The relationship between the reader and the readee/querent/inquirer/client begins before the official session starts. With people you don't know, it begins with your first interaction, and that may be with hearing about you from someone else, or reading an offer you are making online, or a smile at a fair you are working at.
Fundamentally though, the etiquette of a reading, from start to finish, even before you officially begin and are working out the nuts of bolts of when to schedule a reading or working on how to phrase the querent's question, is holding the querent in absolute positive regard.
∞ setting aside your own judgments, biases, and opinions.
∞ accepting the person for where they are at right now.
∞ allowing your Divine Self to See their Divine Self.
∞ erring on the side of compassion.
And all this begins before you even start shuffling the cards.
If someone is asking you about a love reading and is dating one person but appears to be using another person as a back up in case that goes awry, you must set aside any judgments and opinions you may have on the situation. It's not for you to say. It's for the cards to say, and for you to be a vessel of divine wisdom to help that person with where they are at. Yep, this is a real example.
If you feel a querent is being rude, refrain from getting snarky. Now, it's easier to do this in person than it is to do it online. But no matter what you must maintain professionalism, a sense of proper decorum by holding them in absolute positive regard and refrain from taking things personally.
I once had someone cancel three times on me for an in-person reading, something she said she preferred over distance in our first interaction. Well, I offered to do a distance reading through a phone call and sending her a picture of the cards since she was having such a hard time meeting in person. She was so offended by this that she thought I was being rude and not listening to her needs. I stayed polite and civil the entire time I was dealing with her. I knew that part of her problem was that she was avoiding the question. She wanted answers but was afraid of them and was using classic self-sabotaging tactics. She never got that reading from me. However, holding her in absolutely positive regard was a key factor in staying out of judgment and holding space for myself to not allow her personal problems hook me into unnecessary drama.
Moreover, you never know what someone is going through. I have done readings before and never gotten a response, and this has happened with free readings as well. I don't like it, but I don't know what someone is dealing with. Maybe it slipped their minds? Maybe they don't like the reading and are avoiding confrontation. Maybe they just lost their job, or dealing with family BS. Maybe they are dealing with a cyclic mental health issue. Or as simple as being really sick, or god forbid, any combination of these things. You just don't know. And it's better to err on the side of compassion than it is to get snippy, or lash out, or sarcastic, at the person you are reading for. Your reputation is on the line.
Now, if you know that you are unable to maintain absolute positive regard, then it's okay to say, even in the middle of the reading, "You know, I don't think I'm the right reader for you." Then you give that person the names of other readers who might be a better fit for them. Or, if you need a moment to breathe to be able to set aside judgments, it's okay to do that too. We are human and imperfect, and it's not so bad to hold space for someone in absolutely positive regard temporarily.
And remember, it's not the information that people have a problem with.
It's the judgment.
Also, here is an awesome news story of a Tarot reader who discovered during a reading that someone had committed murder. She maintained professional decorum, kept him talking, and even got the address of where the body was, and everything. Now that's some badassery! An extreme example of what I'm talking about, but sometimes it's helpful to hear about the extreme so you know how to be in the happy middle. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-36400912/clairvoyant-man-confessed-to-murder-during-card-reading
Note: To learn more about absolute positive regard please look up Carl Rogers' research on it, though he calls it unconditional positive regard.
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