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The word etiquette comes from an old French word for ticket. And like the right ticket, the right business etiquette gets you where you want to go.

Professionalism is another word for business etiquette. Professionalism makes the workplace better for everyone. It’s not always easy sharing workspaces where your coworkers can hear – and sometimes see - everything. First, you have to know the rules. Then, you have to follow them, even when you’d rather not.

Business etiquette and professionalism matter everywhere: in the elevator, the office, or at the holiday party. Use proper etiquette and your coworkers will want you around.

These tips will help:



  • Keep voices low at your desk and when you’re on the phone.

  • Ask before using other coworkers’ computers, workspaces and office supplies and thank them when you are done.

  • Be courteous in common areas like the lunchroom: If you make a mess, clean it up.

  • Though all people are equal and deserve respect, at work it’s especially important to know who is in charge and to show them extra courtesy and respect. This is called deference, and showing your superiors deference is always important, even in casual workplaces.

  • Be friendly, but not too friendly. Take an interest in your co-workers and offer your help if someone needs it but keep personal things personal.

  • Keep yourself looking sharp: practice good grooming. Clothes should be clean and fit well and not be too sexy.

  • Even though it’s hard sometimes, keep personal problems, feelings, or friendships from getting in the way of work responsibilities.

  • Follow the golden rule and treat others as you’d like to be treated.

  • Follow the behavior of respected coworkers and superiors.

  • If you notice a coworker struggling to meet a deadline or finish and assignment, ask how you can help.

  • Show respect for everyone, from the cleaning woman to the CEO. Small kindnesses mean a lot.

  • If you make a mistake, admit it and apologize right away.



  • Gossip about your colleagues.

  • Tell or listen to racist or sexist jokes.

  • Touch people except for a handshake.

  • Show up late.

Be polite. Be courteous. Be respectful. Using professionalism and business etiquette will assure that you are successful wherever you work!

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