When David Beckham arrived at Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton last week he was proudly displaying his Order of the British Empire Medal, a medal he received for his service to British soccer.
Photos from the beginning of the day’s events show that when David arrived his medal was pinned to his right lapel, a significant faux pas, as any kind of medal or lapel pin belongs on the left.
Someone in the know must have alerted David, as his medal was moved to the left later in the morning. Aside from his brief etiquette mishap, David looked absolutely sharp in his suit and tie.Best regards,
Imagine my surprise when I jumped out of my car after pulling up to Starbucks this morning and put my new spring shoes into a puddle. It wasn’t a rain puddle (which wouldn’t have been so awful, since we need the rain here in Oklahoma so badly), but a coffee puddle!
Yikes! A great place for coffee is a mug, a coffee pot, down a drain or in a trash can. I know we’re all in a hurry, especially in the morning and especially for our coffee. If your mug from the day before was unfinished, toss the excess down a drain, or ask your barista to empty it for you. When you empty a cup of coffee on a parking spot you may unwittingly leave someone else’s morning soggy, as they will have sopped up your favorite morning drink! Think twice before you pour – those sharing your parking lot will appreciate your consideration.Best regards,
March 28-April 1 is the 5th annual National Protocol Officer Week. So, what is it that Protocol Officers do, exactly?
Imagine you’re scheduled to travel to Hong Kong on business. You know it is proper etiquette to take a gift for your host, and typically one that represents your culture. Your colleague from Vermont suggests maple syrup. A co-worker from Texas recommends cowboy boots. A friend from California suggests a framed photo of the Pacific Ocean. None of these seems quite right, but who would you ask?
A Protocol Officer is educated and trained to be a skilled advisor, expert, and leader for moments such as these. We plan and orchestrate VIP visits and trips, meetings, ceremonies, and events and leaders rely on Protocol Officers to guide them in U.S. and foreign order of precedence, customs and cultural differences. We know functional business, government and international protocol inside and out, and we have the expertise to confidently and appropriately apply protocol in the most intricate or serious situations.
Business is typically more serious than a bottle of maple syrup, and it’s important to not flounder something that can be taught easily, like proper greetings, salutations and social etiquette. Have you ever had a time when you wished you could of clarified cultural differences ahead of time? What was it?Best regards,
In honor of George Washington’s birthday next week, we have many things for which to thank him. We all know that he was known as the “father of his country.” History buffs certainly know of all of his accomplishments, but rarely do people know that he created courtesy books that became published etiquette rules in the United States.
George was home-schooled by his father and elder brother, and in 1746, at the age of 14, young George developed 110 rules of civility that were later published as “George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.”
He was diligent in his practice of social skills, the treatment of others and practice of self-control. Here are a few notable “rules” that you may find interesting;
Rule 1. “Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.”
Rule 5. “If you cough, sneeze, sigh or yawn, do it not loud but privately; and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside.”
Rule 6. “Sleep not when others speak, sit not when others stand, speak not when you should hold your peace, walk not when others stop.”
Rule 97. “Put not another bite into your mouth till the former be swallowed. Let not your morsels be too big.”
Even though our word choice is no longer the same, 264 years later, these rules of civility and behavior remain just as important today.
It is not a surprise that when Washington died in 1799, Henry Lee gave the funeral oration and stated, “He was first in peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen.”
Last, but not least, during his presidency, when more majestic names were suggested, Washington chose to be called “Mr. President” and today this is the official title given to the president of the United States while in his or her presence.
Happy birthday, Mr. President.Best regards,
“Anyone can eat, but we go out to dine.” Robert Wallace, Maitre d’, Oklahoma City Golf & Country Club.
Are you dining out for Valentine’s Day? The restaurants will be busy so make your dining experience more enjoyable by brushing up on some table manners. I visited with Robert Wallace about the expectations found in restaurants, in patrons and servers alike. Robert has over 20 years in the restaurant industry, gaining his first skills at The Metro, which provided in-house training and today has some of the finest and most consistent service among metro area restaurants. “Your primary memory should be your spouse’s company or other dining guests. The best service is the service that you do not remember,” Robert shared.
The server is available to provide confidence in ordering, they will guide you through the menu. They should be prompt and attentive, as we all know the details always count! When the servers are approaching your table to deliver your meal, they will serve on your left and clear your dishes on your right, by paying attention to this you can avoid a spill.
The table setting tends to paralyze the uninformed diner, but fear not. The table setting is simply a map of what you’ll be served. Follow the map and your meal will unfold just as your chef has intended. The best rule of thumb is to use the silverware on the outside first. If you see a large spoon on the right, you will be served soup. If there is no large spoon, start with the smaller fork on the outside left. A dinner fork and knife are closer to the plate, therefore would be used last. By using the setting in the order of its placement you’ll ensure a better dining experience, as your server will be able to attend to more pleasant needs rather than retrieving new silverware for your table.
