Practicing business etiquette in the workplace, will help you manage sticky situations in a more civil and productive manner.

1. You realize that your actions or words, hurt, disappointed, or inconvenienced someone in the workplace.

Business Etiquette Solution: Apologize. For some people, apologizing, is unthinkable! Why? Because it makes them feel vulnerable, lose their power-position, or because they’re never wrong.  A genuine apology doesn’t require a lot of words, only sincerity, eye contact, and stating what you are apologizing for. A face-to-face apology is most effective.

What do you do if they do not immediately accept your apology?

Business Etiquette Solution: Accept the fact that they need more time. After a few days, consider sending another simple and sincere apology via a hand-written note, email, or text. Respectfully acknowledge their need for more time. “I’ll be here whenever you’re ready to talk about this.”

2. Upon meeting you, someone abbreviates your name, assigns you a nickname, or uses an incorrect pronoun.

Business Etiquette Solution: Politely and calmly state your preference. Most people will apologize and follow your lead. My personal practice is, if I’ll be seeing them again, I’ll repeat my preference, if not, I let it go. When people abbreviate a name, usually, it’s their way of developing familiarity, not to insult you.

3. A coworker or client asks you a personal question.

Business Etiquette Solution: You are not required to provide an answer. Also, it is not necessary to let out a horrified huff, or a look of outrage. That would surely peak their interest. In a matter-of-fact tone, reply, “I prefer not to discuss that.” Change the subject or excuse yourself.

Moreover, what is considered “personal” varies from individual to individual. If asked the same question, they may freely and openly provide a response without blinking an eye. Which is why I suggest maintaining your composure.


Etiquette Expert/Trainer, Author, Media Source 

Nationally recognized etiquette expert with over twenty years of providing trainings, and serving as a source for media.

Trainings are available for: corporations, sales teams, on-boarding, to support code-of-conduct policies to set a standard for employees, universities/college groups, school staff, customer service staff, dining etiquette programs for youth through adult, and actors preparing for audition/roles.

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Note: Tips and advice are provided as options to consider, not immovable one-size-fits-all solutions. There are always many things to consider when handling situations, whether in the workplace or in your personal life.