The list of how you should behave at work is very long and includes a whole lot of cultural expectations. However, here are some basic rules that you should observe when dealing with people at work.

Introducing yourself with a handshake
When you first meet a new person, you will be assessed before you even speak a word. With a steady handshake, you are conveying your sincerity and confidence.

  • Prior to a handshake, begin with a verbal introduction of yourself. Extending your hand without a voice greeting may give the impression that you are nervous or aggressive.
  • A firm handshake with a genuine smile and eye contact is a good handshake. While a limp handshake is never a good idea, squeezing someone’s hand too hard is not the right way either.
  • If you happen to shake a sweaty hand, do not wipe your hands on your clothes, handkerchief, or tissue immediately. This will further embarrass the party, who is probably already aware that he has sweaty hands. Instead, be kind and wait till you are out of sight before you wash your hands.

Put your mobile devices away during meetings
It is undeniable that everyone is guilty of stealing a glance at their phones when they shouldn’t be. Mobile devices at meetings can be disruptive.

  • Prior to the meeting, set the expectations regarding the use of mobile devices. Keep your devices switched off or on silent mode.
  • Find out the approximate duration of how long you will be ‘offline’ beforehand as the information will be useful. If possible, take a short break every 45 minutes to an hour to check for urgent calls or messages.
  • If you need to pick up an phone call or deal with an urgent email during the meeting, politely excuse yourself from the meeting room.

Stay calm when dealing with unpleasant phone calls
Occasionally, people call when they are in an emotional state and vent their frustrations on you but it is important that you remain calm.

  • Should you receive a phone call from a rude or demanding person, be patient and do not take it personally. Sometimes people are unpleasant not because they do not like you, but because they need a solution to their problem.
  • Pay attention to the person on the phone and listen to what they are saying. If you are unable to resolve the issue on the spot, apologise and let the person know you will find a solution and call him back soon.
  • No matter what, resist the urge to interrupt and defend yourself when someone gives you a difficult time. Do not start a screaming match. The last thing you should do is escalate the situation further by shouting back at the person.
  • At the end of the call, remember to sincerely thank the caller. This is an indication of your professionalism.


Effective communication and good manners come hand in hand. No matter who you are and where you come from, communication skills and business etiquette are essential. Without them, you will not be able to establish and maintain business relationships, which are detrimental to your career.


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