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Business Etiquette

Welcome to the Business Etiquette resource page! 

This page has been developed to provide you with resources so that you can make the best impression in internship or job interviews, professional academic situations, and business meetings. 

Visit this page for information about dining etiquette, dressing for success, professional communication tips, preparing for your career search, and getting ready for your first year on the job! 

Stay connected to us with FacebookTwitterLinkedInBlogfor other up-to-date information!

Brought to you by McCoy College and The Protocol School of Texas.

Diane Gottsman"If you think business and manners don’t mix, try talking with your mouth full.”
- Diane Gottsman, Etiquette Expert, The Protocol School of Texas

Dining Etiquette

Many employers invite candidates to a lunch or dinner interview.  Knowing how to put yourself and others at ease in this situation will help you be more successful. 

Each year McCoy College hosts the Business Leadership Week Etiquette Dinner with Diane Gottsman. Below are her handouts from the most recent dinner.

Properly Appointed Table

American vs. European Dining Styles

Forbes Magazine Magazine published Diane Gottman's tips:

Diane Gottsman, your nationally recognized etiquette training expert, was recently picked up by Forbes Magazine for her article titled "Dining for Success: 15 Tips to Avoid Business Meal Mishaps" . The article, which is also published on the Pretty Young Professionals website, shares advice on how to conduct yourself professionally during a business meal.


For more etiquette information from Diane Gottsman herself, please take a look at:

The Protocol School of Texas Website

Diane Gottsman's Blog

Protocol School of Texas on Facebook

Dressing for success!

So it's the night before your BIG interview and your nerves are running high.  You've gone over everything 10 times to make sure it's right. You've researched the company - check!  You've practiced the possible questions - check!  Your portfolio is ready - check!  Now it's time to plan what you are going to wear. How important is your dress you ask? It's huge!  First impressions are powerful. Your dress is one of the first things the interviewer will see and judge you by. What you wear says a lot about you and your preparation for the interview. Although having the best outfit may not necessarily get you the job, wearing the wrong outfit can certainly hurt your chances.

Tips to help you dress for sucess:

Tip #1

Pick your best dark or gray suit. Ensure you wear matching slacks.  Women, if you choose to wear a skirt, please make sure it is knee-length. Suits are professional and convey the impression that you know what you are doing. Wear a solid button-down shirt - preferably white or ivory. Ensure that your clothes are clean and pressed.

Tip #2

Men should wear a tie. The design should not be too busy - a simple solid, stripe, or small pattern will do.

Tip #3

Women should keep their make-up conservative. Bright colored lipstick and smokey eyes are a definite "no, no"! Long, fancy, decorative nails may be cool when hanging with friends, but they are not appropriate for an interview.

Tip #4

Wear clean shoes and polish them the night before if you can. Shoes should not show excessive wear and tear. If you need to get a new pair it is advisable to do so. Women should wear moderate to low heels in dark colors.

Tip #5

Good grooming is very important and this includes taking a shower, brushing your teeth, and combing your hair. Your nails must be clean and trimmed and all hair, facial or otherwise, should be neatly kept.

Tip #6

Jewelry should be kept at a minimum. A watch or wedding ring is acceptable. Refrain from wearing bangles or large distracting earrings. Men should avoid wearing earrings all together as some employers may not view them favorably.

Tip #7

No matter how wonderful it may smell, please do not wear too much cologne or perfume. It may be distracting and your interviewer might be allergic.

 - Content modified from Job Choices 2011

Etiquette Tips for Communicating Professionally


Email Etiquette in the Workplace

As a student, communicating is as easy as sending a text to a friend to let them know you will "ttyl " or you'll "brb". You may spend hours online using net lingo on facebook or on your smart phone sending SMS. As "gr8" as this new wave of communicating may be, your new employer more than likely will not approve of this kind of lingo. So, before your new boss tells you you've "g2g" here are a few MISTAKES TO AVOID when using email in the workplace:


  • Sending messages in all caps - when you type in ALL CAPS this means you are yelling at your receiver. If you would like to highlight your point please bold or underline instead.
  • Sending messages in all lower case - Be safe and follow grammar rules. Use capital letters when appropriate, such as, at the beginning of all sentences and with names of a person, animal, place or thing.
  • Using text lingo such as "np" or "thx 4 meeting" or "Talk to you l8r"-  You may be accustomed to texting and facebooking, however in the work environment it is best to make use of the formal english languauge when communicating. Your boss and collegues may not appreciate or understand "text speak" so it is a good idea to avoid such communications except in the case where office culture dictates otherwise.
  • Sending long winded emails - Keep your emails consise and to the point.
  • Excessive use of "cc" and "bcc" - Only carbon copy people who need to know about your message.
  • Forwarding jokes, chain e-mail and offensive materials - Avoid forwarding non-work related material to your co-workers no matter how funny you may think they are.
  • Discussing personal issues - It is unprofessional to discuss sensitve personal issues at work.
  • Using subject lines that don't match the email topic - It can be annoying and misleading to read a subject line that does not match up with the body of the email. Remember, if you decide to change the topic of discussion please change the subject line as well.
  • Responding with an angry or sacarstic tone - If you recieve correspondence in an email that is upsetting to you, it is best to wait 24hrs before you respond. Do not respond immediately if you are angry.  Remember when you hit the send button you can't take it back, so think before you send a negative email!  You will thank yourself later!

- Content modified from Job Choices 2011


Texting Etiquette...The Do's and Don'ts by Diane Gottsman, The Protocol School of Texas

There is no doubt that technology has become an expected way of life, and texting has become the primary form of communication for many people, young and old.  Progress is usually followed with etiquette adjustments. 

"Textiquette," which according to is the observance of a commonly held code of courteous text messaging etiquette, is becoming more and more common in today's techno-oriented world.   Regardless of your age, your business status or your social standing, there is a time and place for technology.


  1. Text while in mid-conversation with another person. Carrying on a text conversation with your girlfriend while discussing a project with your professor is grounds for an F (or at least a C-).
  2. Text during a job interview.  Leave your cell phone in your car or turn it off.
  3. Text while driving - ever, NEVER, ever.  It’s not only unsafe to fellow drivers and passengers, IT’S THE LAW.
  4. Assume the person receiving your text knows your tone.  An unfamiliar person may mistake your joke for an insult.
  5. Link several sentences together without punctuation.  In business, keep texts short, concise and grammatically correct.
  6. Use "text speak" when communicating with your boss, a recruiter or your grandmother. LOL may be misunderstood as "Lots of Love" by a different generation.
  7. Substitute a text for a business letter or a thank you note.  Handwritten correspondence is always best.
  8. Cancel an appointment over a text (unless it is absolutely necessary).  Better yet, pick up the telephone and make the call personally.
  9. Text in the wee hours of the morning. Just because you're up late and working doesn't mean that the recipient of your message is awake and doing the same.  
  10. Text during a wedding, funeral, church service or movie.  Turn your cell phone off or better yet, leave it in the car.
  11. Break up with a significant other. A serious conversation deserves a face-to-face meeting.


  1. Text to let a colleague or boss know that you are running late to a lunch meeting.  A text is preferable to a call in a noisy restaurant.
  2. Familiarize yourself with "text-speak".  Stay away from obscure combinations or sentences that have more abbreviations than words.
  3. Be patient.  Life is busy and you may not receive an immediate response to your text.
  4. Keep your texts brief and to the point.  A rambling text message can be confusing and frustrating.
  5. Keep in mind that text messages are not private.  Do not text anything you would not like re-read by another person.
  6. Use common sense.  If your gut tells you that you shouldn't be texting at a particular time, more than likely you are absolutely correct.