Remember that your napkin shouldn’t touch the table until you are ready to stand up and leave the restaurant, not just when you are finished dining. If you leave the table for any reason other than to leave the restaurant, put your napkin in your chair to signal to the server that you are coming back. Some servers will refold the napkin and place it on the arm of your chair.
During a romantic conversation the server should not interrupt you. The Silent Code of Service includes placing your silverware at the 4:00 position when you are finished with your meal, telling your server that he/she can remove your dishes without interrupting you. Your server wants to be as unobtrusive as possible and allow you to enjoy your intimate dinner. Another SCS: close your menu when you have decided on your meal choice, this tells the server you are ready to order.
Quick dining tips:
- Use the correct silverware. Your place setting is a map to your meal.
- Only place your napkin on the table when you are standing to leave the restaurant.
- Your water glass will be to your right.
- Close your menu when you’ve made your selections.
- Never snap your fingers to get a server’s attention. Instead, use eye contact to get their attention.
- Place your silverware at 4 o’clock when you’re through with your meal.
- Gentlemen, pull out the chair for your valentine! It’s romantic no matter where you’re dining.
While traveling through airports last week, I picked up a copy of USA Today. The front page story was: “2010: THE YEAR WE STOPPED TALKING.” Americans are more connected than ever, but not in person. Statistics from CTIA, The Wireless Association, Nielsen Co. and I.T. Union report that 93% of Americans have a cell phone, and that 1.8 trillion text messages were sent from June 2009-2010.
I wish I had created the USA Today title, because I had already planned to address it in my family and with myself. Not only am I seeing my husband and children communicate via text messages as a routine, I have used it as a way to communicate with others while living in our over-committed world. The result of this form of communication is evident in the training I am providing to young business people. When I interview the business leaders in our city to find what etiquette skills are most important to them, they routinely say for the younger generation to stop texting and checking Facebook during meetings. This group of our society doesn’t see a problem with this practice at all. I would say in my business, it isn’t just the young people behaving this way in a meeting.
For us Baby Boomers, close your eyes and picture our dinner time in the 1950s and 1960s. Mom cooked dinner, Dad came home from work, we set the table and over dinner we talked about what is going on in the world, politics, table manners, family history and general stories that formed our values and helped create our goals. Then, moms went to work and the wheels came off, according to Gail Collins in her book, When Everything Changed. We began eating fast food for dinner, unwrapping our meals in the car on the way to soccer. Suddenly no one ate at the table and no one talked over dinner. Once home, homework took priority, and then off to sleep.
This is the first time in history that four generations are functioning in the workplace at the same time. So how do we older people inspire the younger people to learn some of our skills and at the same time learn from them by embracing their technological skills? First, we need to start communicating, and not by email or text. As business leaders, let’s do what we claim is important: invest time and develop these critical relationships by meeting face-to-face and having the 1950′s dinner around the table. This technological world can be good for us all, but also create a socially challenged workforce that is going to soon take our place.
I can’t deny the benefits of ever-evolving technology, but there are cons, too. Multitasking is the enemy of good manners. Hiding behind text messages and email to express feelings and confrontations is destructive to relationships. We are not sharing our values, stories, history in families because we are texting and on Facebook at home, connecting with others while we ignore the people inside our same four walls. It reminds me of a phrase I heard last year that reminds me of what is most important: “Blackberries don’t grow up, but kids do.”
Why trade hearing a loved one’s voice or that of a good friend for a lengthy text messaging exchange? Last year, I lost at least fifteen longtime friends, that today, I would give anything to be able to call and talk with. My goal is to stop texting, start talking and I urge you to do the same. Let’s all make 2011 “The Year That We Start Talking Again.” It will help us develop and maintain good relationships, help our children become empowered and confident, and our businesses provide quality service and experienced salespeople.
With the average teenager sending more than 3,000 text messages per month and spending untold hours on email, blogging, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to share up-to-the-minute updates about what they’re doing, their photos and videos, it’s no surprise that the generation currently coming of age is having so much trouble with traditional face-to-face communication!
Because Millennials, the generation born between 1980 and 2000, use communication tools that often exclusively use only the rapid exchange of text, some of the most basic non-verbal cues have escaped their generation. Millennials communicate primarily through text message and social networking tools, and since those same channels of communication can’t convey a tone and don’t include hand gestures, eye contact, posture, or any of the other non-verbal cues most of us use each day, young adults are missing out on the early lessons of unspoken, often unconscious manners.
For many Millennials, reading an email or text message and updating their Facebook during a business meeting is the norm. Many business leaders in the Baby Boomer generation are convinced that this younger generation doesn’t realize that this kind of multitasking is seen as rude. For them, it is simply how they interact with their age group and friends, but it may very well limit or delay their career path.
