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How To Be Polite – A Business English Guide

Category: Business English Skills, English Culture | 2018-04-19

Politeness is key in so many situations, but it’s especially important in business. Knowing how to be polite at the office will not only form a good first impression with your coworkers. It will also continue to keep that good impression, and help you to be well-liked, as well as viewed as respectful and professional.

Talking about politeness may seem like something so basic that it doesn’t need to be discussed, but trust us…it does. People very rarely notice when someone is being polite, but they notice very quickly when someone is being rude.

Let’s get back to the basics, and focus on how to be polite in business situations.

How to Be Polite in Business Situations

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1. Say Hello

When you see someone at the office, say hello, good morning, good afternoon, or whatever greeting is appropriate for the time of day. Stand up tall, make eye contact, smile, and give a firm handshake if appropriate. Saying hello to those around you will make you approachable and friendly, and everyone loves having an approachable teammate.

2. Take time for small talk

It is important to note that not every culture stresses the importance of small talk, so please only use this where appropriate. However, in cultures where it is important, being able to small talk with someone is seen as polite. Small talk helps you to get to know your coworkers and clients and shows interest in their lives. Being open and available to chat with your office mates will let them know that you’re also available if something serious comes up.

If you’re having trouble with small talk, you can find some small talk starters right here.

3. Remember the magic words

Growing up, my mom always told me to “use my magic words,” meaning that I should remember to say “please” and “thank you.”

Business life is no different. Remember to say please and thank you when they’re needed. When people don’t say please and thank you, this is one of the most noticeable things they do that makes people see them as impolite.

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4. Show appreciation

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard stories of people leaving jobs where they felt unnoticed or underappreciated, only to hear from their boss when they said they were quitting that they were one of their best employees.

Don’t be afraid to praise others and show your appreciation for their work. This is not only a matter of politeness, but will also build a stronger team and stronger work ethic amongst your employees.

5. Be respectful

This is perhaps the golden rule of being polite in the office. If you’re not respectful, people won’t respect you, either.

Being respectful can cover a whole host of things: from dressing appropriately, to not engaging in gossip, to pointing out people’s mistakes in a kind, but authoritative, way. If you are respectful of those around you, it will not only make those around you respect you, too, but will also take you far in the business world.






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Putting it all Together

Politeness will always be in fashion. And it is always appreciated. When learning a language, be sure you know how to be polite in that culture, whether in business or personal situations. How do you show politeness around the office? Share your tips and tricks with us in the comments below!
If you want to learn more about how to be polite in English, sign up for our monthly newsletter and receive a 7-day FREE TRIAL of our online English course. Also get more tips, articles and exclusive deals. Cheers!

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