Maintaining proper business etiquette is important for secretaries who are often the first impression of the business or an executive that a client or customer has. Practicing a few common rules of business etiquette can help a secretary create the most positive impression of her boss and company.


Professional conduct is imperative when at work or when representing your boss or company at functions. Very often clients or other professionals will equate an executive's level of professionalism with her secretary's if the executive is not present. Always answer the phone using a polite, business-appropriate greeting. Greet visitors with a smile and be courteous. Do not get emotional or easily angered. Maintain a polite, respectful demeanor at all times.


Many companies have a business clothing dress code that is strictly enforced. Even if your company does not provide such a dress code, you should always appear clean and well put together. Do not wear tight or revealing clothing. Make sure that all suits and shirts are clean and properly ironed. Do not wear short skirts. Your shoes should fit the work environment -- no sneakers or flip-flops -- and be comfortable to work in. If you work in an industrial environment, you may be required to wear flat, closed-toe shoes.

Formal Address

A secretary should always formally address superiors. This shows respect to your supervisors and helps maintain a professional work environment. Refrain from using your boss' first name when in a public space or meeting environment. Always use "Mr." or "Ms." when addressing other company executives. If your boss requests a more casual address, such as using his first name or a nickname, only use it when in a more private or informal setting, such as in his personal office with no other superiors present.


One of the most important functions of a secretary is maintaining organization. For business etiquette purposes, maintain a clean, organized workspace. Avoid creating clutter on your desk or in your work area. If you work in an area where clients or other executives may be asked to wait for a meeting, make sure that area is also organized. Do not leave personal items or magazines scattered throughout the work area. Keep all confidential files and personal items out of sight of visitors.