Etiquette for Event Managers - Business Etiquette (part 4)

In these miniseries, Etiquette for event-managers, you will learn everything you need to know about etiquette as an organizer. This episode is all about: business etiquette.

Kevin Van der Straeten
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In these miniseries, Etiquette for event-managers, you will learn everything you need to know about etiquette as an organizer. This episode is all about: business etiquette.


Hi Vincent.




Welcome back to the studio.


Thank you.


Today's topic is business etiquette.


Yes, business etiquette.

We sometimes see that people say: we got social etiquette, we got dining etiquette, we got business etiquette. But actually, it's a bit of a grey zone. The only difference is that business etiquette is a bit more formal. Due to the fact that we have, for example, a deal to do.

In business etiquette, there's a few things we can learn. Sometimes from other cultures, but also from history.

If we look at, for example, business cards. If you look at the Asian culture, if you give a gift to someone, in any situation, you would actually give that with two hands. And sometimes they will add a small bow to that.

That's the same what we should do, here in Europe, with business cards. You actually give a business card with two hands and you receive it with two hands. On top of that, you should show that you have real, genuine interest. So, you look at the business card. You turn it around. Because it's not always white at the back. And you should give a compliment. So, you could give a compliment on the logo, on the colour. Or maybe make a remark, such as: oh, that's where your offices are. Or: I didn't know you had two offices.


That's just to confirm that you've read it.


Exactly, exactly. That you show a real interest.

On top of that, what we also could say is, if we look at history, the Romans, what they thought was, is that the left finger, actually, on this hand, the ring finger, goes to the heart, which is on the left side of the body. That's why we wear our wedding ring on that side. But also, in business, that's why we should wear any name badge, medals, pins on the left-hand side. And sometimes there's a few mistakes made there.


Indeed, indeed.

If we are at an event, one of the most important reasons we are there is to network.


Yes. Sometimes it's funny you call it net work. Sometimes it's net drink.

But, what we see is, when you go to a networking event, is that 80% of people are kind of afraid to leave their comfort zone. They actually step, straight away, to somebody they know. Because it's uncomfortable. What we actually should do, and that's expanding our network, is go to somebody we don't know, and have sort of an icebreaker.

So, what do we say? What we see mostly, is that people will talk about the weather, or traffic.




Yes, but let's say you go, for example, to a keynote. You could genuinely ask to the person next to you, who you don't know: what did you think about the speaker? And then there's a whole range of possibilities that person could talk about. Could be about the topic of the speaker. Could be about the speaker itself. And that gives you again the opportunity to say: what industry are you in? And that's how things are getting along and moving forward.


Okay, besides networking, there's also the topic of business lunches. And a quite confusing one, is often: who pays?


Yes, indeed. To make it very clear, in etiquette, who pays, whether it be in business or social, is the one who invites. So, the trick is in the preparation. It should be really clear who invites. So, if you get invited by somebody, you might ask them to confirm, for example, the address of the restaurant. So they get the feeling: I'm inviting. Now, if you're in the restaurant and you're invited and the check comes along and they don't react, even though they have invited you, then, actually, it's up to you to at least suggest to split the bill.

Because in etiquette, you can be polite, but you should also be correct. So, it's not your fault they're not reacting to paying the bill. So, saying: will we split this bill, is perfectly acceptable. Because, actually, it's them who should be completely paying.

But of course, there's always the feeling of: am I a supplier or am I a customer? So, you always have to have that feeling on what to do.


What do you do when you need to order? Because you have a menu card. And it's teasing, if you do not have to pay, to pick the most expensive item on the menu card. But I suppose that's not what you do.


Well, if your taste allows it and you eat, let's say, everything, that is what I do. I simply follow what the person who invites me, is eating. That's the most simple thing. You can, kind of, deviate. Let's say he orders a dish with some meat and he orders French fries with that. You could go, for example, for another kind of vegetable. That is...

But you should mainly follow, what they are having.


Okay, not a five course, when the host is having three.


Exactly. That wouldn't be all right.


Okay Vincent, thank you very much for coming over.


My pleasure.


And you at home, thank you for watching our show. I hope to see you next week.