Etiquette may seem straightforward, but when you’re overwhelmed with daily pressures, deadlines and demands at the office, you can easily overlook your manners. If you get too caught up in your own thoughts, you may forget to consider how your clients are feeling, says Rosemary Smyth, founder of Rosemary Smyth and Associates in Victoria.

Money can be an emotional topic, so you should be particularly aware of proper business etiquette to ensure your clients feel comfortable talking with you about important financial issues.

Below are five common business-etiquette mistakes to avoid in your next client meeting:

1. Forgetting to offer a beverage
When clients enter your office, always offer them something to drink: tea, coffee and, especially, water.

Some advisors make the mistake of offering water only if a client breaks into a fit of coughing halfway through a meeting. Always be sure to offer a beverage before you get down to business.

2. Using your office as a closet
“Don’t keep your wardrobe on the back of your office door,” Smyth says.

If your door has hooks, hanging your jacket, umbrella and personal items there can be convenient, and as long as your door is open, those items are out of sight. But it looks messy when your door is closed.

A cluttered door hook can also confuse clients as to where they should hang their own belongings.

So, offer to take your clients’ coats, hats, scarves or umbrellas when they come in, so that they’re not searching around the room for a hanger.

3. Neglecting to introducing your team
If clients call or visit your office regularly, they will appreciate being able to put names to familiar faces and voices, such as those of your assistants or the team member who regularly answers the phone.

“Even if [colleagues] are at their desks and kind of busy,” Smyth says, “they can wave and say, ‘Hi,’ and take a few minutes to say how things are going,” Smyth says.

4. Loading them down with loose papers
If clients are leaving your office with a lot of printed information, give them an envelope. Carrying loose handouts home in a purse, a bag or by hand can be awkward, and documents can become tattered or lost.

5. Leaving clients to find their own way out
Some larger office layouts can be confusing, and it would be inconsiderate to leave your clients to find the exit on their own after your meeting.

Even if your office is straightforward, walking your client to the elevator after a meeting is always a nice gesture, Smyth says. The client is your guest, so you should provide this personal touch to ensure your clients can easily find their way — and to show that you appreciate their visit and that you are a good host.

This is the second part in an occasional series on business etiquette.

Next Friday: Organizational etiquette in your client meetings.