The Meaning of Business Etiquette

by Osmond Vitez; Updated September 26, 2017

Professional behavior in the business environment is often based on the customs and ethics of individuals or businesses. While traditional social guidelines are usually evident in business, individuals must also be aware of the proper business etiquette needed when traveling to different parts of the United States or international business locations. Most companies expect their employees to treat potential business clients or consumers how the employee would want to be treated in the same situation.


Traditional business etiquette usually encompasses the behavioral aspect of businessmen in social situations. Companies often use lunch or dinner meetings, casual gatherings or other informal environments to conduct business. While these informal methods take business discussions into a more open and friendly environment, individuals are expected to use proper business etiquette when greeting, talking and approaching delicate business topics. Informal business environments may offer businessmen more chances for offending other individuals for unprofessional behavior.


Business etiquette has evolved into a variety of different business situations. Information and business technology, email, text or other electronic communication methods have increased the need for proper business etiquette. These electronic communication methods are typically seen as informal and carry the possibility of being misunderstood by receivers. Proper business etiquette includes addressing businessmen with the correct title and not using the common shorthand forms of various words or phrases.

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Business etiquette usually includes training businessmen on how to properly interact with individuals from different areas or countries. In the United States, the business environment includes individuals from four major regions: the Northeast, the Southeast, Midwest and West. Each of these regions usually has a different attitude regarding proper business etiquette. Businessmen from foreign countries also have different attitudes and behavior regarding business etiquette, usually requiring etiquette training for domestic businessmen.


Companies may hire an individual or consultants to help them properly train managers and employees on proper business etiquette. These consultants may be able to train individuals regarding specific business etiquette for different countries or the various regions of the United States. The type of business etiquette must also be decided when using consultants; these individuals typically offer services relating to written, oral or other types of business etiquette.


Executive managers or leaders in a company can use business etiquette training to improve their business’ company culture. A company culture is the intangible environment used by companies to reinforce proper business values, ethics and etiquette. Employees can use the company culture for understanding how to act or react in various business situations. The company culture may also be bolstered when executive managers and leaders use proper etiquette for manners during business functions in which employees will be involved.

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