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Etiquette refers to the conventional requirements of social behavior. Or in more simple terms, it means knowing how to act. Different situations require different types of etiquette. Knowing how to behave in an office is important if you want to set a good example. Those who follow good office etiquette are promoted and given choice assignments. Those who are seen as crass or unkempt are passed over or have their employment terminated. What follows are some office etiquette tips:

1. Though casual dress is more acceptable nowadays, an employee still must look neat. In addition to wearing clean, pressed, "business casual" clothes, one should also be well-groomed. If you're meeting with a client, dress appropriately. In most cases, this means a suit.

2. If you will be eating at your desk, make sure you're not disruptive to others. Foods such as fish or onions emit powerful odors which can distract others and make them feel uncomfortable. In addition, watch noises such as loud chewing and swallowing, crunching and smacking lips.

3. If you're surrounded by others, do try and keep noise to a minimum. Phone calls, especially those of a personal nature, should be handled with a low voice. Never use the speaker phone feature unless others are involved in the conversation. If music is allowed, listen to it at low volume, but avoid the use of a headset as it can keep you from hearing when you're needed by others. When having discussions with other workers, please keep it down so others around you won't get distracted.

4. Avoid taking part in office gossip. No good ever comes from gossip and it only hurts others. If you're seen as someone who is constantly meeting at the water cooler to discuss others, it will look as if you don't have your priorities in order. In addition, your superiors will think twice about sharing confidential information with you.

5. Be conscious of the time. Don't make a habit of being tardy or calling in sick. Do your best to meet deadlines in a timely manner and don't keep others waiting for you.

6. Always be on time and behave appropriately at team meetings. Don't dominate the conversation unless absolutely necessary. Don't interrupt and be sure to give everyone a chance to speak. Don't eat and be sure to turn off cell phones and pagers.

7. Don't "borrow" from others in the office without their knowledge. Don't remove staplers and other items from desks without permission and don't log onto another person's computer unless you've been given the "ok."

8. Be mindful of your behavior. You wouldn't behave the same way in the office as you would in less professional settings. Always be on your best professional behavior.

9. Show respect to those around you. Be a good listener and don't interrupt. Don't talk about others behind their backs or use foul language.

10. Don't be a whiner. No one wants to be around someone who complains all the time. You won't be seen as a team player and your employer is less likely to promote you or give you key projects because of your negativity.

11. Avoid an office romance. It's distracting to you and those around you.

12. Always answer your phone on the second or third ring. Be pleasant to the other party. Never leave anyone on hold for long periods of time without permission.

Complying with popular etiquettes that are prevalent in the region where one is working plays an important role in determining the success level of a person's commercial endeavour. People around the world follow certain etiquettes relating to big business issues and even issues as small as designing a business card. Following customary decorum for smallest details in a business matters pave ways to success. An act of designing business cards according to prevalent protocol in the region leaves a lasting impression on the recipient of the card. Business card is the first introduction about a person himself and his business. Paying due attention on the presentation and design of business card can never be over emphasized. Great art and excellent skill is required to design an eye-catching business card that would fetch great commercial opportunities.

Being familiar with business etiquette around the world makes it easy for a person to feel at home and be confident in his business dealings even on foreign land. The process starts from knowing and practising popular etiquette of business card design. Different parts of world have varying rules about visiting card etiquette. What may be highly desirable in one region might be least significant in other areas. But one needs to know about the popular convention before one could follow it. Some general rules are commonly accepted worldwide.

Business cards internationally are a means of representing one's business contact details. Though good business etiquette promotes business opportunities it is not the only deciding factor in a business relation. While a person is travelling to different parts of the world, having the opposite side of the business card translated to the native language of the region speaks volumes about his concern for business dealings in that area. Business cards could be exchanged at the beginning or at the end of any commercial meeting. When receiving a visiting card of the person one is expected to comment on it and also clarify any curiosity relating to it before putting the card away.

About different specific etiquettes prevalent in various parts of the world, UK has very relaxed rules for business cards. Though such cards are expected to be clean and presentable it is not compulsory to hand over business cards to every person you meet in the UK.

On the contrary the Japanese think that business cards are very important, hence high quality cards are desirable here. Business cards should be accepted as courteously as one would receive a person. The card must contain the title of the person as great importance is given to status and hierarchy in Japan. It can be handed over by one hand but should always be received with two hands.

In China having Chinese characters on the business card printed in gold is considered a good etiquette, as gold is a fortunate colour. Translating the card should be done in suitable Chinese language, Cantonese or Mandarin. Favourable points about your company, like if it is the largest or oldest must be specifically mentioned on the card also while offering it the card it must be held by both hands. Scribbling on someone else's card is indeed a resentful act.