Archive for the ‘manners’ Category

Manners?

June 10, 2014

I was reading the June 2014 issue of Real Simple magazine this week. I love this magazine and always read it cover to cover. I find their articles informative, fun and often thought provoking. I was very interested in their article on manners. Actually, I was intrigued that they started out by talking about the word “Etiquette”. I have a book coming out later this summer and the final chapter in my book is titled “Etiquette and You: Why it Matters”.

Does the word “etiquette” fill you with fear? If you have read the article in Real Simple, you know that it’s not at all scary – or shouldn’t be. Etiquette is more about following socially acceptable conventions. For instance, remembering to thank someone when they’ve given you a gift, or let you stay at their home for the weekend, or even granted you an interview. Yes, I am talking about a handwritten pen and paper note sent via the United States Postal Service with a stamp. I have more about exactly how to write a really good personal and business thank you note in my book.

Other points the article raised were about when to use or not to use a cell phone. I was so happy to read that the authors of the article and I agree that the dinner table is no place for a cell phone. Conversation is a wonderful thing! Enjoy the time you’re spending with the person or people and don’t even think about checking your phone. Any message (phone or text) will be waiting for you when the meal is over. Be truly present at the table, turn your phone off and put it away. I believe you’ll find that you relax better and enjoy the food and camaraderie more when you are unplugged.

The article also talks about the place setting. Have you ever been asked or have you ever asked the question – Is this my water? I put an illustration of a place setting in my book because I get asked that question often. I know which is my water and you should, too. In case you’re wondering it is the glass on the right-hand side of the place setting, above your knife.

There’s lots more to this article, just as I cover lots more in my chapter. This is a good start. Are you curious? Next time you see newsstand carrying Real Simple magazine pick one up. You won’t be disappointed!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on etiquette. What does this word mean to you?

Thank you cards?

July 10, 2013

Do you write ‘Thank You’ cards? As I was driving along yesterday listening to the radio I was so surprised when an ad came on and the person speaking asked ‘Do you write Thank You notes?’ The person in the ad went on to say that his mother taught him to write a Thank You note when he was given something. Listening to this ad I was wondering where it was going? Have you heard this ad? Anyway, the person in the ad continued by saying he wanted to thank McDonalds. Honestly, I didn’t pay attention to the rest of the ad. I wish I had because I don’t know what he was thanking McDonalds for. I was so taken with the idea that the advertising industry thought to include the notion of writing a ‘Thank You’ note.

I believe in writing ‘Thank You’ notes. So much so that in the second edition of my book I have added a section on how to write a good ‘Thank You’ note as well as why you should write them.

So, back to my original question… do you write ‘Thank You’ notes? If you do, is it because you feel obliged to write the note or is it because you really want to convey your gratitude to the person (or business) who gave you something?

Oprah refers to expressing gratitude in her magazine often. I can remember first hearing her talk about a gratitude journal. I thought it was a great idea to everyday, at the end of the day, write down three things for which you are thankful. I’ll be honest, I did not go out and buy a journal but hearing that idea did prompt me to everyday list in my mind some of the things, the blessings, I have in my life for which I am eternally grateful.

Writing a ‘Thank You’ note is such a small task. Yet, it can give someone a boost in their day to know that the recipient of a gift acknowledges the gift and is appreciative of the donor’s thoughtfulness. Why not take a few minutes, put pen to paper, and write someone today to let them know you are thankful for whatever it is they have given you? 

First Impressions

October 24, 2012

First impressions are so very important.  When you make a good first impression it’s easy to have a conversation and get to know someone. When you make a bad first impression you have to work really hard to erase the other person’s pre-conceived notions about you in order to then have a conversation.  This is particularly important if you’re going on a job interview. If you make a good first impression with the interviewer that person will want to know more about you and your qualifications. If you make a bad first impression with the interviewer the time spent in that interview may be cut short. You know you only have about 5 seconds to create that good first impression so how do you do this?

First of all be sure to stand up straight, have a pleasant look on your face, and look the interviewer in the eye when you greet them. I’m sure you know that if you’re slouched over with your shoulders slumped forward you give the impression that you’re not interested. You want the interviewer to see you as an interested and interesting person. You also know that if the expression on your face is worried or concerned with your brow wrinkled that you convey a lack of confidence. That’s the last thing you want an interviewer to think! By looking the interviewer in the eye you are telegraphing confidence and interest.

Dress appropriately for the job. If you are a man interviewing for a teaching position you may want to wear business casual wear. A woman would want to dress demurely; nothing too short or too revealing. If you are interviewing for a job at a bank or at a law firm then business atttire for both men and women is appropriate. But, what if the job is at an advertising agency? Then I suggest you dress creatively. You would want the interviewer to know by looking at you that you have an imagination!

Have you heard the expression ‘cleanliness is next to godliness’? Well, if you have I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. If you haven’t… Be sure to have washed up before you go on a job interview. Take the time to make sure your fingernails are clean and tidy, no rough edges. Have clean hair and clothes. Don’t overdo it with the afershave or perfume. Smelling pleasant is fne but you don’t want your perfume or aftershave to walk in the room before you or stay long after you have left the premises.

I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but how many times have you been drawn to open a book by the interesting graphics or picture on the book jacket? So, create interest in yourself by being confident and showing that confidence in your body language. A friendly expression and a steady gaze will go a long way. Cultivate these things in yourself and you will be sure to create good first impressions.

Digital Manners

February 28, 2012

Do you think that manners should not play a role in our digital communications? I disagree. For me manners are important. I know that it’s a challenge to be polite and follow rules of decorum in text messaging but I also know that it’s not necessary to be rude when you are being brief. The same thing holds true when writing e-mails. Here though, I believe some rules and manners can be applied.

For example, if a student is writing an e-mail to a teacher (or a professor) standard letter writing protocol can be followed. What do I mean? Well, I think a proper salutation should be used (Dear Mr., Ms , Professor, or Dr.followed by the last name). Often I think that because they are using an instant form of communication  people assume they can be familiar or friendly with someone they either don’t know or don’t know well. Also when writing an e-mail to someone unfamiliar put a good but brief statement of intent in the subject line.Then, following the salutaion,state why you are writing, a little about the topic, and the outcome you are hoping for then close with Regards and your signature followed by your full name and contact information.

This lets the person you’re writing know that you are professional, respectful and you are someone with whom they may consider doing business.

Consider the alternative. When a person receives a message that begins with “Hey” and that person doesn’t know the author of the message the outcome might not be what the author is hoping for.

It doesn’t take a whole lot of effort to be polite and follow a few simple protocols. You can always relax those protocols and be more familiar in your e-mails if need be. It is very difficult to go from familiar to formal – that essentially is backpedaling.

I’m interested to know if you are always familiar in your e-mail writing or if you are sometimes formal.