Etiquette: do’s and don’ts for corporate events - The Innsider - Inntel Hotels

Etiquette: do’s and don’ts for corporate events

What is the proper conduct for a corporate party? When can you start eating? What is the best time to hand someone your business card? In this article we’ll give you some do’s and don’ts for corporate events. This way you can make a good impression.

Corporate party

One of the best ways to get to know your co-workers is a corporate party. Do try to keep in mind that it’s still a corporate environment. Make sure you had enough to eat and limit yourself to a maximum of two alcoholic drinks. This way you can ensure you’re not the subject of Monday morning gossip. When being served with drinks and bites grab them with your left hand. Your right hand is reserved for shaking hands and you don’t want others to shake your greasy hand.

Food & drinks

In many countries you wish each other a pleasant meal. In the upper class this is frowned upon. The meal was prepared with care and certainly doesn’t need any well-wishes.

Don’t start eating or drinking as soon as you’ve been served. The first person to eat is the host. They might want to make a toast before starting the meal. Once they’ve taken their first bite or sip you can start as well. Take your time when eating and adjust your pace to the rest of the table. Don’t place your elbows on the table during a meal. Instead rest your wrists on the table. This will improve your posture.

Visit the restroom before the meal starts. Getting up during a meal is impolite. When asking for directions ask for the restroom or where you can wash your hands. We wouldn’t advise the following question. “Where is the toilet?” And ladies you might not want to ask where you can powder your nose. (Especially in Amsterdam.)

Business cards

When meeting someone new consider what you might be able to mean to each other. Only give someone your business card if you see the benefits of the connection. Use the end of the conversation to exchange business cards. Try asking “Do you have my contact info?” or “Would you like my business card?” When accepting a business card make sure to take a look at it and to put it away neatly. Don’t put it in your back pocket. Someone took time and effort into making it. Make sure your own business cards are also handled with care. It is the way you represent yourself after all.

Fun fact: In Asian countries presenting someone with a business card is almost a ceremony. You present the business card with both hands and make a small bow. The person receiving the card accepts the card with both hands, takes a good look at it and thanks the person by name. There’s a chance you won’t do it the right way. But don’t worry Asians find this rather amusing.


Business calls are made on weekdays between 08:00 a.m. and 21:00 p.m. Never call during the weekend, while eating or when you’re in a meeting. The first thing you ask is whether it is a convenient time. If not you make an appointment for a later time. If the connection is lost, proper etiquette dictates that the caller calls again. This prevents voicemails back and forth.

Hotels & restaurants

When you’ve made a reservation you make your appointment or you cancel well in advance. It is inappropriate to yell or snap your fingers at the staff. No matter how many rooms you’ve booked. Make eye-contact and raise your hand. When you’ve been served nod and thank the person.

If you’ve slept in a hotel you might want to bring a souvenir. So what can you take with you? Taking the shampoo and soaps from the bathroom is more than okay. However, taking the bathrobe and slippers is a no-go.

“Customer is only king when he behaves like a gentleman”, according to etiquette and protocol advisor Jan Jaap van Weering.

Foreign etiquette. Keep in mind..

  • In Japan it’s very unusual to call someone by their first name. Even people who’ve known each other for years use last names.
  • Does an Arabian business partner offer you their hand? Take it! Arabian men consider walking hand in hand a sign of friendship. It will certainly help your business deal.
  • In Nigeria raising your thumb is considered a rude gesture. So if you want to say okay don’t use your thumb.
  • Never use white, black or yellow wrapping paper when bringing someone a gift in China. These colours are associated with death and aggression.
  • In Russia you don’t give someone an even number of flowers. Only at funerals even-numbered bouquets are used. In any other case the flowers will be declined.

We think you’re ready for your next event or meeting. Do you need to organise one? You can’t go wrong with an event at Inntel Hotels!

Sources: Distinguished – Jan Jaap van Weering, Goede Manieren – Butler Laurens.