Business Etiquette Seminar Topics
Our Business Etiquette Seminar PowerPoint programs are fully customizable, and are drawn from the following topic areas:
Detailed topic descriptions
The following detailed descriptions cover most of what is offered in each topic, though all client programs are customized, and the final composition of topics and amount of emphasis given to each will be determined by your priorities and the total amount of available time. The order of most topics can be changed.
What Is Etiquette? and Why Business Etiquette Matters
These are our introductory sections. They articulate what etiquette is and isn’t, why business etiquette matters, and set concepts and vocabulary around etiquette, self-awareness, and relationship building for the entire session. We use real-world examples and survey data to bring the subject to life and explain the difference between manners (what to do) and the principles of etiquette: consideration, respect, and honesty (why to do it) – and why both manners and principles matter. Includes: Two Concepts: Perspective Matters and the “How” Matters; the factors that influence relationships; and the three goals for the day.
The Five-step Method for Resolving Relationship Situations
So often in business it’s not if you do or say something, it’s how you do it that matters. In this section, the concept is that etiquette is a process to help people choose actions that not only convey their business message or resolve concerns, but build relationships at the same time. Your presenter introduces participants to a Five-Step Method that uses the principles of etiquette to determine the very best course of action to take in any situation or interaction where a relationship is impacted. Participants then break into small groups to use the Five-Step Method to problem-solve Relationship Situations, which are then reviewed with the entire group. We can use situations that you provide to us or we can provide popular examples.
This is a short section, often woven into our introductory section or Workplace Etiquette, which focuses on generational differences. Your presenter can then refer back to it throughout the program at appropriate points. It includes a discussion of why different generations have different expectations; deferring to older generations; and a focus on differences around technology, multitasking, attire, language, and feedback.
Civility in the Workplace
Etiquette is considered a soft skill, but its value is backed up with hard numbers. This section discusses how civility impacts today’s businesses and offers tactics for leaders to create a climate of civility in the workplace.
Introductions are the first chance to make a strong, professional impression, and having confidence is key to success. May include: why introductions are important; a handshake exercise; the four steps to a handshake; when to stand; men shaking hands with women; when a handshake can’t happen; the order of introductions (who to introduce to whom); handling forgotten and mispronounced names; self-introductions; managing other forms of greetings (huggers and kissers); distributing business cards.
Our communication skills are a main hallmark of our professionalism and provide an important opportunity not only to deliver a message but also to build a relationship as well. May include: general points on active listening and awareness of whether an email or phone call is private or public (the headline or bulletin board rule). Email: email best practices are reviewed, including spelling, grammar, subject lines, salutations, closings, signature block, formality, reply all, cc/bcc, emoticons, and text abbreviations; what it means to have a healthy communication diet; when to resolve a concern in-person as opposed to via email; email fiasco examples; timeliness of replies. Phones and smartphones: when to take or not take cell phone calls; smartphones in meetings; best practices regarding messages sent from smartphones; taking and leaving phone messages; video and conference call best practices. Handwritten thank-you notes: under what circumstances a handwritten thank-you note should be sent; best practices, including using a date, ink color, appropriate stationery, and whether or not to enclose a business card; a sample thank-you note.
Business Social Situations and Networking Etiquette
Being able to represent your company well at conferences and industry events is an important part of professionalism, as is the ability to build new relationships through networking. Section includes: self-introductions; small talk; exiting a conversation with a “talker”; handling passed foods; alcohol consumption and the one-drink rule; pointers on creating comfortable conversation; dealing with difficult or controversial conversations; smoothly moving from group to group; and the importance and how-to follow up. Also: networking skill sets for mixers, parties, sports events, and dinners; good host and good guest protocols such as sending and accepting invitations, punctuality protocol, and appropriate thank-yous.
Social Media Etiquette
How you present yourself and interact in the virtual world can have real-world consequences. This module approaches social media behaviors from the perspective of both the organization and the individual, and the importance of representing yourself online as you would offline is emphasized. Topics include: awareness around privacy; responsibility for the content you post; top tips for posting; examples of social media mistakes and how to avoid them; top tips for using LinkedIn; two gut-check questions to ask before posting; why being true to your personal brand online is critical to trust.
Professional Image and Attire
Professional image isn’t a bare minimum to be met; it’s an opportunity to demonstrate professionalism. Image and attire section includes: the importance of self-awareness around appearance, actions, and words; business dress basics/musts; body language (posture, eye contact, nervous habits); word choice (tone, speed, inflection, laughter); office décor; being prepared and setting the tone for success.
Building Your Personal Brand
Do people know you for the qualities you work hard to project? Or do they see something else? Your personal brand is your hallmark—it’s the set of attributes for which you are known. This section helps participants to identify and articulate their personal brand, leading to awareness of how others perceive them. It also encourages intentional pursuit of attributes participants wish to cultivate. Includes: the components of a personal brand; examples of attributes; an attributes exercise with partners.
While the content of business meetings varies from conference room to conference room, the rules of the road to accomplish a successful meeting are universal. We review meeting best practices to ensure the focus of meetings stays on topic and focused on results. Topics may include: meeting leader responsibilities; handling problem participants; responsibility of attendees; and protocol surrounding electronic devices. Virtual meeting guidelines may also be covered here.
We don’t choose our colleagues, and yet we often spend more time with them than with our friends and families. That can cause friction—friction than can be minimized or even avoided altogether. Includes: greeting visitors; chewing gum; personal space; open office and cubical issues; showing respect to older persons/people in positions of power; corporate cultures; office talkers; whispering; working together; time management; confronting awkward situations; handling gossip; dealing with gross office behaviors (correcting not embarrassing); general office manners; constructive feedback.
“When in Rome, do as the Romans do,” is a popular expression for a reason, and its meaning aligns with the principles of etiquette. This section emphasizes that the principles of etiquette remain the same even though the manners may differ. The goal of the module is to increase students’ awareness of variations of custom and culture on a regional basis and to show them how to become knowledgeable about specific country/culture customs before working with an international corporation or taking a trip to another country. Module includes: definition of “culture”; key points to be aware of when visiting another culture; working with an interpreter; examples of regional differences; points of etiquette to research prior to travel.
Business meals are an important opportunity to build relationships, and having confidence in your manners is key to navigating the meal and representing your company well. Having good dining etiquette is also an important life skill that translates into overall confidence. This module is taught over a meal, which may be three or four courses, and may also be taught in the classroom without a meal. Prior to eating, the first part of this module reviews navigating your place setting, correctly using utensils, and some essential dinner table manners.
Then, before each course is served, we give an overview of the manners specific to that course, from wine and appetizers to dessert and coffee. We give the “why” for every manner – when people understand why, they are more likely to own the manner. Diners talk among themselves while they eat each course. During this time, your Post presenter can answer individual questions at each table, or we can also supply cards with questions to inspire conversation about dining etiquette.
Over dessert, we cover the social side of dining, with topics such as: arriving on time, tipping, conversation, ordering wine and/or your meal from the menu, how to be a good host or guest, dropping something on the floor or spilling your glass, how to inform a diner about something in his or her tooth, handling gendered manners such as holding chairs, and appropriate thank-yous.
The 24/7 Professional
You represent your company everyday – even on your own time. This short module, done at the close of the seminar, emphasizes the importance of awareness when you are at sporting events, parties, children’s events and more, and how to handle work colleagues when personal time turns into professional time. Social media best practices for personal use may also be reviewed here. We conclude with a summary of the important points of the day.
Please contact Steven Puettner for more information on program details, presenter availability, and pricing by filling out our contact form.