Professional Etiquette

The Second Stitch Professional Etiquette course guides employees through the fundamental aspects of professional success, covering professional etiquette, effective communication, workplace behavior, professional appearance, and career advancement. Topics include email etiquette, teamwork, dress codes, and building a positive reputation. Through practical activities and reflection questions, individuals can apply these principles to enhance their professional skills and advance their careers. 


Definition of Professional Etiquette 

Professional etiquette refers to the set of norms, behaviors, and manners expected in a workplace setting. It encompasses the unwritten rules that govern professional conduct and interactions. It goes beyond job-specific skills and is a crucial component of building a positive and lasting impression in the workplace. 

Some common examples of professional etiquette are:  

  • Email Etiquette: Using a professional email address; clearly stating the purpose in the subject line; using proper grammar and punctuation.  

  • Punctuality: Arriving on time for meetings and work; communicating in advance if you’ll be late or absent. 

  • Teamwork and Collaboration: Acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of team members; be open to collaboration and compromise.  

  • Meeting Etiquette: Come prepared and participate actively; avoid dominating discussions or being overly passive.  

  • Inclusivity: Include everyone in workplace activities; foster an inclusive and diverse environment.  

Importance of Professional Etiquette 

Professional etiquette is essential for several reasons:  

  • Building credibility and trust: Demonstrating professional behavior instills confidence in colleagues, superiors, and clients. It creates a sense of trust and credibility, which are fundamental for career advancement. 

  • Effective communication: Proper professional etiquette facilitates effective communication. It ensures that your messages are clear, respectful, and well-received, leading to better collaboration and understanding in the workplace. 

  • Career advancement: Individuals who consistently exhibit professional etiquette are more likely to be considered for promotions and career opportunities. A positive professional image can open doors to new responsibilities and leadership roles. 

  • Workplace harmony: Professional etiquette contributes to a positive and harmonious work environment. Respecting the needs and boundaries of others fosters a collaborative workplace culture. 

How Professional Behavior Contributes to Career Success 

  • First Impressions Matter: People often form opinions within the first few minutes of meeting someone. Professional etiquette helps in creating a positive first impression, setting the tone for successful professional relationships. 

  • Enhanced Networking Opportunities: Building a professional network is crucial for career growth. Proper etiquette in networking events and professional gatherings can lead to valuable connections and opportunities. 

  • Conflict Resolution: In any workplace, conflicts may arise. Professional behavior equips individuals with the skills to handle conflicts diplomatically and seek resolutions that benefit all parties involved. 

  • Long-Term Success: While technical skills are vital, long-term success in a career often hinges on how well one can navigate the social and professional aspects of the workplace. Professional etiquette is a key factor in sustained success. 

In conclusion, understanding and practicing professional etiquette is not just a set of arbitrary rules; it is a strategic approach to career success. By embodying professional behavior, individuals can create a positive work environment, build meaningful professional relationships, and pave the way for a successful and fulfilling career journey. 


Building Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem 

  • Acknowledge and Celebrate Achievements: Recognize your accomplishments, no matter how small. This reinforces a positive self-image and builds confidence.  

  • Positive Affirmations: Develop a habit of positive self-talk. Replace self-doubt with affirmations that reinforce your abilities and potential.  

  • Learn from Setbacks: Embrace a growth mindset. View challenges as opportunities to learn and grow, rather than as failures.  

  • Develop Competence: Enhance your skills and knowledge in areas relevant to your career. Competence needs confidence.  

Setting Realistic Career Goals 

  • Self-Assessment: Reflect on your strengths, weaknesses, interests and values. Understand yourself to align your goals with your aspirations.  

  • Short-Term and Long-Term Goals: Differentiate between short-term and long-term goals. Short-term goals provide stepping stones toward larger objectives.  

  • SMART Criteria: Ensure your goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound [SMART]. This increases the likelihood of success.  

  • Flexibility and Adaptability: Remain open to adjusting your goals based on changing circumstances. Flexibility enhances resilience in the face of challenges.  

  • Seek Mentorship: Connect with mentors who can provide guidance and insights to help you refine and achieve your career goals.  

In summary, building self-confidence involves acknowledging achievements, using positive affirmations, learning from setbacks, and developing competence. Setting realistic career goals requires self-assessment, differentiating between short-term and long-term goals, using SMART criteria, embracing flexibility, and seeking mentorship. These practices empower you to navigate your professional journey.  

Reflection Questions:  

How do you react to setbacks in your career journey? Is there room for improvement in embracing a growth mindset? 

