7 Professional Etiquette Tips You\'ve Probably Never Heard Before

It\'s no secret that personal branding is becoming essential to succeed in the corporate world, and one of the best ways to create a positive personal brand is to practice great professional etiquette.

I recently attended a talk given by one of the etiquette coaches for JP Morgan Chase and was inspired by some of the counter-intuitive social rules he shared, so I embarked on a search for other possible faux pas most people commit every day without realizing it.

Here are some of the most obscure American professional etiquette tips I could find that Millennials can use to impress their co-workers, or maybe even their bosses.

After You?

Men are accustomed to opening doors for women, so it\'s no wonder the most confusing etiquette rule has to do with revolving doors.

Rule #1 – If you can\'t open it, she doesn\'t go first. In a formal business setting, women are wearing heels and will have more difficulty pushing a heavy revolving door. With revolving doors, it\'s polite for the men to go first and allow the women to "glide" through the door behind them. Chivalrous too.

Drink Classy, Drive Classy

When it comes to client dinners, it\'s always best to identify all your dishes and utensils lest you drink out of someone else\'s glass. An easy way to remember how to dine with class is keeping BMW in mind.

Rule #2 – Not just a luxury car brand, BMW also stands for "Bread, Meal, Water/Wine." Looking down, Bread is on your left, Meal plate in the middle, and Water and Wine glasses on your right.

No Wining

Rule #3 – The wine ritual is silly at best, but still must be exercised when entertaining clients. In case you need a refresher…

The client always chooses the wine and you order it no matter what. The wine guy brings you a glass and pours you a few sips, which you happily drink. No matter how it tastes, you never send the wine back. You then drink one and only one glass over dinner, no matter how thirsty that plant next to your seat looks.

Business Cards Are Meant To Be Admired

When you want someone\'s business card, it is best to offer yours first, rather than ask them for theirs.

Rule #4 -Business cards are exchanged, not given. Upon receiving a business card, you should take a second to admire it and compliment the design. If that person has one of those dull corporate cards with no pictures on it, pick one thing to make a comment on instead. Example: "Oh, you work on Upper Wacker… I recently had dinner at a great restaurant in that area." But only say that if you actually did, or you\'ll be embarrassed when they ask a follow-up question.

Where\'s the Keg?

Ladies – though we are in the 21st century, it is still unfeminine to carry a beer around at a professional event with food and drinks.

Rule #5 – Just like accessorizing, a woman must drink appropriately for her age. If you insist on that cool, refreshing taste you learned to love in college, order a Light and ask the bartender to pour it in a wine glass for you. No one will be the wiser, as long as that once-charming belching habit you perfected at frat parties doesn\'t showcase during the event.

Last In, First Out

Rule #6 – When traveling with executives from your department, always let the person with the most seniority get in the taxi last. Because he or she is the busiest and most important, he should get out first when arriving at the destination.

The Elevator Shuffle

If you live or work in a building with a busy elevator, you have certainly taken part in the elevator shuffle, that awkward dance everyone performs at each level to let people on and off.

Rule #7 – The elevator shuffle has steps just like any other dance. Follow them or be accused of having two left feet:

  1. Always let other passengers off before boarding. This requires you to stand about 3 feet away from the door as it opens, and preferably not directly in front of it.
  2. The person closest to the door enters first. "Ladies first" does not apply and tends to delay the process. Men, if this makes you uncomfortable, stand further back than the ladies while waiting.
  3. If you are one of the first in the elevator, choose your floor quickly and move to the back of the elevator to let more people board. Don\'t be a button hog. If you board and can\'t reach the buttons, politely ask the person closest to choose your floor for you.
  4. Don\'t worry about order. Within three floor stops everyone will be where they need to be. If you are getting off at one of the lower floors and there are people in front of you, politely say "excuse me." It is always appropriate to get off the elevator to let someone out, then re-board.
  5. No talking in the elevator. I guarantee your elevator partners would agree your conversation can wait until you reach your floor. Besides, the elevator music is meant to be enjoyed, not talked over.
  6. A full elevator is a full elevator. Know when to wait for the next one to come around.

What do you think of these professional etiquette tips? Are there any other tips you have come across that are not as well-known? Please share in the comments section!

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