Business Acumen Etiquette – Cool or Not Cool?


As we settle into Q4 2020 and slowly realize that the “new normal” is actually the new normal, I was cool-business-acumen-etiquettethinking about how many things have changed over the past 7 months. The disruption to the norms of business etiquette have been profound on many levels. I had an interesting discussion with a senior executive this morning about how amazing it is to observe the power of ingenuity and resilience when there simply are no alternatives.

While there have been many incredible innovations and new ideas brought forward, there have also been the emergence of new business etiquette behaviors that have got me wondering if they are cool or not cool. As a designer, developer, and deliverer of Business Acumen capability solutions I put together this list called, Business Acumen Etiquette (BAE) – Cool or Not Cool?

Advertising YOUR product on a potential customer’s “Contact Me” Page (that they are using to gain new customers)

To me, the “Contact Me” page is sacred. You don’t mess around with anyone’s potential sales pipeline. Here's the deal. The ABC company has a beautiful website that they use to attract customers. On it, is a typical “landing page” where potential new customers come to leave their contact information to be contacted by ABC. Joe’s Cleaning Services comes along and is going through ABC’s web page and on the Contact Me page, Joe writes the following, “Hello! Is your office dirty and needs to be COVID-Cleaned? Call me at Joe’s Cleaning to come clean up your office.” A few minutes later, an excited young Marketing person is alerted that there is a new “lead” only to find out that it’s an ad for Joe’s.

BAE?  Uncool!

Scheduling a COVID Catch-up but Really Trying to Sell Something

Since there is no more traveling or commuting to work, time is optimized. One of the things I have personally tried to do is reach out to clients and friends just to say hello and have a 15-minute virtual cup of coffee to catch up. Catch up because I care about other people. So if  someone wants to schedule a 15 minute catch up with me to see how I am doing, I typically think that’s great. Until they start to sell me something! For the love of G-d, don’t schedule a “catch up meeting” under the false pretense of seeing how the other person is and then try to sell them something. If it is a sales meeting then call it an “updated capabilities presentation” or “introducing our new products” or something that vaguely represents what you are really trying to do!

BAE? Uncool!

Keeping Your Video Off When Everyone Else’s is On

We’ve all been there. There are 5 people in the virtual meeting. Four of them have their video on and one person is off and muted. What are they doing? Do they not want to be part of the team? Do they not want to establish a relationship? I recently was brought into a meeting by a partner to meet a new potential client. All 4 of us had our video on, were conversing, establishing eye contact, and enjoying each other’s company. Then the prospective new client came on and refused to turn his video on. It was bizarre and left a very cold, disconnected feeling.

BAE? Uncool!

Looking into the Camera, Acting Like You are Engaged, But Doing Other Work

“Wow,” I thought to myself. “Jon” is really into this meeting. He’s following along, shaking his head, laughing at the appropriate spots, and being a good collaborator. But then I noticed something about Jon. I took a good look at his face an noticed the reflection of his screen in his eyeglasses. It was dark blue. Interesting because the screen I was sharing, and that he was supposedly watching, was white. It became immediately apparent that Jon was acting like he was engaged but was actually doing other work!

BAE? Uncool!

In summary, Business Acumen is more than just understanding strategy and financial management. It’s about being business smart and having the right business etiquette and empathy. Think things through and be cool.

why business acumen matters

Robert Brodo

About The Author

Robert Brodo is co-founder of Advantexe. He has more than 20 years of training and business simulation experience.