Consider your current career goals. Are they SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-Bound)? If not, how can you make them more specific and achievable? 

Reflect on your current network. Are there potential mentors you can connect with? What qualities are you looking for in a mentor? 


Identify one area of professional etiquette you want to improve and outline specific steps to enhance your behavior in that area.  

Identify a potential networking opportunity. Plan how you will apply professional etiquette to enahnce your networking experience.  

Develop three positive affirmations tailored to your professional goals; outline how you will integrate them into your daily routine.  

Reach out to one individual whom you admire professionally and express your interest in establishing a mentorship relationship. 


Verbal and Non-Verbal Communication 

Effective communication is a cornerstone of professional success, involving both verbal and non-verbal aspects.  

Verbal Communication 

  • Use clear and concise language.  

  • Avoid jargon and use terminology appropriate for your audience.  

  • Practice enunciation and modulation to enhance clarity.  

Non-Verbal Communication 

  • Maintain eye-contact to convey confidence and attentiveness.  

  • Pay attention to body language- such as posture and gestures. 

  • Be mindful of facial expressions to ensure alignment with your message.  

Active Listening Techniques 

Active listening is crucial for understanding and responding effectively in professional interactions.  


  • Summarize and repeat key points to confirm understanding.  

  • Use paraphrasing to demonstrate engagement and interest. 

Asking Clarifying Questions 

  • Seek clarification to ensure a complete understanding.  

  • Encourage open dialogue by asking questions that prompt further discussion. 

Reflective Responses 

  • Provide feedback by reflecting on what has been said.  

  • Mirror the speaker's emotions to convey empathy. 


Proper E-mail Formatting and Tone 

Clear and Concise Subject Lines 

  • Craft subject lines that clearly indicate the purpose of the email.  

  • Ensure subject lines are specific and relevant to the content. 

Professional Greeting and Closing 

  • Use appropriate greetings based on the level of formality.  

  • Sign off with a professional closing that matches the tone of the email. 

Body of the E-mail 

  • Structure the body of the email with a clear introduction, main content, and conclusion.  

  • Use short paragraphs and bullet points for readability. 

Tone and Language 

  • Maintain a professional and respectful tone.  

  • Avoid the use of all caps, excessive exclamation points, or negative language. 

Guidelines for Professional Email Communication 

Timely Responses 

  • Respond to emails in a timely manner, acknowledging receipt when necessary.  

  • Clearly communicate if more time is needed to provide a comprehensive response. 


  • Thoroughly proofread emails to correct grammar and spelling errors.  

  • Ensure clarity and coherence of the message. 

Use of CC and BCC 

  • Clearly define recipients in the "To," "CC," and "BCC" fields. 

  • Exercise discretion in carbon copying to avoid unnecessary emails. 

Attachment Etiquette 

  • Clearly label and reference attachments in the body of the email.  

  • Ensure that the attached files are relevant and necessary for the recipient. 

Respect and Privacy 

  • Be mindful of sensitive information and avoid sharing confidential details in emails.  

  • Use appropriate channels for discussing sensitive matters. 

In summary, effective communication skills involve mastering both verbal and non-verbal aspects, along with active listening techniques. Email etiquette, on the other hand, requires attention to proper formatting, tone, and adherence to guidelines for professional communication. By honing these skills, individuals can enhance their professional interactions and contribute to a positive and effective work environment. 

Reflection Questions:  

How can you become more aware of your non-verbal cues and ensure they align with your intended message? 

In what situations can you practice reflective responses to build a more empathetic communication style? 

What aspect of communication skills do you feel most confident in, and why? 

Identify one area for improvement in your communication skills and outline specific steps to address it. 


Compose a professional email addressing a hypothetical work scenario. 


Importance of Being on Time 

Punctuality is a key aspect of workplace behavior that significantly impacts professional impressions and overall productivity. 

Professional Impressions 

  • Arriving on time for meetings and work projects

  • Being punctual demonstrates respect for colleagues and the organization. 

Productivity and Efficiency 

  • Punctuality contributes to the smooth flow of work processes and ensures tasks are completed efficiently.  

  • Timeliness fosters a positive work environment by reducing stress and promoting a sense of order. 

Communicating Effectively about Absences 

Clear and timely communication regarding absences is crucial for maintaining workplace transparency and productivity. 

Advanced Notification 

  • Notify relevant parties in advance if you anticipate being late or absent.  

  • Provide a brief explanation and an estimated time of arrival or return. 

