Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Refresher Course in Etiquette (Hosts & Guests)

Does the thought of a business lunch terrify you—even just a little bit? Do you have visions of making an etiquette faux pas at your biggest client’s dinner function? Does the well-set table look more like a minefield than a relationship-building arena?

Take a deep breath, relax, and listen up. It may be a new world out there with vastly changed rules for doing business, but when it comes to table etiquette, old-fashioned manners and common sense still rule. For the other sticky questions, there is PJ McGuire, founder of Modet, a Chicago-based consulting company specializing in modern business etiquette and protocols, social interaction skills and executive coaching.

From her perspective, good etiquette can help create a positive impression on clients and colleagues while poor etiquette can harm your image, lead to embarrassing situations and even scupper a business deal. “Etiquette is part of your professional presence and can reflect how you want to be perceived,” she says. For those who need to brush up—and frankly, who doesn’t?—here are her top suggestions.