9 Business Etiquette Tips for Women Leaders

Headshot of Arden CliseWe were thrilled to welcome Arden Clise, the Pacific Northwest’s resident expert in business etiquette, to share her knowledge with our members and guests. As more women are stepping into leadership roles than ever before, the essentials of business etiquette are critically important in order to help make any professional, networking or board-related interaction more effective.

Here are Arden’s 9 takeaways for women leaders :

1. Shake with Confidence
Have a firm handshake, where your hand is fully in the other person’s hand touching web to web. Offer a handshake versus a hug.

2. Authority Rules
Business introductions are based on authority not gender or age. Say the name of the person who has the most authority first and introduce the other person with less authority to her. Example: Mary Smith (CEO), this is Joe Davis (manager).

3. Nix the Nodding, Tilting and Over Smiling
Be careful not to nod your head too often when listening to someone. Also, avoid tilting your head and smiling too much. All of which communicates insecurity and appeasing behavior.

4. Stop Fussing
Avoid twirling your hair, touching your jewelry or playing with your clothes.

5. Sit at the Table
Take a seat at the table, rather than the sidelines, and contribute to the conversation. Believe your contributions are important.

6. Take Up Space
When you sit at the table avoid making yourself small. Spread your items out a bit. Put your arms on your chair or the table rather than hidden in your lap.

7. Dress Like You Mean Business
Your clothes should be professional, not skimpy, provocative or too feminine. Show off your smarts, not your other assets.

8. Say it with Confidence
Avoid using qualifying phrases, taglines and weak language – “I’m not an expert but…” “I just want to say…” “I feel…” “…, don’t you think?” Instead, say “I’m confident…” “I expect…” “I’m certain…”

9. Three or More or One Alone
When mingling, look for groups of three or more or someone standing alone.

Want to see the full PowerPoint slideshow from Arden’s presentation? Email Megan: megan@wawomensfdn.org

Tips Courtesy of Arden Clise
Business Etiquette Speaker, Trainer, Coach
To receive semi-monthly etiquette tips text the word MANNERS to the number 22828, or visit www.cliseetiquette.com

Through our groundbreaking model of women-powered, collective philanthropy, Washington Women’s Foundation has given out $15 million in transformative grants that enable not-for-profit organizations to improve lives, protect the environment, advance health and education and increase access to the arts throughout Washington state.

We invite all women to join us to make a more powerful impact in our community. The challenges ahead of us are never as great as the power behind us. www.wawomensfdn.org 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Join Us!

Participate in an educational forum or skill-building workshop. Visit a community nonprofit. Attend an informal gathering or a community celebration of our grantees.


Staff Blog Post: What We’re Reading/Listening to/Watching, July 2020

At WA Women’s Foundation, we are dedicated to becoming more...

Uncertainty Leads to Adaptability and Resilience on IAC

Impact Assessment Committee meeting over Zoom We asked Margit Rankin...

Reflecting on the 2020 Pooled Fund Grant Committee

We asked Lorraine del Prado to share a reflection from...


If you’re not quite ready to become a member, there are other ways to support the important work we do. Learn more about how you can contribute to WA Women’s Foundation.