THE avalanche of warnings to business professionals is gathering momentum every day. As the full force of the global financial crisis hits, tough times loom ahead.

Be ready for job cuts. On top of that, there will be fewer executives who get to realise the dream of winning that coveted promotion. Competition in the workplace is about to get savage.

History tells us that tough economic times raise the anxiety and stress levels of most professionals. Being a survivor can be tough enough without attempting to climb the ladder of success in your job. But showing your potential leadership qualities now is more vital to your professional career than ever before.

So where are the opportunities to rise above the uncertainty of these difficult times? The answer lies in practising powerful business etiquette skills that will let your true colours shine.

Business etiquette is an essential set of guidelines that will help you achieve peak performance every day. Business etiquette skills are essential to get a job, keep it and succeed.

By practising outstanding business etiquette and putting your best image forward, you can give your professional reputation the leading edge - before and after the economy makes a much anticipated recovery.

Are you ready to rise and shine above the stormy weather? The colours of the rainbow will show you how:

Red

This colour signifies a danger zone. Avoid indulging in the sins of office politics, rumour and gossip. Adding bits of information, no matter how insignificant they might seem, often changes a harmless statement into a hot potato. There is already enough anxiety during tough times, so do not feed the rumour mill by contriving and surmising. No-body wants to be at the receiving end of gossip that is vicious and dangerous.

Green

This colour reminds you to go forward with confidence, especially when you need to deal with business associates from abroad. Being well prepared will help you make a lasting impression. Listen carefully, focus on what is being said, be ready to accept business customs instead of judging them, and do not assume that your usual way of doing things is always the best way.

Indigo

This is the colour of positivity. Make it your business to show a more caring and positive attitude in the workplace. Now is the time to build stronger bonds and show more concern for those you work with.

Blue

Blue signifies calmness and responsibility in your communication. Poor communication is the single largest issue in the workplace. The answer to any challenge lies in everyone doing their part to improve communication. So take responsibility for learning how to project good personal skills and build better business relationships.

Yellow

Bright and cheery, yellow is the colour of optimism and acceptance. It reminds you to confront and embrace change - not always the easiest skill in the business etiquette toolbox. Those who view a sideways or downward shift in position as a major setback will find it more difficult to rise triumphantly in the lead-up to the next opportunity. Worse still, they may miss the next opportunity altogether!

Accepting a major change in your role, or having the courage to deal positively with a job loss, will help you in your next phase - your reinvention!

Orange

This is the colour said to make the biggest impact on first impressions. So too does dressing appropriately for your role. Remember that you are selling yourself all day, every day. Being well-groomed and dressing appropriately is an essential ingredient of other people's perception of you. You will feel more confident too, thanks to your newfound professional poise.

Violet

This signifies the colour of friendship and connectedness - and is a good colour to remember when hosting or entertaining business associates. But do keep it relevant to business. Some people make the mistake of thinking that an evening out with work associates or bosses can be treated as a time to kick up their heels as if they were out casually with friends. But the rule remains - business entertaining should be treated like an extra special business meeting.

There is little doubt that applying brilliant business etiquette skills will help provide a boost to your career and allow you to shine in and out of the office.

Even when times are bleak, these all-important guidelines will ensure that you put your best professional face forward every time. You will also attract positive recognition and make your working life much more rewarding.