Do you find conferences intimidating and sometimes even a bit overwhelming? Don’t worry, you’re not alone! There are awkward icebreakers, poor eye contact in general and the jitters while approaching a room full of strangers. So, how do you stand out and make a first impression?

Social etiquette practices will teach you how to confidently navigate all kinds of social situations. Read on to see what does and doesn’t work while trying to make a lasting first impression.  Let’s start by understanding what social etiquette is.

What Is Social Etiquette?

Humans are social animals and it’s important that they follow certain norms that facilitate interpersonal relationships. Social etiquette is exactly how it sounds, it refers to the behavior you resort to in social situations—interactions with your family, friends, coworkers or strangers. We’re expected to follow social norms in order to coexist and live in harmony.

Social etiquette influences how others perceive and treat you. It can help you create lasting impressions that establish trust and reliance. Practicing good social manners not only help you build lifelong relationships; it also helps you create fruitful opportunities. Let’s look at some real-life social etiquette examples to understand the concept better.

  • Remembering people’s names and making them feel good

  • Saying ‘sorry’ or ‘excuse me’ immediately after sneezing

  • Using ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ when a situation calls for it

  • Saying ‘excuse me’ while navigating your way through a crowd

  • Holding the door for somebody standing in front of or behind you

Types Of Social Etiquette

We practice different kinds of social etiquette depending on the situation we’re in. For example, the way you behave at a family dinner is quite different from the way you behave at a business lunch. Let’s look at the types of social etiquette we practice depending on different situations:

  1. Face-To-Face Etiquette

Face-to-face interactions aren’t always easy. Here are a few etiquette practices to follow when you meet someone:

  • Use your full name to introduce yourself and greet the other person. You can simply use ‘hello, nice to meet you’ to break the ice. A smile and a firm handshake make it easier to build rapport.

  • Pay attention to your body language so that you don’t come off as rude or unprofessional. Good posture, eye contact and a confident attitude can make a huge difference.

  • One of the most important aspects of social etiquette is paying attention to people. Never interrupt anyone mid-sentence and always listen respectfully.

  1. Social Media Etiquette

Social etiquette also extends to social media and online communication. Here are some ways to ensure proper conduct on social media platforms:

  • If someone doesn’t accept your friendship or follow requests, leave them be.  If it’s important to connect with someone, message them and state your purpose.

  • Avoid posting insensitive content on your social media handles. If you make a mistake, own up and apologize.

  • Always get consent if you want to share someone else’s information, photos or content. Before tagging someone in a post or photograph, check if they’re comfortable with it.

  1. Virtual Meeting Etiquette

Work from home has become the new normal for most businesses today and virtual meetings have become a part of daily work routine. Here are a few tips to help you maintain proper social etiquette during online meetings:

  • Dress for success! Wearing appropriate attire can help you feel confident. It also shows that you pay attention to details and it’ll impress your audience.

  • Mute your microphone when you’re not speaking. It ensures that there’s no echo and you don’t disrupt the flow of meetings.

  • It may be tempting to check your phone but try to stay present and active. Participate in discussions and show anyone who’s speaking that you’re respectfully listening to them.


Good social etiquette promotes kindness, humility and consideration. Even the smallest acts can make the biggest difference! Harappa Education’s Practicing Excellence course will help you look at the bigger picture. The Four Selfs of Excellence framework will teach you how to present the best version of yourself and make others feel comfortable in your presence. The 1% Rule will help you pay attention to details and make small improvements for better performance. Practice excellence and exceed everybody’s expectations!

Explore topics such as What is EtiquetteBusiness EtiquetteMeeting EtiquetteTelephone EtiquetteEmail Etiquette & Difference between Etiquette and Manners from our Harappa Diaries section and improve your social skills to develop professionally.


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