Why Does Etiquette Always Matter?
“I was watching your family at the restaurant table and your child has great table manners.”
“I wish my child would follow the rules of holding my hand in the parking lot like your son does.”
My husband and I are beaming because all of these compliments were said about our young son just during these past few months. It makes us smile knowing that he learned these manners from us even before he could talk. We wanted to instill these values in him because we were both taught these skills as children, too.
You may be wondering why should you enroll your child in an etiquette class. He already knows how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. What more does he need to know?
Children as young as preschool age can be taught and remember so many more etiquette skills which can open a world of opportunities for them.
Every day I am mindful of the manners my parents, grandparents, other family members, educators, supervisors, co-workers and friends have taught me through the years, so I would like to share two stories when these important life skills served me well.
Have you ever wondered how that person was able to get a bump up to a first class seat on a plane or train? Did you ever question how someone was able to meet and spend an afternoon with a very important person? Did you ever stop to wonder that maybe they had the inside scoop on what it takes to move ahead in this world and that it all started with demonstrating those proper etiquette skills they learned as a child? These days, in the hustle and bustle of your daily life, remembering to smile while saying “please” and “thank you” can put you over the edge when it comes down to who wins the coveted spot in a social or business situation.
For example, during my senior year of college, I had an opportunity to interview for an editorial position at a top newspaper on the East Coast. While I was in the Atlanta airport, the ticket agent noticed that I was a young college student wearing a blue business suit and makeup at 7:00 AM. She asked me where I was headed and we continued to exchange pleasantries as she typed away on her keyboard. Even though I was exhausted from being up so early for the flight (my college classes did not begin until noon) and nervous about the interview, I continued to smile at the agent who seemed to be taking forever to get me checked in. Finally, she stopped typing, looked me in the eye, smiled and told me to have a wonderful day. I wished her the same and headed off to my gate. As I glanced down, I realized my seat had been changed from an aisle seat in the middle of the plane to seat 1A. The agent had bumped me up to First
Class! As I stared out the plane window and into the clouds, I realized that my mother had been right all along. If you are polite and smile at others, dress appropriately for the occasion (she always told me to look my best when traveling) and hold your head high, with your shoulder back to show confidence, but not arrogance, you just may reap the rewards. And yes, I was offered and ended up accepting my first editorial position in publishing, which eventually allowed me to use the business etiquette skills that I acquired during a college course on the subject.
In my next position, which was at a top magazine publishing company in New York City, I was able to hone my social and business etiquette skills on a regular basis. On one particular occasion, I asked for and was granted the opportunity to meet with our company founder and president for a one-on-one interview for my graduate school thesis.
But getting to this point was no easy feat. First, I had to type a formal letter to his secretary asking for an appointment on his calendar. I remembered to print the letter on cream, resume paper and sign my name in black ink.
When I entered the president’s office, my etiquette skills soared. We shook hands, with a firm, but comfortable grip and I waited until he invited me to sit in a specific chair before I ventured to take a seat. He offered me a glass of water and I accepted since I did not want a dry mouth during the interview. I remained respectful of his time and kept my questions brief but specific. We ended the interview on a high note and after we shook hands again and said our farewells, I glided out of the office knowing that I had passed the test of business etiquette with flying colors. I sent my handwritten thank-you note to him the next day and I also received an “A” on my thesis paper!
Now that I have received my certification to teach etiquette to children, I am so excited to share my love for etiquette with your children, as well.
When you enroll your child into an etiquette class at The Delaware Valley School of Etiquette, they will learn proper dining skills, how to write a thank-you note, how to dress depending on the occasion, plus so much more!
I look forward to greeting you and your children personally with a firm handshake and smile.
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