcome. Manners make the difference. Greet your visitors graciously,
know what to do during their visit, be considerate of others and create positive
impressions that last and last.
Make a client visit to your company another selling opportunity and reaffirm that
your company deserves their business.
Sound as Good as You Look
Speaking with Ease
Every time you open your mouth and speak, your professionalism is on display.
What you say and how you say it is extremely important to your professional
What we say is not as important as how we make people feel.
Make certain your speech doesn’t detract from your professionalism by paying
attention to the following:
• Listen to the sound of your own voice. Keep it warm and inviting.
People with a higher than normal voice are thought to be less intelligent
than those with a lower voice. One way to improve the sound of your
voice is to read out loud to yourself every day for 5 or 10 minutes. Read
quality literature, the Bible, poetry, Shakespeare, the classics.
• Speak slowly, clearly and distinctly. Make it easy for the person you
are speaking with to hear and understand what it is you are saying.
• Eliminate the use of non-words. Non-words are meaningless fillers that
speckle our speech, distract from our message, drain our impact, and
annoy our listener. The most common non-words are “uhh,” “ahh,” and
“um.” They also include words such as “like,” “you know,” “well,” “so,”
“okay?” and “sort of.” The excessive use of non-words can undermine
your credibility and make you appear weak and ill-prepared.
• Always use proper grammar. Nothing detracts from your
professionalism faster than using the incorrect tense of a verb or an
• Avoid using slang such as “hi guys,” “how ya doin,” or casual phrases
like whatever” while rolling your eyes.
NEVER refer to a group of people as “You guys.”
• Avoid poor diction. Often people don’t realize they are using poor
diction because it becomes a verbal habit.
Be An Interesting Person
Selected Shorts –
Each week on National Public Radio, great actors from stage, screen and
television bring short stories to life. Selected Shorts is an award-winning, one-
hour program featuring readings of classic and new short fiction, recorded live at
New York’s Symphony Space. One of the most popular series on the airwaves,
this unique show is hosted by Isaiah Sheffer and produced for radio by
Symphony Space and WNYC Radio.
see: http://www.wnyc.org/shows/shorts/ KCPW & KRCL radio stations
What you will learn: The power of a quality voice and the importance of using
your voice as a tool.
C-SPAN2 Booknotes –
48 hours of non-fiction book programming, all weekend, every weekend on C-
SPAN2. It includes book events related to History, Biography, Business, and also
Encore Booknotes programs. Book TV airs from Saturday at 8am ET through
Monday at 8am ET
Also the show: After Words. This Saturday, November 11 at 9:00 pm and
Sunday, November 12 at 6:00 pm and at 9:00 pm Book TV presents After Words:
Nicholas Lemann, author of "Redemption: The Last Battle of the Civil War"
interviewed by Herman Belz, a professor of history at the University of Maryland
The Elements of Style William Strunk Jr. & E. B. White
Global Business Etiquette: A Guide Jeanette S. Martin and Lillian H.
to International Communication Chaney
Primal Branding Patrick Hanlon
AllEtiquette.com – A Power Guide Fredrica Cere Kussin
First Impressions Ann Demarais, Ph.D
What You Don’t Know About How Others See You
The Art of The Table Suzanne Von Drachenfels
Verbal Advantage Charles Harrington Elster
Women’s Dress for Success John T. Malloy
Voice Power Renee Grant-Williams
Using Your Voice to Captivate, Persuade and Command Attention
The Networking Survival Guide Diane Darling
Social Intelligence Daniel Goleman
Poetry Speaks Narrated by Charles Osgood
The Hard Truth About Soft Skills Peggy Klaus
The New York Review of Books www.nybooks.com
Financial Times www.ft.com/home/uk
Syntax Training http://www.syntaxtraining.com/
Tools for Better Writing
Catalyst Organization http://www.catalyst.org
The Lifetime Reading Plan
1. Homer. The Iliad.
2. Homer. The Odyssey.
3. Herodotus. The Histories.
4. Thucydides. The History of the Peloponnesian War.
5. Plato. Selected Works.
6. Aristotle. Ethics; Politics.
7. Aeschylus. The Oresteia.
8. Sophocles. Oedipus Rex; Oedipus at Colonus; Antigone
9. Euripides. Alcestis; Medea; Hipploytus; Trojan Women; Electra; Bacchae.
10. Lucretius. Of the Nature of Things.
11. Virgil. The Aeneid.
12. Marcus Aurelius. Meditations.
The Middle Ages
13. Saint Augustine. Confessions.
14. Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy.
