Business Casual Has Gone Too Far- It was only meant for the way we dress NOT the way we do business-

Years ago when the idea of “Business Casual” came about and was enacted in most settings on Friday’s only; we openly welcomed the change for stuffiness.

But as with anything else you give humans they always have to stretch it beyond the mile. “Give an inch- take a mile”

NOt that I am saying we should never stretch the bar; I am saying some things are in place as they should be for a good reason. And “IF it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

Just like this guy pictured above, on one side you see what Business Casual was supposed to be for clothes. And then on the other side you see how the fella got lazy and came in any ol way. I don’t know about you, but if I wear my house coat in my home office; I act like someone who is wearing their house coat still kinda sleepy and not ready to take the bull by the horns.

Any hoo, what I am talking about here though is not so much the Business Casual we can see in someone’s attire. I am talking about the “Business Casual” of today’s ways of doing business. Like slackers or something. To lazy to make the curve on their cursive  hand written L .  Or oblivious to the way in which business culture demands one to behave. If you’re a doctor, you wear a white coat. If you’re a police officer you carry a gun. IF you are in construction you had better have your hard hat on or you could get hurt.

Now while these are all external business norms, they are definitely good practices for each of the industries mentioned above. But, they do not address the cultural standards we as business owners expect to see exhibited by those we choose to work with today. Well, it used to be that way before the business climate went business casual. Let’s take back the business environment that made us what we are today; strong reliable, and trustworthy business owners full of integrity, standards of excellence, and most importantly success stories of the American Dream.If you want to operate in the business world you need to have some business savvy and couth about yourself and how you should behave in the sand box. Just like any other area in your life where you sometimes must say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do”.

Keep reading to learn a few of the basic business etiquette that you need to know as a business owner and practice everyday.

I retrieved this .ppt slide from Bing.com images. Nice. It sums up Business Culture in America in a nut shell.

To expand on these points I am giving you the four points below:

1) Get respect by showing it; educate yourself on the norms of the business environment you are stepping into. Find out all you can about the climate there by looking at who is in attendance at where ever you are trying to do business.

2) Follow Up is Key: Do what you say you will do. Deliver what you say you will deliver. Be Genuine in your presentation so you don’t set yourself up to fall in the eyes of the masses. If you engage in any business activity with someone; follow through to a close of some kind. No matter if it is a win win or a no go this time. The impression you leave is one that can still do business in the future with whom it did not work out with today. If you don’t do the follow-up properly, it will bite you or your business some how in the future indirectly or directly.

3)  No More Business Casual Transactions and Interactions Learn protocols Take pride in your work, appearance, materials, responses, and every thing you do for your business and/or career. Sloppy business casual work days are gone; today’s world is starting to expect more of business owners. Give your 110% not crinkled stuff.

4) If you want to perform at your best in any business environment; recognize that they will each be different and try your best to learn something about what may be expected of you before you show up to visit their group, company, function or what ever the cause may be for you to come into contact with this new grouping of people.

     I am not saying to you to change and be fake to suit them. I am saying to you to gain their respect you have to know what to expect in their environment so you don’t embarrass your self or ruin a chance to do business with people by stepping over the line of their perspective of how to do business.

Example 1)

A Business Consultant is introducing a current client to another one of her clients. A formal intro is required in this instance with this particular client.  Knowing this, the Biz Consultant,  carefully creates and builds the relationship prior to meeting.   Coordinating the events that lead up to the face to face meeting of the two clients; the consultant manages well and everyone will be happy campers in the end after the handshake is done. Whew, Win Win

Sally say’s to Jane, ” Jane I will meet you in the parking lot and we will go in together” . But, unknowingly, and excitedly, Client B decides to go it alone; heads on in without the consultant. Oh no,

What could happen here: Business Etiquette Cardinal Sin-

Several things will be said and thought about this situation. Client A will feel caught off guard and may get upset with the consultant for this happening. This will make the consultant look bad and could cost the her the client altogether.  Think about it now, how does anyone feel when you just pop up on them out-of-order and without knowing them personally in an open invitation? 

           TIP: No worries, there are a ton of Business Etiquette Resources out there for you to NOW go and read. Help yourself so some one doesn’t take it upon themselves to ask you too- it’s softer this way)

This is a known NO NO in the business world. Never out step your business consultant when they have worked so hard to get you there in front of their client by stepping out of turn. This will make you and her look bad.

Learn before you burn.  Different perspectives would definitely be heard on this scenario as to the agenda behind the action. Get the tools you need to know the environment before you go head in- it will help you be humble that’s for sure in case you break the sandbox rules.

I just recently had this happen to me; thank God no real damage was done. It could have though and its best to avoid these business etiquette mistakes by learning about the way in which you are to perform in any given demographics of the business climate and culture. Client A could have been left with the impression that their consultant was incompetent by showing the lack of preparation amongst many other elements of a client conference introduction.

It is always best to review before you respond. Pick up those books and resources and learn something new about how business is done.

Thank you Cards Example:

     Today’s relaxed business casual environment doesn’t really call for hand written Thank You Cards to people who we meet and or provide services to in business.  That is not the case for yester years when people knew how to truly build long-lasting and rewarding business relationships.

OH no, Today it’s let’s see what we can get in a hurry and be glad if we remember 3 months from now that we actually worked together on a project. 

Don’t get me wrong, I love technology and progress of all kinds. But I have realized that technology and progress in some sense is trying to replace good things that didn’t need any fixin. Human need for contact and respect of space is every societies balancing point. You take away that balance you will create ugly situations that don’t show the proper couth or business etiquette. Sooner or later that will cause multiple systems to fail the bigger picture of growth.

     Well, let’s give today’s business climate some credit, if it was a winning deal you might have a chance of being remembered. OR not!  YUK that’s not how I want to do business with people. I want it to be something so rewarding or not that it keeps us in touch from thence forth. Not just for the moment of exploration and project completion.  Who knows where life takes us down the highway of future opportunities?

Why is business like that these days that folks don’t even have the time or respect for writing a simple handwritten thank you note ?  I’ll tell ya its a sign of how the business culture climate has become to laxed with having so much technology that takes away from being personable with your clients/colleagues. And the fact that characteristics of the general business industry people as a whole have changed and exemplify attitudes that are different when business etiquette was at its best. As we say, those were the good ol days. When it walked like a duck, talked like a duck, and looked like a duck; we called it just as it is- it’s a duck. 

There’s a little book I keep in my office library called “Business Notes” By: Florence Isaacs. It’s a handy-dandy little reference book I use when I am preparing to write a new client or someone else a thank you note that I may not have written before. I look at what industry they are in. I look at what interaction did we have? Was it a business deal, a conference meeting, or just passing by and happen to meet you type of encounter.

Everything about the handwritten thank you note is customized and tailored for best impact. Yes it takes time and effort to prepare the hand written Thank you. Who ever the recipient is will know that you spent time and effort on them. They will see your character through this special gesture as a professional business owner who takes pride their work and wants their business.

To Learn more about Business Etiquette and being polished for customer attraction of your company’s materials, presentations, corporate image, and so much more. Contact E. Michelle Lee, Business Consultant and Publicist for Exceptions-

                                   “PR With A Purpose”

email: Contact@ExceptionsToTheRules.com

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9 responses to “Business Casual Has Gone Too Far- It was only meant for the way we dress NOT the way we do business-

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