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How to Show Common Courtesy During Busy Events

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Some say that common courtesy is a thing of the past. There’s no reason that should be the case. Being considerate of others is something we should all do.

Common courtesy is especially important at business functions and networking events. Set yourself apart from the competition by making an extra effort to show kindness.

Here are just a few ways you can show people that you care.

1. Be Considerate When Greeting

Some people don’t like hugs, whereas others love them. The traditional form of greeting in most Western countries is a hand shake, but that isn’t the case around the world.

When greeting people, keep in mind your relationship. If you know them well, a hug might be appropriate. If you’ve never met before, a handshake or a fistbump is a safer option.

In many European countries, colleagues and acquaintances kiss on the cheeks when greeting each other.

Be careful about kissing. Some countries kiss from left to right whereas others go the opposite direction. If you don’t know which way to go, you’ll end up in the middle.

In Asian countries, it is more appropriate to bow. Here is a list from Diversity Resources on how to greet colleagues around the world.

2. Avoid Controversial Subjects

Debating politics and religion is fine at your dinner table, but it might not be at your host’s.

At a busy event, religion and politics are probably out of place. Unless, of course, it’s a political or religious meeting.

There’s no way of knowing what everyone else will be comfortable talking about, so you have to play this by ear.

There’s always someone at a meeting who’s dying to talk about controversial topics. Other people avoid taboo or personal subjects. Most are in the middle.

If you’re meeting people from a different culture than one you’re accustomed to, take the lead from others. What is appropriate in one country could be taboo or even forbidden in another.

For example, talking about politics is perfectly fine in Europe but not in China. If you notice other people haven’t brought up a subject, stay on the safe side and do the same.

3. Don’t Use Your Cell Phone

Ideally, don’t even bring your cell phone to a meeting. If you have to bring it, turn it on silent and make sure it’s out of sight unless you need it.

Sharing photos of your family or recent trip is appropriate, but texting your best friends or checking your email is rude.

If you need to take a phone call, excuse yourself and step outside. Most people are understanding, but they don’t want to listen to your conversation.

If you know you’re headed to an important meeting, let your friends and family know ahead of time. That way they know they should only contact you if it’s an emergency.

4. Be Considerate of Others

You should be considerate of other people all the time, but you should take extra care at events.

Be particularly careful when it comes to alcohol and other substances. In some cultures drinking is forbidden.

Excessive drinking isn’t advisable anytime, and especially not at busy work functions.

If you’re going to smoke, ask the people around you if it bothers them. If they say yes, be prepared to go outside.

Take extra care when smoking weed since it is possible that your smoking could impact others.

Here’s an article from Veriheal about contact highs. Thankfully, you don’t need to worry about this unless you’re hotboxing a car or a confined space.

5. Follow Up

Technically, following up is something you do after an event.

We all know what it’s like to have someone say they want to go out for coffee but never follow up.

When someone gives you their contact information, make the effort to call or send an email. It won’t take very much time and it will make their day.

If you’re someone’s guest, send them a thank you note and tell them that you had a great time.


Showing common courtesy will show other people that you care. The specific ways you express courtesy can change, but keeping these tips in mind will help.

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