15. Geoffrey Chaucer. The Canterbury Tales.
16. William Shakespeare. Complete Works.
17. Molière. Selected Plays.
18. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Faust.
19. Henrik Ibsen. Selected Plays.
20. George Bernard Shaw. Selcted Plays and Prefaces.
21. Anton Chekhov. Uncle Vanya; Three Sisters; The Cherry Orchard.
22. Eugene O'Neill. Mourning Becomes Electra; The Iceman Cometh; Long
Day's Journey into Night.
23. Samuel Beckett. Waiting for Godot; Endgame; Krapp's Last Tape.
24. Contemporary Drama, edited by E. Bradlee Watson and Benfield Pressey.
25. John Bunyan. Pilgrim's Progress.
26. Daniel Defoe. Robinson Crusoe.
27. Jonathan Swift. Gulliver's Travels; A Modest Proposal; Meditations upon a
Broomstick; Resolutions when I Come to be Old.
28. Laurence Sterne. Tristram Shandy.
29. Henry Fielding. Tom Jones.
30. Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice; Emma.
31. Emily Brontë. Wuthering Heights.
32. William Makepeace Thackeray. Vanity Fair.
33. Charles Dickens. Pickwick Papers; David Copperfield; Bleak House; Great
Expectations; Hard Times; Our Mutual Friend; Little Dorrit.
34. George Eliot. The Mill on the Floss; Middlemarch.
35. Lewis Carroll. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; Through the Looking-
36. Thomas Hardy. The Mayor of Casterbridge.
37. Joseph Conrad. Nostromo.
38. E. M. Forster. A Passage to India.
39. James Joyce. Ulysses.
40. Virginia Woolf. Mrs. Dalloway; To the Lighthouse; Orlando; The Waves.
41. D. H. Lawrence. Sons and Lovers; Women in Love.
42. Aldous Huxley. Brave New World; Collected Essays.
43. George Orwell. Animal Farm; Nineteen Eighty-Four.
44. Thomas Mann. The Magic Mountain.
45. Franz Kafka. The Trial; The Castle; Selected Short Stories.
46. François Rabelais. Gargantua and Pantagruel.
47. Voltaire. Candide and Other Works.
48. Stendhal. The Red and the Black.
49. Honoré de Balzac. Père Goriot; Eugénie Grandet.
50. Gustave Flaubert. Madame Bovary.
51. Marcel Proust. Remembrance of Things Past.
52. André Malraux. Man's Fate.
53. Albert Camus. The Plague; The Stranger.
54. Edgar Allan Poe. Short Stories and Other Works.
55. Nathaniel Hawthorne. The Scarlet Letter; Selcted Tales.
56. Herman Melville. Moby Dick; Bartleby the Scrivener.
57. Mark Twain. Huckleberry Finn.
58. Henry James. The Ambassadors.
59. William Faulkner. The Sound and the Fury; As I Lay Dying.
60. Ernest Hemingway. Short Stories.
61. Saul Bellow. The Adventures of Augie March; Herzog; Humboldt's Gift.
62. Miguel de Cervantes de Saavedra. Don Quixote.
63. Jorge Luis Borges. Labyrinths Dreamtigers.
64. Gabriel Garcia Márquez. One Hundred Years of Solitude.
65. Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol. Dead Souls.
66. Ivan Sergeyevich Turgenev. Fathers and Sons.
67. Feodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky. Crime and Punishment; The Brothers
68. Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy. War and Peace.
69. Vladimir Nabokov. Lolita; Pale Fire; Speak, Memory.
70. Aleksandr Isayevich Solzhenitsyn. The First Circle; Cancer Ward.
Philosophy, Psychology, Politics, Essays
71. Thomas Hobbes. Leviathan.
72. John Locke. Second Treatise of Government.
73. David Hume. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding.
74. John Stuart Mill. On Liberty.
75. Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The Communist Manifesto.
76. Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. Thus Spake Zarathustra; Selected Other
77. Sigmund Freud. Selected Works.
78. Niccolò Macchiavelli. The Prince.
79. Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. Selected Essays.
80. René Descartes. Discourse on Method.
81. Blaise Pascal. Thoughts (Pensées).
82. Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America.
83. Ralph Waldo Emerson. Selected Works.
84. Henry David Thoreau. Walden; Civil Disobedience.
85. William James. The Principles of Psychology; Pragmatism and Four
Essays from The Meaning of Truth; The Varieties of Religious Experience.
86. John Dewey. Human Nature and Conduct.
87. George Santayana. Skepticism and Animal Faith; Selected Other Works.
88. John Donne. Selected Works.
89. John Milton. Paradise Lost; Lycidas; On the Morning of Christ's Nativity;
90. William Blake. Selected Works.
91. William Wordsworth. The Prelude; Selected Shorter Poems; Preface to
the Lyrical Ballads, 1800.
92. Samuel Taylor Coleridge. The Ancient Mariner; Christabel; Kubla Khan;
Biographia Literaria; Writings on Shakespeare.
93. William Butler Yeats. Collected Poems; Collected Plays; The
94. T. S. Eliot. Collected Poems, Collected Plays.
95. Walt Whitman. Selected Poems; Democratic Vistas; Preface to the first
issue of Leaves of Grass (1855); A Backward Glance O'er Travel'd Roads.
96. Robert Frost. Collected Poems.
97. Poets of the English Language, edited by W.H. Auden and Norman
98. The Norton Anthology of Modern Poetry, edited by Richard Ellmann and
History, Biography, Autobiography
99. Basic Documents in American History, edited by Richard B. Morris; The
Federalist Papers, edited by Clinton Rossiter.
100.Jean Jacques Rousseau. Confessions.
101.James Boswell. The Life of Samuel Johnson.
102.Henry Adams. The Education of Henry Adams.
103.Fernand Braudel. The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the
Age of Philip II; Civilization and Capitalism, 15th-18th Century.
I. William H. McNeill. The Rise of the West; Will and Ariel Durant. The Story
II. Samuel Eliot Morison. The Oxford History of the American People;Page
Smith. A People's History of the United States.
III. Alfred North Whitehead. Science and the Modern World.
IV. Alfred North Whitehead. An Introduction to Mathematics.
V. E. H. Gombrich. The Story of Art.
VI. Mortimer J. Adler and Charles Van Doren. How to Read a Book
In his new book Social Intelligence, Daniel Goleman wrote “Listening poorly is
the common cold of social intelligence. And it is being made worse by
technology. To have a human moment, you need to be fully present. You
have to be away from your laptop, put down your BlackBerry, you end your
daydream and you pay full attention to the person you are with. It may sound
rudimentary but think about how often we just keep multitasking and half pay
attention. We each need to live in the moment fully engaged in what we are
The use of etiquette or true professionalism is exactly that
– being fully present!
SIX KEYS TO STRONG EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Self-awareness, self-control and empathy form the foundation of strong
emotional intelligence, followed by social expertness, personal
influence and mastery of vision.
• Self-awareness. Knowing what influences our feelings, positively or negatively,
is critical. It’s very important to realize what kinds of situations can put us over
the edge before we get there.
• Self-control. Once we know our “triggers,” we can implement coping
mechanisms. For instance, just knowing that getting cut off on the highway
produces intense feelings of rage (self-awareness), we can decide to cope better
while driving by listening to soothing music or a recorded
• Empathy. We must cultivate the ability to look at a situation from another’s
perspective. In our driving example, consider that the driver who cut you off might
have been someone helping an expectant
mother get to the hospital.
• Social expertness. The ability to build relationships requires empathy,
excellent communication skills, and the ability to listen well.
• Personal influence. All leaders are, by definition, required to influence and
persuade others to follow them. This is impossible to do without the qualities
• Mastery of vision. A mission statement of sorts outlines intentions and values.
