Visiting a Business
Setting a tone of professionalism is important when visiting a business office. As a guest, how you show up determines to the type of impression you make.
You will communicate right away who your hosts are dealing with through your body language, greeting, and whether you blend in with the corporate culture of the office. In a competitive world, a business visit is a focussed affair, and visual distractions such a loud shirts, unusual fashion, or inappropriate attire are a negative. Bottom line, the manner in which you treat others will remain foremost in their minds.
Protocol for Professional Guests
A true professional guest maintains mindful respect for the work environment and all people encountered when visiting a business office. Every person you meet is worthy of courtesy and consideration.
- Remember names. You will always make someone feel important when you remember that person’s name. If you have forgotten, it’s fine to say, “Please forgive my mindlessness. What is your name again?”
- Smile and shake hands. Whether you've met your contacts before or are seeing them for the first time, this standard greeting always makes a good impression.
- Introduce yourself and others. You may assume the person you are visiting knows who you are because you are on her calendar, but still introduce yourself and others with you. This is another standard protocol that makes a good impression as it cements your level of professionalism.
- Maintain formal address. If you're meeting with Stanley Banks, address him as "Mr. Banks" until you are asked to call him by another name. When he introduces himself as Stanley, or says, "Please call me Stan," then you may drop the formality.
- Sit only when invited to. You may be visiting a place of business, but it is still your host's territory. Remain respectful of this by standing until you are asked to take a seat.
- Make small talk 100% positive and friendly. This is a good way to connect and show your human side. And it can set the tone for the remainder of the meeting.
- Be mindful of time. Others are busy, and while your visit is important, it is only one part of their day.
- Follow cues. When you are truly present and mindful, you know when someone is interested and enjoying your company, or if you should take your leave straight away.
Powering Through Your Visit with Style
If you happen to be the victim of an unfriendly reception when visiting a business office, don’t let it dampen your attitude. Especially in a busy office environment, there are any number of reasons for a less than stellar reception. Calendar mix-ups, computer crashes, a shortage of staff to help out, or inexperienced staff trying to help out – these are all things that deserve your patience and understanding.
Do the best you can do while remaining friendly and respectful. After all, you are only visiting. Let your professionalism shine through to the people you encounter while you are there. Cool, calm, collected, and friendly are the etiquette-ful ways to go.
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