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Rules of Business Etiquette

Ditch the gum. Mind your spelling. If you want to make a good impression, it's time to get professional.

This story appears in the March 2003 issue of Teen Startups.

In my previous columns, I have stressed that any teen cansucceed in the business world, as long as you don't behave likea typical teenager. Yes, this is a world foreign to many teenagers,where the word "dude" generally doesn't fly, anddead-fish handshakes are a sign of immaturity. This column willlook at etiquette skills that can lead to professional success (orat least acknowledgement as a competent peer) in the businessworld.

While many people preaching proper business etiquette start byexplaining introductions in a meeting, how to tip at a restaurantand such, I am an adamant believer that good business etiquettestarts before any face-to-face interactions. The single mostimportant thing you can do to come across as a professional andpolite businessperson is to master outstanding etiquette skillsduring pre-meeting communications. In e-mails, it is crucial thatyou address the recipient every time with a "Dear Mr.Doe:" and sign it with a salutation such as "Very trulyyours." Proofreading your e-mails and not "shouting"with excessive use of capital letters is important. In voice-mailmessages, always speak slowly and repeat your name and number atthe beginning and end of the message.

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