Cell Phones - The Worst Offenses
On the topic of wireless "faux pas," respondents in the Yahoo! HotJobs survey ranked
these five unacceptable behaviors, from most reprehensible to least.
1. Accepting a personal call while in a meeting or presentation
2. Answering the phone or emails while at a business dinner
3. Talking on the phone while in the bathroom
4. Talking on the phone while in close quarters (such as a train, plane, or bus)
5. Answering a work call or email during personal time after work hours
The Top Eight Rules of Proper Cell Phone Etiquette at Work
A recent study showed that at least 40% of U.S. companies now have a
published cell phone usage policy at work. That percentage will most certainly
rise in the near future. It might be more difficult for the employees of the majority
of firms that have yet to adopt an acceptable use policy. To avoid suffering a
career detour from unacceptable cell phone use in your office, consider the
following generally accepted rules of good cell phone behavior.
1. Turn your ringer OFF or set to “vibrate”. Unless your cell phone is a
company-issued handset for business use, set your unit to vibrate while at
your desk. Even if you’ve selected a tasteful ring tone, repetitive incoming
calls will be noticed (negatively) by co-workers and management.
2. Let “bread and milk” and other unimportant calls go to voicemail.
While it’s wonderful to have a live connection to the important people in
your life, children, parents, other family and friends, frequent chatty calls
during your workday will often reflect negatively on your perceived
concentration on your duties.
3. When you must use your cell phone, find a private, quiet place to
make your calls. Regardless of where you are, most etiquette advisors
agree you should always observe the “ten-foot rule”. Maintain a buffer
zone of at least ten feet from others while you’re using your cell phone.
While at work, you should make every attempt to expand basic etiquette
and find locations that do not infringe on co-workers trying to perform their
4. Don’t bring your cell phone to meetings. Neglecting this one rule can
do career damage even when you adhere to most of the other
recommendations. Some etiquette gurus recommend that, should an
important call be expected, either for business or a family emergency, you
could put your cell phone on “vibrate” and bring it with you. Treat this
exception with extreme caution, however. Regardless of the urgency of
the expected call, your boss will most certainly take a very dim view of a
meeting interruption because of your cell phone. It is a far better idea to
leave your cell phone at your desk to avoid any “interruption temptation”.
5. Never use your cell phone in restrooms. This rule may, at first, appear
frivolous, but the statistics indicate it is an important component of cell
phone etiquette. Why? You often do not know who else may be using the
facilities. Should you communicate private information or sensitive work
issues, you may easily be overheard without your knowledge. There are
some well-documented horror stories of information delivered into the
wrong hands by this simple, innocuous rule violation.
6. Eliminating embarrassing ring tones. Should you have a psychological
need to use a cutesy or outrageous ring tone while away from your job, be
very careful when you are at work. Either keep your cell phone on vibrate
at all times at work or change to a more professional ring tone during your
work day. Along with annoying both co-workers and supervisors, a silly
ring tone can negatively impact your career by displaying a less than
professional, serious image to management.
7. Maintain a low voice during cell phone conversations. Often called
“holding court”, having loud conversations about nothing, a loud voice can
be extremely annoying to anyone within earshot. Often, the ten-foot rule
becomes useless during one of these situations. Unless you are in the
middle of a loud construction site, you should understand that cell phone
microphones are very sensitive and only inches away from your mouth.
There is normally no need to increase your voice to levels used by
seminar leaders talking without microphones.
8. Use text messages instead of voice calls to maintain
professionalism. If you need to communicate on a personal level and
understand that voice calls would be inappropriate, send a text message
to your caller. It’s quiet, fast, and to the point. Unless you’re trying to set a
world’s record for the largest thumbs on the planet, a few text messages
during the workday keeps your lines of communications open without
wasting your time or annoying co-workers.
Try to remember that, through most of recorded history, the world of business
operated quite effectively without constant cell phone use. The basic substance
of successful business operations contains no requirement that cell phones
contribute mightily to your company’s bottom line. Be ready for a formal company
policy regarding cell phone use at work. More and more firms, many reaching
unacceptable levels of frustration, will be joining those who have already
published regulations and publishing restrictive policies.
