Corporate etiquette is sometimes called business etiquette and it is a set of ordinarily agreed upon rules for behaving in the business environment. Essentially, it focuses on manners for the corporation and for its individual players. It has to do with the way an individual interacts with customers and other businesses. When etiquette is observed, the corporation has the opportunity to present a seamless, mannered front to the rest of the world, which can increase the respect the world gives it, resulting in a potentially more profitable corporation.
Some of the subjects that corporate etiquette might address include the polite way to interact with others. Specific behaviors and manners attached to the way people speak in person or on the phone may change how others perceive a corporation. Written communications are equally important and anything from an email to a formal letter may be governed by certain rules, according to etiquette specialists.
Interaction isn’t only limited to verbal or written communication. Many groups that specialize in teaching the rules of businesss etiquette also teach proper manners for dining with clients or other businesses. People may not know these rules automatically and benefit from instruction in table manners and appropriate dining conversation.
Other topics are often taught in corporate etiquette classes or in books. This could include how to show sensitivity to cultural differences and how to place people of other cultures at their ease, since many businesses operate on a multinational level. Some etiquette rules might suggest ways to begin and end conversations, how to introduce guests, or how to dress for the corporate world and for any more formal occasions.
One thing that books or classes don’t always cover is individual rules or protocols that apply to a specific company. These rules may fall under the idea of applied ethics, where behavior is based on a certain moral code the company has expressed. For instance, one need in corporate etiquette would be to determine if or how to accept gifts from clients or associates, and whether accepting such gifts could be a conflict of interest. Etiquette would then have to determine how to politely refuse a gift or how to accept it and what steps are then necessary, such as writing a thank you note. Since these rules can vary slightly, they usually need to be individualized.
As mentioned, there are number of places to learn this form of etiquette. Many professionals will work with either individuals or businesses to help produce a more mannered workforce, and this might be done at a seminar level or on a private basis. Etiquette trainers could also assess present levels of etiquette displayed at a workplace and make recommendations on change or improvements that could confer a greater sense of professionalism. While people might start with a few books on the subject, sometimes hiring an etiquette specialist is an excellent idea if much transformation needs to be made, or alternately a business can send one or two people to an etiquette specialist, expecting them to come back and teach what they’ve learned to others.