Business etiquette consultant Arden Clise answers these reader questions – have a look to make sure you have all the basics covered:
Q. When meeting a potential employer for coffee or a meal to discuss the possibility of working together who picks up the tab? And how do you handle the awkwardness when the check is delivered?
A. The rule with business meals is the person who called the meeting always organizes and pays for the meal. Not only that, but the person who is hosting the meeting picks the restaurant and confirms the meeting the day before if it’s a morning meeting or the morning of if it’s a noon or later meeting. It’s best to suggest a couple of restaurants to the person you’re meeting with and let them choose.
Now to avoid the awkward check grab one thing you can do is give your credit card to the waiter or maître d’ before your guest arrives and ask them to let you sign or pick up the receipt after the meeting. If you’re not comfortable with that, let the waitstaff know before your guest comes that you’d like the check handed to you and not your guest. When the check comes simply say to your guest; “You are my guest and this is my treat.”
Q. When a business friend connects you with a possible job and you get a phone interview – how do you thank your friend for the connection?
A. Good for you for remembering to thank them. Always send a handwritten thank you note within 24 hours of someone doing something nice for you. Handwrite the envelope which should read:
Honorific (Mr. Ms., Dr…)
Put your name and address in the upper left corner of the envelope. It used to be you put just your address on the back flap, but to make it easier for the USPS you should put it on the upper left corner.
Q: What is the current protocol for handshakes?
A: While it may seem like a really small thing, your handshake actually speaks volumes about you. You want to be sure it expresses that you are a confident, professional person. I saw this video about the 10 different handshakes and thought it did a good job of explaining what each handshake says about you. See if you fall into one of the deadly nine or the perfect ten.
A good handshake is one where you put your hand fully in the other person’s hand, web to web. It’s accompanied with eye contact and a smile. The grip is firm, but not bone-crushing. Both men and women shake hands the same way. Men, no need to be delicate with women, women no need to hold your hand as if it’s going to be kissed or you’re afraid to touch the other person.
Thanks, Arden, great information!