By following the current rules of good cell phone etiquette, you’ll not only be
ahead of the curve, you may enhance your professional standing at work by
displaying this considerate behavior. Some of your cell phone etiquette may even
be transferred to your friends who might be in need of some guidelines, too.
Professional e-mail Etiquette Guidelines
"There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are
evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how
we say it." - Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) American Educator
When it comes to your business e-mail communications, you need to make an
impression that can lend to the determination that you are a credible professional
enterprise and someone that will be easy and a pleasure to do business with. You only
have one chance to make that first impression which will be invaluable to building trust
Top 10 Business Email Etiquette issues that need to be considered with every
commercial e-mail sent.
SUBJECT The window into your e-mail and can determine if your e-mail will be
Level of Formality Try to avoid the prevailing assumption that e-mail by its very nature
allows you to be informal in your business e-mail.
Addressing How do you address your new contacts?
TO, From, These fields can make or break you:
TO Type the contacts name formally-John B. Doe - not john b doe or JOHN
FROM Make sure you have your full name formally typed
BCC Use this field when e-mailing a group of contacts who do not personally
know each other
CC Use this field when there are a handful of associates involved
in a discussion that requires all be on the same page
Formatting Refrain from using any formatting in your day-to-day business e-mail
Attachments If you need to send a large size file business courtesy dictates you ask
the recipient first if it is O.K.
Using Previous Always start a new e-mail and add your contacts to your address book.
Correspondence Don’t give the perception that you are lazy
Down Edit Do not just hit reply and start typing. Use common courtesy
Be careful with signatures
There you have it! The above Top 10 items will certainly allow your business
communications to rise above the majority who do not take the time to
understand and master these issues. When forging new business relationships
and solidifying established partnerships, the level of professionalism and
courtesy you relay in your business e-mail communications will always gain
clients over the competition that may be anemic, uninformed or just plain lazy in
When it comes to business, regardless of mode of communication used,
professionalism and courtesy never go out of style!
Business email etiquette speaks volumes about the sender and the
company where the message was originated.
Keep your professional image at all times following these simple
rules. They are not hard and all the benefits will be yours.
Top 10 List of SMS Etiquette
Text messaging is one of the simplest and most useful means of mobile
communication. No one can doubt the popularity of text messaging and short
messaging service (SMS) in particular - more than 50 billion SMS messages
were sent across the world's GSM networks in the first quarter of 2005, a fivefold
increase over the previous year - and there's no slowdown in sight.
1. Common courtesy still rules. Contrary to popular belief, composing an
SMS while you're in a face-to-face conversation with someone is just
about as rude as taking a voice call.
2. Remember that SMS is informal. SMS shouldn't be used for formal
invitations or to dump your girlfriend or boyfriend. The casualness of SMS
diminishes the strength and meaning of the message.
3. Don't get upset if you don't get a reply. Before you text someone and get
frustrated at the lack of a response, be sure that they're familiar with how
to use the service, and that their carrier will accept messages from yours.
4. Be aware of your tone. It is extremely difficult to discern tone in text
messages, just as in e-mail. What seems to you to be a completely
innocuous message may be grossly misinterpreted by the recipient,
causing certain discomfort if not irreparable harm.
5. Don't SMS while you're driving. Talking on the phone is bad enough. You
won't know what hit you - or what you hit - if you are pounding out a
message on your keyboard.
6. Leave the slang to the kids. Don't expect your stodgy superiors at work to
be hip to the lingo of the SMS streets. And don't expect to win points with
your kids by trying to be cool, either.
7. Remember that SMS can be traced. Anonymous messages - if you must
send them -are still best sent from Web sites.
8. Be conscientious of others' schedules. Don't assume that because you are
awake, working, not busy, or sober that the person you're texting is as
well. Many a pleasant slumber have been interrupted by recurring "beep-
beep...beep-beeps" of messages.
9. If it's immediate, make a voice call. If you can't get through and your text
message is ignored, there's probably a good reason. There are still some
times when people don't even have a thumb free to respond.
10. Remember that your phone does have an off button. There are very, very
few things in the world that absolutely cannot wait.
