Professional Etiquette: Do’s and Don’ts

Etiquette is a word that many associate with matters such as which fork to use during a meal or remembering to keep elbows off the table. While these lessons are important to remember, etiquette should also be reflected in professional situations. Professional etiquette stems from having courtesy for others around you. To help in any situation, here are six do’s and don’ts of professional etiquette to keep in mind:


  1. Don’t gossip

Everyone succumbs to gossip – even in workplace environments. A workplace is no place for gossip even if your best friends are your coworkers. Gossip can turn to rumors, bullying and drama that no professional wants to deal with. The best thing to remember is to just be kind. No one wants to work in a negative environment.

  1. Don’t make excuses

Everyone makes mistakes and life happens. The most important thing to remember when something goes wrong is to be responsible for your actions. In the working world, everyone is busy, and excuses get in the way of productivity. If you are going to be late to an important meeting, call ahead, apologize and say that you are going to be with them as soon as possible – no excuses needed. If communication with a client falls through, apologize, explain what went awry and focus on trying to fix it. Never blame someone else if it is your mistake.

  1. Don’t forget to proof read

In the professional world, a single typo in an email can defer an executive from responding to your request. It is important to make sure that spelling, titles and facts are correct. Everything you write is a reflection of your professionalism. Don’t start off on the wrong foot by calling someone by an incorrect title or by spelling their name wrong.


  1. Be helpful and cooperative

Being a professional requires the skillset that allows you to work with anyone. Working in a professional setting entails being mindful and respectful of other opinions.  Everyone is working toward the same common goal and are focused on completing the work. Being helpful and cooperative can lead to being part of the success.

  1. Be present

You should be engaged in conversations or meetings. Playing on your phone, sending an email or completing other tasks while having a conversation with someone makes them feel as if you aren’t really hearing them. You should care about what your coworkers, clients or superiors are saying. Actively being involved in the conversation or meeting involves giving the other person your undivided attention – you would want to be treated the same way.

  1. Treat others with respect

Treating others with respect and courtesy is extremely important in any situation, but especially in professional settings. Business is conducted through creating relationships with coworkers, superiors, clients, etc. As professionals, we should be respectful of others opinions and views. Standing and shaking hands with someone you are being introduced for the first time, returning calls promptly and saying “Thank you,” are just a few simple ways to be respectful. As professionals, these actions should become second nature.

Gabrielle Coy is a sophomore public relations major at Waynesburg University. She is an active member of Waynesburg PRSSA and a project manager for Red Brick Communications. After graduation, Gabrielle hopes to pursue her passions within the public relations field and work within the nonprofit or crisis communication sector.


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