People like their names spelt and pronounced correctly.  In an introduction, if you are not sure, ask for it again.  Do not pretend you have heard it – you may have to introduce him later.   Introduce the senior to the junior, regardless of the gender.  ‘Ladies first’ does not apply in business introductions.  The junior should stand when introduced by a senior to another person.


Greetings like “How do you do” should be returned with “How do you do?”.  If greeted with a “How are you today?”, then you may return with “I’m am fine, thank you!”


When presenting someone to a group, introduce the newcomer to the group, starting with the most senior, e.g. “John, this is Mr Edward Lim, the HR Director” and then go on to the next person.


Your card is an important visual reminder of your meeting, so never be out of it.  When presented, the card should face the other person in the manner that he can read. Take a moment to read the details on the card.  It is an offence to scribble on anyone’s calling card.  Always present your card with two hands.  If you regard the other person as more important, you should always receive his card before presenting yours.


If you are late for your appointments, always apologise.  Any explanation on your part will seem like an excuse.  If you are late for a meeting, apologise for being late and quickly settle down.

If you have to leave early, always let the chairperson know before the start of the meeting so that he is prepared.  When leaving, motion to the chairperson, gather your things quietly, whisper ‘excuse me’ to the person or persons seating next to you and leave.


  • Use an appropriate subject title.
  • Don’t reply to an email message when angry. You may regret it later.  Be polite as terseness can be misinterpreted.
  • Do not use emoticons or smileys such as 🙂 or 🙁 to indicate facial expressions. Use humour sparingly and keep your messages professional.
  • Don’t type big chunks of words in CAPITAL, BOLD PRINT OR IN RED as this is tantamount to SHOUTI
  • Don’t over-use punctuation such as exclamation marks (“!”) as these are meant for emphasis. In particular, avoid more than one exclamation mark especially if your email is more business. Also, over-use of the full-stop (e.g. “….”) can make a message difficult to read.
  • Don’t send large attachments without checking with the recipient first.
  • Don’t send excessive multiple postings to people who have no interest. This is “spamming”.
  • Don’t criticise other writers’ spelling. Many people have no way of running a spell check on their messages and not all nationalities spell words the same way.
  • Don’t conduct arguments in email exchanges.
  • Don’t “flame” people by sending them abusive email messages.
  • Don’t make personal remarks about third parties.
  • Don’t use an over-elaborate signature on your email message. Your signature should not be more than 6 lines.
  • Don’t sign off your emails with “Yours sincerely”. “Best regards” or “Cheers” would be more appropriate.

“What we think, or what we know, or what we believe, is in the end of little consequence. 

The only consequence is what we do.”

- John Ruskin