Professional behaviour in the business environment


  • Etiquette is all the customary rules of social behaviour in civilized society. In business and professional circles we concentrate on codes of behaviour which apply to specific situations. 
  • Etiquette is the social code for successful human relations. Any person who deals with the public and comes into contact with colleagues needs to know good manners, the basis of social etiquette.
  • Etiquette requires friendliness, courtesy, thoughtfulness, helpfulness, self-control, charm and deportment. 
  • Etiquette is never a goal in itself, rather a means of improving social intercourse in our own and different cultures. 
  • Etiquette is a standard of behaviour. 
  • Etiquette in Western civilization differs from etiquette in Eastern or African civilizations. If we have to entertain business people from different cultures we should do research regarding acceptable foods and taboo foods.  This doesn’t mean that we have to serve their traditional foods.  The guests expect to eat food from the host’s country.  If the host has taken the trouble no to offend them the gesture and thoughtfulness will engender goodwill and gratitude. 


  • Protocol is the customary rules which are recognized in diplomatic circles, or diplomatic etiquette. 

When dignitaries are addressed or entertained, protocol is used.  For example: A secretary in a department which often deals with members of the diplomatic corps must be familiar with the order of precedence, forms of address both in person and in writing, among other things.

Ria Vorster
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