General Dining Etiquette
It is important to know how to conduct oneself properly at the table. The rules of
dining etiquette are fairly straightforward and mostly require common sense.
Table Setting. It can be very confusing to be presented with a variety of eating
utensils. (See below) Remember the guideline “to start at the outside and work
your way in.” If you have been given two forks, which are the same size, begin
with the fork on the outside. Many restaurants use the same size of fork for both
the salad and main course.
Napkin. When dining with others place your napkin on your lap after everyone at
your table has been seated. Do not open your napkin in mid-air. As you remove
your napkin from the table begin to open below the table level and place on your
lap. If you must leave a meal, do so between courses, and place your napkin on
your chair or to the left of your plate. When a meal is completed, place your
napkin to the right of your plate – never on the plate.
Served. Wait for everyone at your table to be served before beginning to eat.
However, if an individual who has not been served encourages you to begin
eating, you may do so. Eat slowly while waiting for their food to be served.
Soup. When eating soup, think of making a circle: spoon away from you, bring
around to your mouth and back to the bowl. Soup is taken from the side of the
soup spoon –it is not inserted into your mouth. Do not slurp or make noises when
Sorbet. This item is often served between courses to cleanse the palate. It is a
light, sherbet texture and depending on when served may be eaten with a fork or
Utensils. Be careful how you hold your utensils. Many people tend to make a fist
around the handle of the utensil – this is the way a young child would grasp a
utensil (not an adult). There are two acceptable ways to use the knife and fork:
continental fashion and American standard. Continental fashion—the diner cuts
the food usually one bite at a time and uses the fork in the left hand, tines
pointing down, to spear the food and bring it to the mouth. American standard—a
few bites are cut, the knife is laid across the top of the plate, sharp edge toward
you, and the fork is switched to the right hand, if right-handed, tines up to bring
the food to the mouth. (Do not cut more than two or three bites at a time.)
Dessert Utensils. Dessert utensils may be found placed across the top of the
place setting. Place these utensils down for use after the main course is removed
(fork to the left and spoon to the right).
Passing. Pass “community food” such as the breadbasket, salt and pepper, and
salad dressing to the right. Always pass the salt and pepper together. When
passing items such as a creamer, syrup pitcher or gravy boat, pass it with the
handle pointing toward the recipient.
Seasoning. Always taste your food first before using any seasonings. Do not
assume it needs to be seasoned.
Sweeteners. Do not be excessive with sugar or sweetener packets. The rule of
thumb is no more than two packets per meal. Do not crumble the packets but
partially tear off a corner, empty the contents and place to the side.
Bread. Bread/rolls should never be eaten whole. Break into smaller, more
manageable pieces, buttering only one bite at a time. Toast and garlic bread
however may be eaten as whole pieces since they are usually already buttered.
If you are served a piping hot muffin or biscuit, you may break in half crosswise,
butter and put back together. However when ready to actually eat, break it into
Glasses. A variety of types and sizes of glasses can be used throughout the
meal. Remember your items to drink will be located in the area above your knife
and spoon. Coffee cups may be located to the right of the knife and spoon.
Alcohol. Alcohol, if consumed, should be in moderation. In most cases you may
have a drink during the social hour and wine(s) with the dinner. You do not have
to finish your drink. In fact slowly sipping is recommended. If you do not want an
alcoholic drink politely decline.
Buffets. Buffets provide an opportunity to select items you enjoy. Do not
overload your plate. Select a balanced variety of food items.
Pre-Set Meals. With a pre-set meal the host/hostess has already made the
selections and the individuals are served. If allergic, religious or vegetarian
issues arise, quietly deal with these as the server is at your side. For vegetarian
ask if you may have a vegetable plate; with allergies or religion provide the
server with some options (ex. Allergic to shellfish—ask if they have cod or
flounder and be ready with your preference). This lets the server know what you
can eat. Always eat a little of all items served to you.
Ordering from Menu. As the guest select an item that is in the mid-price range,
easy to eat and you will enjoy. Consider asking your host/hostess for a
recommendation before making your decision. As the host it is helpful to take the
lead in ordering appetizers and wine, if these are to be served.
