The Wedding Series – Planning, Etiquette & Protocol

“Once in awhile, right in the middle of an ordinary life,
love gives us a fairy tale.”
~ Author Unknown

Weddings often have a fairy tale aura about them, especially when they are held at beautiful venues, everyone is dressed up (sometimes in clothing they will never wear again!), music is playing, champagne is flowing, there are flowers everywhere and love is in the air. As well, smaller and simpler weddings can be equally charming and storybook-like. It's a time when romance takes center stage and the Bride and Groom -- starring leads in their own story -- are feted like no other time in their lives.

Pexels

Date Night – What A Woman Expects

 

Oh, this is the night, it's a beautiful night 
And we call it bella notte 
Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes 
On this lovely bella notte. ~ Bella Notte
From "Lady and the Tramp"
Composed by Sonny Burke and Peggy Lee

This is the first in a series of entries devoted to observing Women's National History Month during March in the U.S. 

Traditional dating still exists for most people, with the possible exception of younger Millennials -- and I encourage them to try it! Thus, it's helpful when men understand what women expect leading up to, during and after that important first date.

Work-Appropriate Halloween Costumes

Double, double toil and trouble
Fire burn and cauldron bubble…
By the pricking of my thumbs,
Something wicked this way comes.
Open, locks,
Whoever knocks.
~ Macbeth, Act 4, Scene 1

If you work at a company and in an industry where Halloween is observed with an office costume party, charity masquerade ball or client entertainment event, you don’t want to get yourself or your company into a bubbling cauldron of hot water or cause double trouble by committing a fatal faux pas because of your costume choice.

How Schmoozing and Boozing Can Affect Your Job and Career

First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink,
then the drink takes you.
~ F. Scott Fitzgerald

Imbibing in alcoholic drinks has been a time-honored tradition in business, industry and the professions. I began my career back in the “Mad Men” epoch of the 1960s in the television broadcasting industry in which opportunities to drink proliferated. Although none of the offices in which I worked had a bar such as the one Don Draper had in his office, there were plenty of assignments that involved the champagne and spirits flowing. Continuing into 1970s, I added the publishing and public relations industries to my resume; and if you think the ‘60s were mad with drink, the following decade saw the escalation of the three-martini lunch and drinking after work with colleagues become de rigueur. I don’t know how any of us who worked back then survived the era of the on-the-job alcohol-soaked brain!

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 – How to Work a Room (Full of Strangers) – Part 3

Conversing and Connecting

“It occurs to me that our survival may depend
upon our talking to one another.” 
~ Dan Simmons, Hyperion

I agree with author Simmons’s pithy observation. Of course, there are many types of survival. Learning how to turn strangers into strong relationships will make you a survivor of the networking circuit!

This week I’d like to focus on getting in and out of groups and conversations gracefully.

Job Search Series – How To Work a Room (Full of Strangers) Part 2

 Balancing Mingling with Food & Drink

 "Sometimes, idealistic people are put off the whole business of
networking as something tainted by flattery and
the pursuit of selfish advantage. But virtue in obscurity
is rewarded only in Heaven. To succeed in this world
you have to be known to people" ~ Sonia Sotomayor

A networking event should be approached in the same manner that you would a job interview. Prepare, dress and behave as though you will meet your future boss, because that could very well happen.

Christmas Caroling Etiquette

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wand’ring
So fair to be seen.
Love and joy come to you,
And to your wassail, too,
And God bless you, and send you
A Happy New Year,
And God send you a Happy New Year.
~ The Wassail Song 

As someone who is plain goofy about the Christmas holidays (but like Charlie Brown doesn’t like the crass commercialism that accompanies them), I love caroling. So, I was pleased to discover both traditional as well as a bit of creative caroling on some college campuses, such as Bridgewater College in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, Syracuse University in New York and the University of Toronto Law School. And, for more than a century Christmas carol services have been performed at Harvard, which has connections to a number of famous composers of Christmas carols.

Thanksgiving Traditions

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest
appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy

To Americans, Thanksgiving means hearth and home, a gathering of family and friends and good and plentiful food and drink. To the pilgrims who celebrated what we have come to recognize as the First Thanksgiving nearly 400 years ago, it was an occasion of thankfulness and gratitude by those who had survived the voyage to these shores as well as the first harsh winter in their new land. 

Dining Etiquette Series – Saying Grace Before Dinner

“In some families and at some events it’s customary to say a blessing or prayer before the meal begins. If that’s not your custom and you’re a guest, just sit quietly until the blessing is finished. If asked, do join hands around the table—doing so will complete the circle.”
~ Emily Post’s Etiquette, 18th Edition, Manners For A New World

In the U.S., the freedoms of religion, speech and assembly are held in very high esteem. But, along with freedom should come civility. That means that we should not only respect the rights, beliefs and customs of others, we should also extend courtesy, consideration and understanding when we or when others exercise those rights, express those beliefs and celebrate those customs. In each the following dining scenarios, consider the response that you believe would be most appropriate: