I must say that over the years of my life I can see the benefits of practicing etiquette which are rules indicating the proper and polite way are to behave. Etiquette is not a set of “old-fashioned” rules that our grandparents followed, but a way to live life civilly and with polish and poise. As an etiquette consultant, I am asked often about the proper way to sit and introductions, but etiquette is so much more than that. It involves how to handle yourself in day-to-day activities such as business events, first dates, and the way you treat people you meet. Below are some quick tips that can help anyone navigate these situations with ease.
- Greet everyone in a group that you approach, even if you do not know everyone. A surefire way to offend a new person is to disregard them in a group of people. Studies have even shown that it takes twenty good encounters to fix a bad first impression, so always acknowledge everyone even if it’s just a short hello.
- If you invite someone to a business lunch, even if it’s a woman extending an invitation to man, you are expected to pay. There is a general rule for business lunches that whoever extends the invitation is the person who is expected to pay for the tab, regardless of gender. If you do expect your lunch companion to pay for their own meal be sure to discuss this detail with them before dining.
- Do not order difficult and messy foods on a first date or business meals. At these meals the goal should be to make a good first impression, and while you will make an impression slurping spaghetti it most likely will not be a favorable one. Stay away from foods such as spaghetti, tacos, ribs, ice cream, and soup. Foods that are best to eat on these occasions would be chicken, fish, and salads without a lot of sauce and dressings.
- Do not RSVP to a business event and then not show up. I know that we cannot prevent unexpected situations from happening and there may be an emergency, but if you are just tired try to be a person of your word by showing up. Keep in mind that the host felt like you would be a great addition to their event and possibly has already pre-paid for you.
- Treat everyone you meet like they are a king or queen. You can really tell the character of a person by how they treat people that they think they do not need. Always be kind and treat everyone with respect regardless of their title or how much they may or may not have.
- Do not talk on the cellphones in common areas such as the waiting room at a doctor’s office, hospital, or the entrance of a church. This is one of the few times where you are encouraged to text instead of talking because most waiting rooms should be relatively quiet and is reserved for face-to-face communication.