Finished. When finished with a course, leave your plates in the same position
that they were presented to you. In other words, do not push your plates away or
Guest. If you are someone’s guest at a meal, ask the person what he/she
recommends. By doing this, you will learn price range guidelines and have an
idea of what to order. Usually order an item in the mid price range. Also keep in
mind, the person who typically initiates the meal will pay. Remember to thank
them for the meal.
Restaurant Staff. Wait staff, servers, Maitre d’, etc. are your allies. They can
assist you with whatever problem may arise. Quietly get their attention and speak
to them about the issue.
12 Common Dining Mistakes
Today more business is done while dining than ever before. Sales can be lost and careers short-
circuited when poor table manners are displayed. Remember, your table manners are a gift you
give those with whom you dine. They also indicate whether or not you know how to show respect
for others. The following are the most common mistakes noted while dining.
1. Misusing silverware
Gripping the fork and knife incorrectly is the most obvious and common faux pas. Knives
are meant to cut, not saw. The fork and knife should never teeter half off the plate onto
the table. Don't wave your silverware in the air while talking. Silverware placed at the top
of the plate is for dessert. Place only the silverware that you have used on the plate when
2. Using the wrong butter plate
There's a simple rule to remember: liquids to the right, solids to the left. Your butter plate
will be near your fork, not your knife.
3. Buttering an entire roll
Bread and rolls are meant to be torn, not cut. A large roll would be torn in half first, then a
smaller piece can be torn off, buttered and eaten. Toast is the exception. The entire piece
can be buttered at once.
4. Improper use of the napkin
The napkin comes off the table only after everyone is seated. It is used to dab the lips,
not scrub the face. If leaving the table temporarily mid-meal, place the napkin on your
chair. At the end of the meal, place it on the table next to your plate, never on the plate,
5. Eating too fast or too slow
Pacing is important when dining with others. Slow down if you notice you're faster than
everyone else. Speed up or leave some food if you're a slow eater. You should never
leave your guest to dine alone, which happens if you're finished way ahead of your guest.
6. Showing food in mouth
This happens when you've taken too big of a bite and then chew with your mouth open,
or continue to talk. This is very unappetizing for others to observe. Small bites are
necessary when trying to converse while eating.
7. Seasoning food before tasting
Without tasting your food, how would you know it really needs seasoning? This can be
seen as an insult to the chef and host. It also can indicate that you jump to conclusions.
8. Washing food down with liquids
The mouth should be cleared of food before beverages are sipped. It's a good habit to
get into, especially with wine. Wine is meant to cleanse the palate and its taste can't fully
be appreciated with food still in the mouth.
9. Passing food incorrectly
The salt is always passed with the pepper. Anything with a handle, such as the creamer,
is passed so the handle is facing the person receiving the item. This is why the correct
way to pass food the first time around is to the right=counterclockwise.
10. Leaving lipstick marks
Lipstick should be well blotted so not to leave marks on cups and glasses. It's a real
11. Grooming at the table
This is another turnoff. Don't touch your hair or apply makeup while at the table. And
certainly don't pick your teeth at the table. Excuse yourself from the table to remove
something from your teeth...or to apply makeup.
12. Poor posture
Sit up straight, don't lean on your elbows or forearms, don't rock in your chair, and keep
your elbows close to your side.
When You are the Host
Doing business over meals is a ritual that has existed for centuries. Taking
clients to breakfast, lunch or dinner has long been an effective way to build
relationships, make the sale or seal the deal. These business meals are
essentially business meetings. Knowledge of your product or your service is
crucial to the success of the meeting, but so are your manners. Too many people
jeopardize an opportunity because they fail to use good dining etiquette. Here
are a few basic rules to make the experience pleasurable and profitable:
• Know your duties as the host. You are in charge. It is up to you to see that
things go well and that your guests are comfortable. You need to attend to every
detail, from extending the invitation to paying the bill.
• Plan ahead when you issue the invitation. Allow a week for a business
dinner and three days for lunch. Be certain that the date works for you. That
might sound obvious, but if you have to cancel or postpone, you can look
disorganized and disrespectful of your client's time.
