Office etiquette and North American idioms

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Welcome to this website on business soft skills -- specifically Office Soft Skills, an etiquette course about North American business culture for international business people.

Every culture includes customs of proper business etiquette and polite language. For North America (i.e., Canada and the United States), everyone who wants to succeed will feel more comfortable if they know, and can use, good manners (etiquette) and customary language. For example, in North American business culture, it is important how you:

Introduce yourself
Office Soft Skills
3rd edition, 2018.
Working with North Americans
Wayzgoose Press

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Participate in meetings
Behave at a business dinner or social event
Dress for success
Talk to your boss
Write an effective email
Contribute to the goals of the company and
Generally practice the soft skills of good communication with business associates and colleagues


Proper business etiquette is so important because your manners influence how others see you. In fact, in North American business culture, final decisions in hiring and promotions are often made based on manners and self-presentation skills. And the opposite is true as well: Impolite language and poor behaviour are at the top of the list of reasons for ending a work contract. So learning business soft skills and office etiquette will definitely help you “get along and get ahead in your career”!

The author of this website and several textbooks, Joan Bartel, has a wealth of experience in teaching North American culture and ESL at Harvard University and elsewhere. She also has experience in business and career counselling with private clients and classes in Canada.