Professional Channels 

  • Use appropriate communication channels, such as email or company-approved platforms, to inform supervisors and colleagues.  

  • Clearly state the reason for the absence and any necessary follow-up actions. 


Working Harmoniously with Colleagues 

Effective teamwork is essential for achieving organizational goals and creating a positive work environment. 

Acknowledging Contributions 

  • Recognize and appreciate the contributions of team members.


  • Publicly acknowledge individual achievements to boost morale. 

Open Communication 

  • Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing ideas and concerns.


  • Encourage open dialogue to facilitate effective collaboration. 

Respecting Diversity 

  • Embrace and celebrate diversity within the team.  

  • Understand and appreciate different working styles, perspectives, and backgrounds. 

Resolving Conflicts Professionally 

Conflict is a natural part of workplace dynamics. Learning to address and resolve conflicts professionally is crucial for maintaining a healthy work environment. 

Active Listening 

  • Practice active listening to fully understand the perspectives of those involved in the conflict.  

  • Avoid making assumptions and seek clarification when necessary. 

Effective Communication 

  • Communicate your perspective and concerns without being confrontational.  

  • Use "I" statements to express feelings and thoughts rather than placing blame. 

Collaborative Solutions 

  • Work together with the parties involved to find mutually agreeable solutions.  

  • Identify compromises and common goals to build a foundation for resolution. 


Reflection Questions:  

What strategies can you implement to ensure advanced notification and effective communication about your absences? 

Recall a moment when your contributions were acknowledged. How did it boost your morale and motivation? 

What specific actions can you take to foster an environment where team members feel comfortable expressing ideas and concerns? 

Reflect on a time when the diverse perspectives within your team contributed to a creative solution. How did different backgrounds enhance the outcome? 

Reflect on a conflict that was successfully resolved through collaborative solutions. What compromises were made, and how did they benefit all parties involved? 


Identify a task or project where punctuality could enhance efficiency. Develop a plan to consistently contribute to its smooth flow. 

Initiate a team-building activity that encourages open communication, such as a brainstorming session or collaborative project. 

Take the initiative to propose collaborative solutions in a current or potential conflict situation, emphasizing compromise and common goals. 


Understanding and Adhering to Workplace Dress Code 

Workplace dress codes play a vital role in maintaining a professional atmosphere and projecting a positive corporate image. 

Company Policies 

  • Familiarize yourself with your company's dress code policies outlined in employee handbooks or guidelines.  

  • Understand specific requirements for different occasions, such as casual Fridays or formal events. 

Professional Attire 

  • Dress appropriately for your role, considering industry norms and the expectations of your position.  

  • Pay attention to details like appropriate lengths, fits, and accessories that align with the dress code. 

Dressing for Success and Professionalism 

Dressing for success goes beyond mere adherence to a dress code; it involves using attire to convey competence and professionalism. 

First Impressions 

  • Recognize the impact of first impressions based on appearance in professional settings.  

  • Consider how your clothing choices contribute to the initial perception of your competence and dedication. 

Adapting to Occasions 

  • Learn to adapt your attire to different professional occasions, demonstrating an understanding of appropriate dress standards.

  • Understand the significance of dress codes in various professional settings, such as client meetings or networking events. 

Importance of Personal Hygiene 

Personal hygiene is an integral part of maintaining a professional appearance and contributing to a positive work environment. 

Daily Personal Care 

  • Daily routines, including showering, oral hygiene, and skincare; are essential. 

  • Personal hygiene has a major impact on individual confidence and workplace interactions. 

Clothing Maintenance 

  • Clean and well-maintained clothing is essential in maintaining a professional appearance.  

  • Implement effective laundry practices to ensure garments are presentable and in good condition. 

Maintaining Professional Appearance 

The overall impression of professionalism is a combination of attire, grooming, and personal demeanor. 

Consistency in Appearance 

  • Strive for consistency in your appearance, aligning with the expectations set by your workplace.  

  • Pay attention to grooming practices as part of a routine that supports a polished and professional look. 

Professionalism Beyond Attire 

  • Recognize that professionalism extends beyond clothing to behaviors, attitude, and how you carry yourself in the workplace. 

  • Well-groomed appearance contributes to a positive work culture. 

Reflection Questions:  

Reflect on a situation where your attire positively influenced a professional interaction. How did it contribute to your success? 

What specific aspects of the dress code are most relevant to your role, and how can you ensure compliance? 

How does personal hygiene impact your self-confidence and overall workplace interactions? 

