business etiquette
In business, it’s not enough to be a smart, hardworking person. You’ve also got to be personable, and as WordSmithRapport founder Karima Mariama-Arthur writes in a post for Black Enterprise, “your conduct in professional settings has a significant impact on how others perceive you and whether you‘ll be considered for current or future opportunities.” Good thing Mariama-Arthur has outlined “5 Rules Every Professional Should Know.” Read on to see how this expert suggests you handle attending meetings and interactions with others. It’s terrific advice that might help you get to the next level.

1. Be Punctual — No one likes having their time wasted, and if you show up late for a meeting, you’ll mark yourself foul faster than you can say “tardy.” Mariama-Arthur suggests planning to arrive at least a half-hour early, just in case something comes up, and while that might leave you with time to kill, that’s not such a bad thing. You can unwind, prepare yourself for the business at hand, and breathe easy because you’re on time.

2. Turn off the Gadgets — When you’re bored during a meeting or presentation, it’s only natural to want to pull out your phone and start checking your email or playing your favorite game, but don’t do it. “How would you feel if while pouring your heart into your audience, folks were texting away like crazy—offended perhaps?” Mariama-Arthur writes.

3. Show Your Manners — Business often involves a meal, and when you’re breaking bread with clients, be sure to sit up straight, chew with your mouth closed, use a napkin, only cut one piece of food at a time, and say “excuse me” when you head to the rest room. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though, and Mariama-Arthur recommends reading this for additional tips.

4. Solve Conflicts Privately — You may have beef with a fellow employee after a contentious meeting, but don’t blast them over a mass email or on social media. And don’t gossip with coworkers about what went down. Instead, pull the person aside and settle things like adults. Doing otherwise will hurt your reputation, and it might even get you fired.

5. Show Some Gratitude — Don’t underestimate the power of “thank you.” When someone does you a solid, email or call within 24 hours to thank them for the kind gesture.