Etiquette Q & A
Etiquette Q & AWe asked manners expert Jodi Smith of Mannersmith http://www.mannersmith.com/ General 1. What's your biggest pet peeve concerning manners? Not enough people use their manners, but then fail to realize the impression they are leaving. Manners, unlike dress clothes, should be worn no matter the situation. 2. What are the most manners that parents should pass on to their children? Well, it would depend on the age of their children. But the best gift parents can give their children is a good solid example of good behavior. Children learn (and mimic) what they see their parents do. Website link: http://www.mannersmith.com/mm/volume.cfm?mm_id=20 Work Related 3. How should one behave toward a friendly colleague who has just been laid off (when you haven't been)? Great question!! You should acknowledge that the person is leaving. Ignoring the situation will only make a hard situation more painful. Let the colleague know they will be missed. And if you have any industry leads, offer to pass them along. Try to avoid career counseling unless the colleague specifically asks for your advice on the subject. Website link: http://www.mannersmith.com/mm/volume.cfm?mm_id=15 4. In the new "casual" work place, separating the personal from the professional can be confusing. What personal information is appropriate to share with your colleagues? Professionals do need to know the difference between friends and co-workers. Basically, anything you would not want the entire office to know is something you should not share. For example, you may want to tell co-workers about the great movie you saw over the weekend, but leave out the part about the big fight you had with your significant other later that evening. Keep in mind; the office gossip chain is alive and well. You should do everything in your power to avoid being the soap opera of the week. 5. What's the best way to make a good first impression? Good body language. Standing up straight, facing the person, making eye contact, and a firm handshake are a great start towards making a good first impression. Personal/Family 6. What is a nice way to let friends know that they've given you enough advice? "Thank you very much, you have been so helpful during this time. I will let you know how things turn out." Then change the subject!! 7. At the end of the year, many people give tips to newspaper deliverers, teachers, cleaning people, childcare workers, etc. What kinds of tips are appropriate? Mike, this is an article unto itself. (Teachers and childcare workers are not tipped, neither are mail carriers.) Please feel free to link to the following Mannersmith Monthly article. Website link: http://www.mannersmith.com/mm/volume.cfm?mm_id=12 8. Is there a polite way to answer call waiting? Actually, no. Unless you are expecting a very important call (i.e. someone is very sick) you should let your call-waiting ring through to voicemail. If you are expecting an important call, you need to let the first caller know immediately that you are expecting a call and ask if they prefer you call them back later. By answering the call waiting, you are telling the person you are speaking with that you are hoping there is a more interesting person on the other line. In fact, I would encourage people to cancel their call waiting and opt for voicemail instead. If there is truly an emergency, the second caller can still ask the phone company for an emergency break through to reach you. Website link: http://www.mannersmith.com/mm/volume.cfm?mm_id=9 9. How should we receive compliments? Graciously, with a smile and a sincerely thank you. 10. How should one apologize for past rudeness (belated birthday greetings, neglecting to send thank you cards, etc.)? The apology is directly relational to the "rudeness." Forgetting a spouse's birthday is a much bigger gaffe than forgetting a neighbor's birthday. Please feel free to link to the following Mannersmith Monthly article: Website link: http://www.mannersmith.com/mm/volume.cfm?mm_id=8 11. How should the bill be handled when one eats out with a date or a friend? With a date, whoever did the asking does the paying. That means all of the paying, tax, tip and parking fees. With a friend, if you decided to meet for lunch, then you would each cover your own meal. See Mannersmith Monthly article: Website link: http://www.mannersmith.com/mm/volume.cfm?mm_id=2 12. What are the rules of etiquette concerning the use of cell phones? Cell phones are a wonderful tool. And we are finally figuring out that we control them, not the other way round. They should put on voicemail or vibrate when in an office, meeting, restaurant, theater, lecture or anywhere else that their ringing could be found offensive. If you must take a call, quickly depart for a location where you will not be disturbing others and where you will not need to shout to be heard. If you find you are receiving a lot of "looks" from others when on your cell phone, you need to revise your habits. As for cell phones while driving, manners matter, but safety first.