pay-attentionEducation isn’t just theory. It goes beyond knowing how to read and write. The mark of true literacy is observed when our actions speak louder than words.

As professionals at work and relating with others both within and outside our geographical locations, there are certain behaviors expected of us and when we fall short, our professionalism can be questioned.

A young man walked into the office the other day with a very creative business card that would, honestly, spark your interest. It was in the shape of a bird, or a boat, or a pie…not sure… and stylishly cut-out at the top. If you are all about creativity, you probably would be fascinated by it. A second look might make it less appealing.

Business cards should be kept simple. If you want to be taken seriously then make sure your design, quality and content are in harmony. It’s great to stand out, but don’t lose prospective customers in the process. Here are some business etiquettes you probably should pay attention to:

1. Keep your fingers together when you point

Pointing on a normal day is wrong. Growing up, our parents often slapped our finger down when we pointed at people. So how do you indicate who or what you are referring to, especially in a business setting?

****Point with an open palm, and keep your fingers together. If you point with your index finger, it appears aggressive.

2. With all due Respect….Are you really trying to be respectful or you have ulterior motives?

You should be careful how you use it so you don’t come across as being insulting.

3. You should never ask for a to-go bag

“You are there for business, not for the leftovers. Doggie bags are okay for family dinners but not during professional occasions.”

Some of us are in the habit of packing “just a little more food” at the end of a business conference. If you are not given, don’t take. When given, it’s usually a prepared package for everyone present. If this isn’t the case, we suggest you wait till you get home to eat a healthy home-made meal.

4. Know where to properly place plates and silverware

Remember that “left” has four letters and “right” has five letters.

“Food is placed to the left of the dinner plate. The words food and left each have four letters; if the table is set properly, your bread or salad or any other food dish, will be placed to the left of your dinner plate. Similarly, drinks are placed to the right of the dinner plate, and the words glass and right contain five letters. Any glass or drink will be placed to the right of the dinner plate.”

“Left and right also work for your utensils. Your fork (four letters) goes to the left; your knife and spoon (five letters each) go to the right.”

Also, think “BMW” when trying to remember where to place plates and glasses. The mnemonic BMW here stands for “bread, meal, and water” so remember that “your bread-and-butter plate is on the left, the meal is in the middle, and your water glass is on the right.”

List culled from


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