What’s Your Business EQ (Etiquette Quotient)?

Published: Jan 24, 2019
Modified: Aug 16, 2023

Test your workplace manners with this “Busiquiz” to see just how fast you will be “smoothing” your way up the ladder of success.

Read each statement and write down “true” or “false” for each. Then check the answers below to gauge your climb.

The Quiz

  1. When shaking hands in business, a man should wait for a woman to extend her hand before offering his.
  2. When introducing business people, say the name of the most important or senior person first.
  3. When talking on the phone, your tone of voice counts more than your words.
  4. The first place to go when you arrive at a business/social function is the bar.
  5. Women may remain seated to shake hands in business.
  6. Business casual means dressing down one notch from business professional.
  7. You should always use a subject header when sending an e-mail message.
  8. The guest decides when to start talking business during the meal.
  9. If the information on your business card is incorrect, draw a line through it and write the correct information on the card.
  10. If you can’t remember someone’s name, don’t attempt an introduction.
  11. Handwritten notes are out of place in the business world.
  12. Name badges are worn on the right shoulder.
  13. A woman’s handbag, if small, may be placed on the boardroom table.
  14. Small talk is not appropriate in a business environment.
  15. In today’s relaxed business environment, it is not necessary to ask your clients’ permission before using their first names.

 Grade Yourself

  1. False. It is no longer necessary for a man to wait for a woman to extend her hand. In business, everybody shakes hands regardless of gender or age.
  2. True. Always say the name of the most important person first or the name of the person you wish to honor. Follow that with “I’d like to introduce...” or “I’d like to introduce you to...”.
  3. True. Studies show that 70% of your message is conveyed by your tone of voice and 30% by your actual words. It’s not what you say but the way you say it that counts.
  4. False. No matter how hard your day was, resist the urge to go straight to the bar. After all, these business/social functions are more about business than eating and drinking.
  5. False. A woman who remains seated to shake hands in business appears to lack confidence. She sends a message that she is not as important as the people who are standing.
  6. True. Business casual did not start out as an excuse to wear your favorite old clothes to the office. It is still business, and you should always look professional.
  7. True. Why would anyone want to open an e- mail message with “no subject”? You always want to give the recipient a reason to read your message.
  8. False. The host is the one who decides when to end the small talk and get down to business. As a rule, the business discussion begins after everyone has ordered so the conversation will not be interrupted.
  9. False. Have new cards printed as soon as possible. Handing out outdated business cards sends a poor message.
  10. False. Always make the introduction. Everyone notices when you try to avoid it and will suspect that you can’t remember the other person’s name anyway. The best thing to do in this situation is to confess your loss of memory, beg forgiveness, and ask for the person’s name.
  11. False. Handwritten notes are very impressive. They give the idea that you went to extra effort, whether this is true or not.
  12. True. The right side is the correct side. Since you shake hands with your right hand, the eye naturally travels to the right shoulder.
  13. False. The only objects that belong on the boardroom table are those that are necessary for the meeting.
  14. False. Small talk is the basis for building and maintaining relationships in business.
  15. False. While most people prefer to be called by their first name, use titles and last names until you are told otherwise.

What’s Your Score?

Give yourself one point for each correct answer. If your score is 13 points or higher, you are speeding up the ladder of success.
If you earned between 9 and 12 points, you’ll most likely make it to the top.
If you scored 8 or below, chances are that you can climb the ladder, but you won’t make it all the way to the top. Now is the time sign up for my FREE business ettiquette tips.

About The Author(s)

American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.