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Etiquette

Polish-up! A perfect time to shine.

by Joy Weaver

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Polish-up! A perfect time to shine. There’s not a great deal we can do about the national economy, but there is a lot we can do about our own personal economy. Polish-up on the basics!

We are all called to be the very best we can be as individuals but, how can we be our best if we don’t know the basics?

As an expert in manners I am asked over and over what are the most frequent faux pas I see our culture making today. As always I say, “For generations manners and the rules of etiquette have not been formally taught in grammar schools, high schools, or colleges.

This means that many men and women well advanced into their careers are not equipped to navigate socially, or in the business world. This is the fundamental explanation as to why civility is lacking in our culture today.

Most people complete the best education their money allows, followed by working hard to achieve the experience needed to boost them to the next level and yet, all of this is useless if our basic social skills are lacking.”

Below is a top ten list of rudimentary information that we can polish up on and become more socially savvy immediately.

Basic Social Faux Pas
1.Forgetting to turn cell phones off or on manner mode (silent/vibrate) in public places—and even worse, proceeding to answer calls with a “cell yell.”
2.Reading or sending text messages or e-mails during meetings, worship services, weddings, or funerals. Remember, if you're with friends, family, or clients turn off your cell phone and put away the BlackBerry. Nothing says, "I don't care about you" more than ignoring the people sitting right in front of you.
3.Not responding to party invitations—just showing up and bringing a friend. Respond to invitations immediately, otherwise it looks like you are waiting on a better invitation.
4.Not sending a thank-you note or at least a thank-you e-mail. Emails are immediate and very effective, but the very best way to honor the person is with a written note of sincere thanks.
5.Being late to meetings. This typically means to the others that you feel your schedule and time are more important than others’ in the meeting. If you chronically run late – who knows the real reason, perhaps you have not learned to manage your time. Whatever the case, it is never to late to correct this bad habit. Start now!
6.Coughing and sneezing in your social (right) hand. Your right hand is your social hand, and your left hand is your personal hand. No one wants to shake hands with someone who has just coughed into his or her hand.
7.Re-gifting—it is wrong! If you do not like a gift you’ve been given, donate it or give it to someone who would use it—don’t pass it off as a thoughtful gift you purchased for someone else!
8.Using the wrong bread plate or water glass—remember: B.M.W. (Bread on the left, Meal in the center, Water on the right).
9.Inviting someone to dinner and not paying—the person who invites, pays.
10.Applying lipstick at the table. All personal grooming should be done in the restroom.

*Bonus Faux Pas—Using a toothpick, crunching ice, or chewing gum!

In our culture we have advanced further technologically than we have socially. Basic social training can be the real difference maker in a person’s life – whether they are applying good manners in relationships at home, socially or in business. I am reminded of my favorite quote – “We are all like diamond’s, we all have a basic value, but it is not until we are polished that our true worth is really recognized.”

Joy Weaver is renowned etiquette expert, speaker, trainer and author of “Just Ask Joy… How to Be Socially Savvy in All Situations”—a book highly endorsed by Jean and Zig Ziglar. Joy is a regular guest on ABC’s Good Morning Texas and the CBS/11 Early Show. She is nationally published and has been featured on ABC’s The View, CBS’ The Early Show, in the Associated Press, New York Times, USA Today, Southern Living Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and The Dallas Business Journal. Protocol Enterprises/Just Ask Joy is based in Dallas and has served clients across the country since 2000. For more information, please visit www.justaskjoy.com.

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