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Don Burleson Blog 







Corporate travel etiquette manners

Oracle Database Tips by Donald BurlesonMarch 9, 2015

In addition to these guidelines, make sure to review our

- General business etiquette
- Dress Code
- Cross-Cultural Guidelines
- Professional Corporate Tipping tips
- Professional golf etiquette
Cultural manners.

American business travel protocol

Good manners is not just about using the right fork or keeping your elbows off of the table, corporate protocol exists for a god reason, and the rules of good manners in the corporate world are not always trivial or simple common sense.

Try this quiz.  Assume the following people waiting for a taxi cab:

Person A - A male CEO

Person B - A female director

Person C - A male management trainee

Question:  In what order to they enter the taxi?  Who pays the tab and expenses the ride?  See bottom of page for answer:

Most young women learn gracious manners in Cotillion or Finishing school, and young gentlemen often learn manners in military officer's school or they take a manners course when they are hired as a manager.  When I got my first corporate job out of MBA School, they flew their latest hires to New York for a intensive two-day class on how to be a proper lady/gentleman corporate executive!

All of my managers know proper corporate manners, and it's indispensible when meeting with clients because "good breeding" shows, and boorish manners are unprofessional, to say the least!

Corporate travel manners

When travelling in a corporate group there is a well-defined protocol of manners.  When travelling as a company group in vans or corporate jets, the senior person always enters the vehicle first, and in-turn, they are the first to depart the vehicle. 

There is also a travel protocol for managers when travelling.  In most Fortune 500 companies, mid-level managers are not allowed to take the same commercial flights, lest a crash occur, losing institutional knowledge.  This rule is not true for senior managers who frequently fly together in the corporate jet.

Taxi's have been used for business travel since the 1700's

The position of honor is on the right

Seniority is determined by corporate title, and gender trumps seniority.  On a short ride, a gentleman should always defer the best seating to a lady.

All manners have reasonable origins, and the origin of the saying "the position of honor is on the right" originates because of the fact that cars drive on the right-hand side of the read, and the best place to sit in a cab is on the right.

This rule is a bit trickier in a taxi cab.  In a taxi, the lowest-level person hails the taxi cab, and they are the first to enter, and the last to leave.  The senior person appears gracious, holding the door while their underlings board the cab, getting in last, so that they can be the first to depart.

In manner school, they teach the rule of thumb that "The position of honor is on the right", and this is what you need to think about when entering a taxi cab, since the senior person always gets in last, on the far right-hand side of the cab.

However, there is an important exception to this seniority rule.  Traditionally, the female gender trumps seniority and a CEO is expected to defer to a lady, allowing her the "position of honor".

People who are unfamiliar with corporate manners often misunderstand this rule, and will wrongly wait for their boss to enter the taxi cab.  A good boss never chastised an ill-mannered underling in public, and a good boss will recognize this faux paux, and politely say "you first", offering the underling a chance to save face.   

Answer:  The lowest level male (person C) always hails the taxi cab, and the CEO, being a gentleman, sits in the middle seat, allowing the female director the position of honor where she is the first to exit the taxi.



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