American Business Etiquette

Proper business etiquette should be used in the workplace every day.
Proper business etiquette should be used in the workplace every day. (Image: "CEO Face" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: rogerimp (Roger Braunstein) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Many American companies are characterized as having high professionalism. Proper business etiquette reflects your personal professionalism, as well as showing respect to the company that you work for. Business etiquette in America not only applies to your behavior, but your appearance as well.

Men's Clothing

Business suits with ties are always appropriate attire for men in major cities. Dark colored suits are more appropriate than bright colors--black, gray and navy blue. Informal dress shirts can be worn under suits in various colors, but for a formal look a white dress shirt should be chosen.

Women's Clothing

Women should wear pant suits, dress suits or a dress that goes below the knees. Classic colors like navy, gray, white, brown or ivory will give you a confident and professional appearance. Jeans and shorts should never be worn.


Business meetings can be arranged any time of day. Breakfast and luncheon meetings should be attended wearing normal business attire. During dinner meetings you can wear more personal style clothing, such as brighter colors, while still appearing professional.


Always start off with a firm handshake upon greeting a new person and leaving them. Maintain eye contact when you are speaking with them. A business card may be exchanged when you depart.


Permission must always be asked before you light a cigarette or cigar. You should always say "thank you," "excuse me" and "please" during conversation.

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