• Select a restaurant that you know, preferably one where you are known. This
is no time to try out the latest hot spot. Being confident of the quality of the food
and service leaves you free to focus on business.
• Consider the atmosphere. Does it lend itself to conversation and discussion?
If you and your clients cannot hear each other over the roar of the diners and
dishes, you will have wasted your time and money.
• Let the staff know that you will be dining with clients. If your guests suggest
a restaurant new to you, call ahead and speak with the maître d'. Make it clear
that you will be having a business meal and picking up the check.
• Arrive early. This is the perfect time to give your credit card to the maître d’,
and avoid the awkwardness that can accompany the arrival of the bill.
• Take charge of seating. Your guests should have the prime seats—the ones
with the view. As the host, take the least desirable spot—the one facing the wall,
the kitchen or the restrooms.
• Allow your guests to order first. However, you might suggest certain dishes
to be helpful. By recommending specific items, you are indicating a price range.
Order as many courses as your guests, no more and no less, to facilitate the flow
of the meal. It is awkward if one of you orders an appetizer or dessert and the
others do not
• As the host, you are the one who decides when to start discussing
business. That will depend on a number of factors such as the time of day and
how well you know your clients. At breakfast, time is short, so get down to
business quickly. At lunch, wait until you have ordered so you will not be
interrupted. Dinner, which tends to be the most social meal, is a time for building
rapport. Limit the business talk, and do it after the main course is completed.
• When you know your clients well, you have more of a basis for small talk.
However, because you have established a business friendship, you can eliminate
some of the chitchat when time is an issue. When you don't know your clients
well, spend more time getting acquainted before launching your shoptalk.
• Handle ANY disasters with grace. With all your attention to detail, things can
still go wrong. The food may not be up to your standards, the waiter might be
rude or the people at the next table boisterous and out of control. Whatever
happens, be part of the solution not the problem. Excuse yourself to discuss any
problems with the staff.
• Limit the alcohol you drink. The three-martini lunch is mostly a thing of the
past. However, cocktails and wine are still part of the business dinner. Since
alcohol can have the same effect as truth serum, keep your consumption to one
or two glasses. When guests are drinking liberally and you sense trouble, excuse
yourself and discreetly ask the server to hold back on refilling the wine glasses or
offering another cocktail.
Your conduct throughout the meal will determine professional success. If you pay
attention to the details and make every effort to see that your clients have a
pleasant experience, they will assume that you will handle their business the
same way. You are laying a foundation for a solid, powerful business relationship
by paying attention to details.
When You are the Guest
The business meal has become standard operating procedure in business. Over
half of all business is finalized at some type of a meal and job interviews often
include a meal as part of the interview process. Many times we are put on the
spot and our behavior and manners are on display. Knowing what it takes to be
someone’s guest at a business meal is as important as being the host. The
following guidelines will help you make a positive impression when you are the
• Confirm the day and time if the invitation was made more than a week in
• Arrive on time. Call ahead if you will be more than five minutes late. If
you cannot reach your host directly, call the restaurant and leave a
message with the maitre d’.
• Follow your host’s lead in ordering beverages.
• Order an entrée from the menu in the average price range. Ask for
suggestions from the host. Don’t order the most expensive item on the
• Do everything in moderation. It is not your last meal, so don’t stuff
yourself. If you are on an interview, don’t drink alcohol. Otherwise, if the
occasion calls for a drink, never over do it.
• Do not complain about the service or the meal. Remember that your host
is paying for the meal and you should behave graciously,
• Set a comfortable atmosphere and ask questions to encourage
• If you must cancel, call personally, apologize and suggest a rescheduling.
• Thank your host for the meal and their time. Send a thank you note to
your host. It takes a short time but makes a big impression
The Power of Professional Presence
• In the business environment, you plan every
move with potential clients.
• You arrange for the appointment, you prepare
for the meeting, you rehearse for the
presentation, you prepare as a host for dining
with clients, but in spite of your best efforts,
potential clients pop up in the most
unexpected places. Leave nothing to chance.
Every time you walk out of your office, be
ready to make a powerful first impression…it
is the best selling technique.
The 5 Ps of Professional Success