In the legal industry, having good business etiquette is the key to fostering good relationships. It proves you have self-control, excellent industry knowledge, and the ability to make others feel comfortable around you. Follow these 10 business etiquette rules for legal professionals to ensure you behave properly around your clients and other professionals.
- Be prompt: Whether arriving at an appointment or making a deadline, being on time is critical. Your punctuality shows you respect and value the other parties involved. It also demonstrates that you keep your promises.
- Dress professionally: Wearing appropriate business attire and maintaining a tidy hairstyle and makeup is the best way to make a good first impression. It demonstrates that you take yourself seriously, so others are more inclined to as well.
- Have good manners: A good old-fashioned “please” and “thank you” goes a long way in the legal workplace. You can never go wrong by saying these words, and doing so will likely paint you a classy, well-mannered professional.
- Listen attentively: Developing good listening skills can set you apart as someone who’s genuinely interested in what others have to say. To show you’re listening, maintain eye contact, don’t interrupt, don’t rush the conversation, and ask appropriate follow-up questions.
- Put your phone away: If someone approaches you to start a conversation or you walk into an important meeting, put your phone away. Remember, muting or shutting off your phone is better than putting it on vibrate because a buzzing sound can still be disruptive.
- Remember names: Pay attention to people’s names when they introduce themselves, and make a note to call them by name in the future. If you forget or aren’t sure how to pronounce someone’s name, ask for clarification rather than inventing a nickname.
- Perfect your handshake: Handshakes are the universal business greeting, so practice yours. Your handshake should be firm, and you should smile and make eye contact with the other person to demonstrate confidence.
- Handle business lunches with grace: If you invite others to a business lunch, plan to pick up the tab. Then, follow your guest’s lead when ordering. If they skip an appetizer, you should do the same. Also, select a mid-priced item that won’t be too messy to eat.
- Proofread text-based communications before sending: All business letters, emails, and other correspondences should be free of typos and grammatical errors. Also, avoid unprofessional language such as lol, omg, and emojis.
- Send thank-you notes: After a business meeting, lunch, or other relationship-building interaction, send a customized, handwritten thank-you note to each participant. This follow-up comes across as more thoughtful and genuine than an emailed message.
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