If your child, teenager, or twenty-something has had their thumbs on a keyboard for some time now, remember how important it is for them to learn both verbal and unspoken cues. Insist on phone calls and social experiences with the older, wiser, and more mature, or be prepared to forgive this young generation for their transgressions; they simply don’t know any better.Best regards,
It is that time of year again! Holiday parties in homes, civic events and friends gathering. We are all hurried and things are hectic, but it’s important to give some consideration to the time and cost of hosting these events. You can honor your host by being a great guest with my favorite holiday party etiquette tips:
- RSVP, or répondez s’il vous plait, means “reply please”! Always respond with a definitive yes or no, and do this a week ahead of time as the host will be ordering food from a caterer or making their own shopping preparations.
- Read your invitation! It may not include a spouse or a “+1.” This is often the case in business settings.
- Be mindful of the dress code.
- Drink in moderation. You should avoid placing lampshades on your head and loud singing. Lose lips sink ships, need I say more?
- Eat in moderation. You weren’t invited because you’re hungry. It’s always helpful to have a light snack before going to a party, as you may see people you haven’t seen in awhile and get wrapped up in visiting! If you find yourself in the Taco Bell drive-thru on the way home, then so be it.
- Hold your glass in your left hand. When you shake hands, your right hand won’t be cold or wet, and you won’t have to shuffle your drink to another hand when someone extends their hand to you.
- Introduce your spouse or guest, but have a plan if you have forgotten a name. Your spouse will know to jump in and introduce themselves, saving yourself some potential embarrassment. Give them a heads up on who people are and what they might have in common if they are stuck talking to them.
- When invited to a party in a home, take a hostess gift. A bottle of wine or a stack of cute napkins are safe choices.
- Name tags belong on the right side of your chest. This makes it simple to see your name when shaking hands.
- Send a thank you note, and always say hello and goodbye to the host.
When my husband was collecting the Thanksgiving trash after the holiday, he worried about how he could easily stack the pumpkins we were disposing of so that the trash collectors wouldn’t have trouble picking them up. This event reminded me how much I loved the late Tim Russert, former NBC journalist and the host of Meet the Press. I had the pleasure of meeting Tim here in Oklahoma City just a year before he passed away, and received an autographed copy of his book, Big Russ & Me, for my own great dad. The book is about Tim’s lessons from his father, and one such lesson was on the etiquette of trash. Tim’s father worked for the Sanitation Department in Buffalo, New York, and Tim spent every school vacation, summer and winter alike, working with his father.
It wasn’t until working with his father that Tim realized why his dad was so meticulous when it came to throwing away the trash at home. His father always let the kitchen grease harden in a can before he threw it out because he knew what it felt like to pick up a bag and have the bottom drop out after hot kitchen grease had melted the bag. He also knew that some people threw their trash right into the can, without even bagging it, causing the cans to smell and leaving the odor of the trash on his skin and clothes. Other neighborhoods, like the Polish district in Buffalo, New York, wrapped their trash up neatly as if it were a gift. Before Tim started the job, Big Russ taught him how to wrap garbage. He wanted Tim to be considerate, and knew that if he got in the habit of thinking about the “other guy,” including the person who picked up their trash, life could be so much easier.
During this holiday season, filled with wasted food and pounds of crumpled wrapping paper, let’s all do what Tim Russert did: be considerate, and think about the other guy.Best regards,
Whether you are flying to “meet the parents”, driving on the interstate, or seated next to Cousin Eddie, there are a few holiday etiquette tips that always bear repeating.
When you’re flying the friendly skies:
1) Don’t be an armrest hog. Please share with the passenger in the middle seat!
2) When filing out of the plane, one row at a time is proper. Don’t try to run down the aisle to be the first off the plane. In the grand scheme of things, saving 5 minutes won’t make a difference.
3) Traveling with children can be stressful, but avoid letting your children become stressful to others by stopping them from kicking the seats in front of them and being overly noisy.
4) Don’t forget to flush! Never “let it mellow” on an airplane. In the lavatory, drain your water out of the basin for the next person, and be sure to wipe the seat!
5) In the airport, remember to walk to the right, rather than down the middle of the terminals. Texting & walking is trouble – wait until you’re standing in line or seated at your gate. On moving walkways, stand to the right and pass on the left!
While traveling to a funeral this week, my friend’s lovely mother was described as a “visitor.” She took the time to “visit” with the people next to her on the plane. You never know who you may meet in this small world!
When you’re on the road:
1) Etiquette is about expectations! Be sure you use your blinker so the other drivers know your intentions.
2) Ask your kids to put their phones away and actually have some quality family talk. Share stories about earlier family holidays and traditions. Blackberries don’t grow up, but kids do.
3) Most importantly: Don’t text and drive! If it is important enough to risk your life and the lives of your passengers, pull over to send the text.
Around the table:
1) When eating family style, holding the turkey platter, offer some to Cousin Eddie, keep the platter and then pass all food to the right.
2) Salt and pepper are married; please pass them together, and always to the right.
3) Have the kids help set the table! A quick way to teach proper placement of the fork (the left) and knife, spoon, glass (the right) is: “‘Fork’ and ’left’ have 4 letters, ’knife’, ’spoon’, ’glass’ and ’right’ have 5 letters.”Best regards,