Here Comes The New Year – Are You Ready?


Let our New Year's resolution be this:
we will be there for one another
as fellow members of humanity,
in the finest sense of the word.
~ Goran Persson


With the beginning of each New Year, many if not most of us start ticking off those areas that we wish to improve in the coming year, sitting down to compose the time-honored -- or infamous, depending on how you look at it -- New Year's Resolutions.

National Etiquette Week – May 11 – 17, 2014


A degree will get your foot in the door; good manners will open it.
~ Jeanne Nelson

You might recognize the above quote as the motto of my etiquette consultancy and training brand, PROWESS Workshops (Protocol for the Workplace and Etiquette for Social Situations). As we observe National Etiquette Week 2014, it’s important to remember that the underpinnings of etiquette – respect, kindness and consideration for others – are also the most prized qualities sought by employers of job candidates and employees. Today, employers are looking for attitude over aptitude, and that says a lot about the importance of good manners and the practice of proper etiquette. 

Job Search Series – New Year’s Resolutions


Cheers to a new year and another chance for us to get it right.
-Oprah Winfrey

As we ring in 2014 later this evening, let’s celebrate the fact that with the New Year dawning we'll have another opportunity “to get it right,” as Oprah says. 

Everyone has his or her personal New Year’s Resolutions, but in addition to those time-honored pledges, students, new grads and young professionals have specific goals to accomplish. So, here are seven winning resolutions to help you hone such critical leadership skills as social and business etiquette, emotional intelligence and personal branding:  

Dining Etiquette Series – Responsibilities of a Guest

Did you ever have the feeling that you wanted to go,
and still have the feeling that you wanted to stay?"
 ~ Banjo, from The Man Who Came to Dinner

Banjo is a character from the classic play about an insufferable guest named Sheridan Whiteside, who reluctantly accepts a dinner invitation and then because of a freak accident not only overstays his visit but behaves badly the entire time. So, to entertain Banjo’s question, perhaps there have been times when, as a guest, you’ve been ambivalent about whether you wanted to stay or go. However, as you know that the foundation of good manners is to put others ahead of yourself, I’m betting that you did not behave as Sherry Whiteside did. Because whether at a formal affair or a beach party, a guest has certain responsibilities that mirror those of the host (see last week’s post, Responsibilities of a Host), as follows: 

Stand Out From the Crowd – Be Kind


“Being kind is one of the hardest thing (sic) to be in high school
 because you're so terrified of being cut down yourself that you're always on your guard.
But don't be like that. Be kind and you will be truly different.
A standout. Unique and happy.” 
~ Wendy Wunder, author of The Probability of Miracles

I’m not sure I agree that being kind is the hardest thing to do, but I know it’s one of the smartest things you can do for yourself and for others. Kindness, respect and consideration for others not only are the cornerstones of good manners but they are the elements of social success by making us attractive and pleasant to be around. No matter what challenges one’s high school years present they can be overcome, or at least mitigated, by practicing kindness and focusing on others. And, doing so can prepare you for college and beyond. 

National Etiquette Week 2013

“O, Times! O, Manners! It is my opinion
That you are changing sadly your dominion
I mean the reign of manners hath long ceased,
For men have none at all, or bad at least…

~ Edgar Allan Poe, Poetry, Tales and Selected Essays

If Mr. Poe was bemoaning the decline of manners in the 19th Century, perhaps there has always been an element of incivility in society. We are most certainly hearing an outcry about the widespread lack of common courtesy in the early 21st Century. However, we know now, as the learned knew back then, that those who master etiquette skills generally are more successful in their social and business lives. 

And, now there is something in which Mr. Poe most likely would have been happy to participate: National Etiquette Week (NEW), which is being observed during this week, May 13-17. 

Summer Vacation Etiquette – Part 10: Returning Home

Returning Home, with Thanks

Returning home from vacation can be bittersweet.  On the one hand, you’re glad to be home to your familiar surroundings and the comfort of being back in your own space.  On the other hand, there might be a bit of a letdown after the change of scenery and routine you experienced while traveling and visiting other regions of the U.S. or another country.  But, the fact remains that your vacation is over and it’s time to go back to school or work.

Summer Vacation Etiquette – Part 9: Global Travel

Global Etiquette

Globalization has transformed the workplace, making everyone more sensitive to the various cultures that the diverse workforce has produced.  Technology has brought nations closer together, and today we Americans work with people from all over the world and of various backgrounds. 

But it’s a bit different working with people of diversified backgrounds at work than when we travel to other countries and find ourselves on different turfs where the local customers often are quite different from ours.  In those cases it behooves Americans to know the proper etiquette and protocol of the country to which we have traveled, whether we’re there for business or pleasure.