Reflect on the consistency of your appearance in the workplace. In what ways can you align your appearance more closely with workplace expectations? 

What steps can you take to extend your professionalism beyond clothing, positively influencing workplace behaviors and attitudes? 


Identify one upcoming professional event and plan your attire carefully to align with industry norms and your position's expectations. 

Revise your daily personal care routine, incorporating specific steps to enhance well-being and confidence. 

Identify one specific behavior that contributes to a positive work culture. Integrate it into your daily interactions to positively influence workplace dynamics. 


The Impact of a Positive Professional Reputation 

A positive professional reputation is a powerful asset that can significantly contribute to career advancement. 

Trust and Credibility 

  • Trust and credibility are directly linked to a positive professional reputation through consistent and reliable behavior, ethical conduct, effective communication, relationship building, accountability, and positive contributions to the team. 

  • A good reputation plays a pivotal role in building lasting relationships with colleagues, superiors, and clients by fostering trust, credibility, and a positive perception that contributes to effective communication, collaboration, and professional interactions. 

Career Opportunities 

  • A positive reputation is directly connected to the potential for career advancement as it instills trust, enhances credibility, and opens doors to new responsibilities and leadership opportunities, making individuals more likely to be considered for promotions and professional growth. 

  • A strong reputation can open doors to new responsibilities, leadership roles, and professional opportunities by establishing an individual's credibility, fostering trust, and creating a positive perception among colleagues and superiors, making them more likely to be entrusted with higher-level responsibilities and career advancement. 

Strategies for Building and Maintaining a Good Reputation 

Building and maintaining a positive reputation requires intentional effort and consistent behavior. 

Consistency in Actions 

  • Consistently demonstrating professionalism, reliability, and ethical behavior is crucial as it builds trust, enhances credibility, and establishes a positive professional reputation, laying the foundation for sustained career success and advancement.  

  • Some specific actions that align with building a positive reputation in the workplace include consistent timeliness, transparent and honest communication and collaborative team contributions. 

Effective Communication 

  • Clear and respectful communication contributes to a positive professional image by fostering understanding, building trust, and showcasing professionalism, enhancing one's reputation in the workplace.  

  • Some strategies for communicating effectively with colleagues, superiors, and clients to enhance your reputation include active listening, clarity in messages and professional tone. 


Importance of Feedback for Personal and Professional Growth  

Feedback is a valuable tool for personal and professional development, providing insights for improvement. 


  • The role of feedback is to enhance self-awareness by providing insights into strengths and areas for improvement, fostering personal and professional growth.  

  • Self-awareness contributes to personal and professional growth by enabling individuals to recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and areas for development, fostering informed decision-making and continuous improvement. 

Adaptability and Learning 

  • Seeking feedback fosters an attitude of adaptability and a commitment to continuous learning by encouraging individuals to embrace change, adjust their strategies based on insights, and proactively develop new skills for ongoing improvement.  

  • Embracing feedback is a key factor in staying relevant and competitive in the professional landscape. 

Strategies for Seeking and Accepting Constructive Criticism 

Effectively seeking and accepting constructive criticism is an essential skill for professional growth. 

Proactive Feedback Requests 

  • Proactively seek feedback from colleagues, superiors, and mentors.  

  • The value of specific and targeted feedback in addressing areas for improvement lies in its ability to provide focused, actionable insights, facilitating intentional and effective personal and professional development. 

Active Listening and Reflective Responses 

  • Develop active listening skills to fully comprehend feedback provided by others. You have already done this by completing the Second Stitch Communications course.  

  • Practicing reflective responses demonstrates a commitment to understanding and implementing constructive criticism. 

Reflection Questions:  

How has your positive professional reputation contributed to your current relationships with colleagues, superiors, and clients? 

Can you identify specific instances where your positive reputation has opened doors to new responsibilities or leadership opportunities in your career? 

How has feedback, whether positive or constructive, influenced your personal and professional growth so far? 

How comfortable are you with proactively seeking feedback? What steps can you take to improve your approach in soliciting constructive criticism? 


Arrange a feedback session with a trusted colleague. Discuss your strengths and areas for improvement, seeking insights on how you can enhance your professional reputation. 

Engage in a self-reflection exercise. Identify three strengths and three areas for improvement. Develop an action plan to leverage your strengths and address the identified areas. 


More Materials 

Directory of Business Etiquette Resources 

8 Tips for Crafting the Perfect Business E-mail 

What’s the Best Way to Build Trust at Work? 

9 Tips for Maintaining a Professional Workplace Appearance