By: Lisa Orr, Etiquette & Protocol Consultant

When you’re first entering the workforce it can be really hard to make the transition. After years of being a student with a casual dress code and laid-back lifestyle the jump into the corporate world can be difficult.

It can feel like going from a leisurely stroll to jumping on a high-speed train.

But with a little practice and a few helpful tips the process can be much easier:

Always introduce yourself and shake hands

Shaking hands puts people at ease and gives you an opportunity to make a lasting connection plus the eye contact and physical contact of a handshake actually have a biochemical impact that will make the person you shake hands with like you more and look forward to seeing you.

When you meet – say your name clearly

There’s nothing worse than having to ask someone to repeat his or her name because it wasn’t clear. The whole point of saying your name in a greeting is so the other person can learn it – so make sure you say it slowly enough and make an association for them to make it easy to remember (E.G. My name is Lisa Orr, like Bobby Orr, but we’re not related).

Dress the part

Sneakers and jeans may have been the uniform in school but in the workplace it’s about looking professional and qualified. Each type of work will have its own dress code so make sure to know what it is and try to lean towards the most polished version of that wardrobe so that people see you as a polished person.

Make great conversation

Being a great conversationalist is about two things: being interesting and listening. To be interesting that means you need to ask questions and connect with the person you are talking to on things that are interesting to THEM. The next step is to be a great listener – that means in a conversation you want to make sure you are listening and hearing what is being said.


It’s so simple but SO powerful. Thank you notes are the best but emails and phone calls work too! The key is to express your gratitude for the time and energy your colleagues share with you to help you develop and further your career.

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Lisa Orr is a life long Torontonian and currently resides in Toronto with her husband and 3 children. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Queen’s University, has had corporate experience as an analyst in Investment Banking at National Bank Financial and currently works as a managing director in her family office Hallisey Capital Partners with a focus on wealth management and strategic investments. Lisa is certified in both International Protocol and Corporate Etiquette by The Protocol School of Washington based in Washington D.C. as well as Youth Etiquette and Social Dance from Etiquette and Leadership Institute of Athens, Georgia.