Top business etiquette tips for corporate events

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Corporate events are used to entertain existing clients and/or attract new ones and you may find yourself invited to one or more over the course of the year.

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These events can involve a day out, perhaps enjoying corporate entertainment at Britain’s F1 Paddock Club and are meant to be enjoyable. However, it’s important to remember they are also business events, a chance to network and make new contacts as well as sell your company and what you do, so it’s also important you follow correct business etiquette.

Responding to an invite

RSVP as soon as you can in the manner requested (email, phone, mail) and with any additional information asked for, e.g. dietary requirements. Make sure the event is in your diary and if you need to cancel, try not to do so at the last minute – if you can’t attend, perhaps a colleague can go in your place? Always let the host know of any change of plans.

What to wear

Most hosts, such as will provide guidance on the dress code and this should be followed. It might include:

•       Black tie or black tie optional, meaning formal evening dress
•       Business attire, meaning suits or dresses
•       Business casual, meaning trousers and long-sleeved shirts; sometimes jackets/ties are still required
•       Specific clothing, if you are invited to a sporting event for example

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If no guidance is provided, it is best to err on the side of caution and dress conservatively.

When to arrive

Invitations will normally be specific about start and end times and it is important to stick to these, arriving during any registration or welcome period.

Meeting and greeting

You will meet a lot of people at corporate events. Be friendly and personable when you do, offering a firm handshake, an open smile and making direct eye contact. If you are in a group, always shake hands with your host first if you can.

When talking to people, use active listening skills, trying to find a 50/50 balance between speaking and listening, and consider your body language – it should be open, showing your interest in others. Also, make sure you include everyone in a conversation, asking questions or looking for shared areas of interest. As this is a business event avoid personal or divisive subjects.

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