Business Etiquette: It’s More than Just Saying “Please” and “Thanks”

Note: This article first appeared in Young Leader, the newsletter of the Vancouver Board of Trade‘s Leaders of Tomorrow program. To learn more about this mentorship program, please visit the official website.

Leaders of Tomorrow Development Night

On November 16, 2010, members of Vancouver Board of Trade’s LOT and CYP programs had the unique opportunity to hear from a Carey McBeth, Vancouver’s leading etiquette and protocol trainer. The purpose of the development night was to create awareness on proper etiquette for business norms and networking events.

Carey brings a wealth of knowledge to each presentation and has been featured or quoted in numerous national and international publications. Carey has appeared on a variety of national and local television shows including CBC Newsworld, Global Television, and CTV News.

During the course of the workshop, Carey explored various topics, including making a great impression, working the room during a networking event, and introducing yourself to others. Here are a few helpful tips from Carey’s presentation.

  • Listen with your eyes. Business in North America demands that you make eye contact with the other person. Eye contact communicates to people that they have your full attention. You should strive for direct eye contact 60 percent of the time. Anything more might be intimidating, and anything less might be perceived as disinterested.
  • Shake hands firmly.  A good handshake (web-to-web and from the elbow) reveals confidence and conveys positive feelings. Always shake hands, especially when introduced to a person or saying goodbye.
  • Introduce yourself properly. In addition to your first and last name, state where you work and some information about what you do. This will help build your personal brand and entice further conversation.
  • Strive to become a great host. When inviting potential clients or other business associates for meals, pay attention to the details. Arrive early, and see that the bill is not brought to the table.
  • Smile! Carey emphasized the importance of a genuine smile. In any situation — business or otherwise — giving a warm, genuine smile is almost sure to make others like you.

The message of the night was clear: etiquette and protocol are essential skills in today’s business world. The many insights that participants learned will be helpful at professional functions like those with the Vancouver Board of Trade, and even in social situations in one’s personal life.

The Vancouver Board of Trade would like to thank Carey for sharing her expertise and SFU Business for kindly hosting the session. To learn more about  Carey McBeth please visit and to learn more about all programs offered by SFU Business please visit

Photo credit: Leaders of Tomorrow website

Why Students Should Attend Meetups

Why Students Should Attend Meetups

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One of the things that kept me busy these past few months was attending meetups. For those not familiar with what a meetup is, it’s basically “an arranged informal meeting” around a pre-determined topic.

When I talk about meetups with most of my fellow students, I usually get the deer in the headlights look.  It’s an alien idea. Something intimidating.

But there are many reasons why students should attend meetups. I outline a few of them below.


Whatever your interest is, there’s likely a meetup for it. Interested with a career in the non-profit sector? No problem – Net Tuesdays can give you ideas on what non-profits are doing.  Are you an aspiring entrepreneur? The Vancouver Small Business Meetup might be for you.

If you don’t find a meetup that’s of interest to you, you can always start a group and organize one. You don’t need to be an expert to go to these events. In fact, most people are there to get and share information; it’s a great place to learn.


Truth be told, networking is not my primary purpose when I go to meetups, but I do see it as a possibility.  These events attract like-minded professionals, so they are a perfect place to network.

Whenever I go to a meetup, my following on Twitter always increases by at least five.  Now, I’m not saying that each one of those followers will result to an opportunity, but networking is pretty much a game of numbers. The more you connect with, the more possibilities.


Most meetups are free, which is fantastic considering the quality of information you usually get.  Conferences and workshops usually offer student discounts, but you can’t beat free stuff. In the last Third Tuesday meetup, I heard from RichardAtDell, a member of the Dell social media team.   I don’t know any other way you can hear from insightful speakers at no cost.

From my experience, where there’s a small charge for a meetup, the proceeds were given to a charity.


Meetups have a few disadvantages, but all of these are workable. First, there are too many meetups; just check to see how many alternatives there are. There’s  a quick solution for this: Use the “find” feature on Meetup and try several keywords that’s related to your interest. If you’re on Twitter,you can also keep an eye out for what meetups your professional networks are attending.

Some also question the quality of the meetups. As I’ve already said, my experience with meetups so far have been great. If you’re really worried, though, you can check the rating of a meetup before you RSVP.

CONCLUSION: Meetups are a great way to learn new things and meet new people.  If you’re a student, you should take some time from your busy schedule to attend these events. It’s an affordable way to develop your skills and grow your network at the same time.

Ever been to a meetup? I’d love to hear your experiences – share them with me!