As Oklahoma welcomes the Creativity World Forum this week, I’m considering what it means for Oklahoma to be hosting such a vast array of cultures and countries. Representatives from South Africa, France, Germany, Belgium, Russia, Brazil, and several other countries are in attendance. The many cultures represented will require many sets of protocol requirements.
The things we do every day to greet one another are unique to our cultures. Handshakes are expected in the Western world, but not so in Indonesia, as First Lady Michelle Obama learned last week. In Indonesia, it is inappropriate for a western woman to extend their hand to a male unless he extends his own hand first. The Information Minister of Indonesia, Tifatul Sembiring, insisted that his handshake with Mrs. Obama was against his will, but he shook her hand nonetheless. When President Obama shook hands with his Indonesian counterpart, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, he received a fatherly, hand clasping handshake, as President Obama had lived in Indonesia as a child and was being welcomed back to the country. This is customary in Indonesia for greeting a guest, but that very same handshake would not be appropriate in the U.S., as it is seen as somewhat condescending in business.
Citizens traveling throughout the world, whether for business or pleasure, are expected to understand greetings from country to country. This week as Oklahomans welcome cultures from the world over into our great state, be mindful of greetings and the cultural faux pas associated with them. Doing some homework on greetings is the easy part, pronouncing the name of your Indonesian counterpart might not be!Best regards,
This weekend is the kick-off for spring running-The Redbud Classic and later this month, the Memorial Marathon. Here is a list of notable etiquette rules, compliments of my husband’s running group.
“As the weather finally realizes it is spring and the weather is nicer, more and more people change their exercise of choice to running. This beautiful weather brings some of our most popular races. Regardless of whether you are a new runner, or a seasoned vet, it never hurts to review some simple unspoken rules for racing.”
1. Always line up at the proper pace marker. Don’t line up in the 7 minute pace if you are a 10 minute pace.
2. If you must wear your headphones, please make sure you can still hear those around you in case someone needs to get your attention.
3. If you are going to slow down or stop to tie your shoe, please move to the side of the road. You could really be hurt if you just stop in the middle of the road.
4. Spitting and nose blowing- carry a tissue or handkerchief please and before you export anything, make sure it is not landing on someone behind you. That Oklahoma wind has been howling lately!
5. When you stop at a water station for a quick drink, try to send your empty cup into a trash can. And thank the volunteers.
6. Be polite, pay attention and have fun!
Thanks to Chris Hopeman and “The Running Group.”Best regards,
I have to be the last person to see “The Blind Side.” Just released yesterday in DVD, I scurried home at 8 pm from a civic meeting to settle in and give my full attention to this award-winning movie. Not only was Sandra Bullock fabulous, but the young man playing Michael Oher was kind and well-mannered. He grew up with no father and his mother was a drug addict. How in the world did he know to neatly fold the bedding sheets after spending the night on the family’s couch? My goodness, the young man had never before even had a bed! There were countless times where he produced courtesy, respect and good manners.
My favorite part of the movie was the Thanksgiving scene. Let me start with saying this family had every financial resource available, a beautiful home, cars and a huge dining room table. At dinner time, the family all sat down in front of the television to eat and watch football. All but Michael. He was sitting alone at the large dining room table. He had seen a Norman Rockwell picture of a family sitting together at a table for a holiday and he wanted to feel that connection. Quickly realizing their error, the family joined him at the table complete with food served “family style.”
How do we expect our kids to learn table manners, how to have a conversation with others or even who we are and what we think if we don’t take the time for a meal–no TV and at a table with silverware? A few months ago I taught an etiquette class to a group of area high school kids. They were the most well-behaved and inquisitive high school group I have had. I taught Table Manners 101 and then they were served a formal meal in order to practice their new skills. While walking around to answer questions I realized they were fumbling with the knife and fork. As cutting meat is one of my top pet peeves, I was certain to have them master this skill. Some of them just couldn’t overcome the awkwardness of handling the silverware. For days I pondered why…then realized that kids today are unwrapping their food, their fast food, they are not using a knife and fork.
With our busy lives packed with sports, music lessons, TV shows, cell phones, test messaging during meals and fast food dinners, I have proof that our kids are in our “Blind Side.” It is time to produce our own award-winning movie at home.Best regards,
I love the “Tuna” guys! I was thrilled to attend the Saturday afternoon “Tuna Does Vegas”show with my family. Here are a few etiquette tips for the next show -
1. Please don’t take both arm rests. Sharing is nice.
2. Leave your cell phone in the car. A woman on the other side of the arm rest hugger, asked if she had turned off her phone, she replied, “no it is in my purse, but don’t worry, no one will call me.” So why bring it in?
3. When you come in late and it is dark, you are blocking the view while you are looking for your seat. Not to mention that people who were there on time have to be interrupted and stand up to let you in.
4. While standing at your seat during the short intermission, please don’t sway back and forth and hit the person in front of you in the head with your coat sleeves.
5. The good etiquette news – everyone paid attention, no distracting whisperers and we all laughed out loud!
Great job, as usual, Joe Sears and Jaston Williams.Best regards,
On March 4, 2010 the YOU! section 20/40/60 question was asking if “manners are passe? ” I loved Lille-Beth’s answer regarding “The Associated Press Stylebook.” If you missed it, she talks about journalistic consistency in writing that allows one to concentrate upon what is being said, rather than focusing on spelling or grammatical errors that detract from the story. She applies this same consistency to manners. ”If you have good manners, even if they go unnoticed, people can enjoy your company without a negative distraction. ”
The use of the word “distraction” or lack thereof in regards to etiquette, was used by the Queen of Etiquette, Emily Post. She notes that good etiquette allows one to be comfortable in another’s presence. When we know what to expect from each other we are comfortable, allowing each person to focus upon the goal of the meeting. Could it be a potential client, your future in-laws or a job interview? We are all selling something to someone, so why not give yourself the best shot at the sale?
I have been writing about George Washington and his 110 “Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour.” Many of his “rules” are about being distracting with your hands, feet, humming and nail biting. I am amazed that those issues were alive in early business. Many times during business meals I become distracted by someone blowing their nose at the table, loudly stabbing their lettuce or playing with their hair. When those things are happening, I simply cannot focus on the purpose of the meeting. Honestly, the H1N1 germ scare makes these habits even more distracting! For example, at an evening business meeting, I walked up to shake a man’s hand just as he sneezed into his right hand. I didn’t even hear his name because I could only think about washing my hand. Bingo – distracted! If you sneeze, do it in the left hand, not the one you use to shake.
In this economic downturn, when competition is high, we all need to be at our best in the business world. Please take a few minutes and contemplate what things you might be doing that are distracting others from seeing you in top form.Best regards,
George Washington would be 278 years old tomorrow. As a grown man, he gave this country much, but as a 14 year old boy, he produced 110 etiquette rules, then called “courtesy books.” His 110 rules were published as “George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behavior In Company and Conversation.” Here are are few of his interesting and applicable rules of etiquette-
Rule #76 While you are talking, point not with your finger at him of whom you discourse nor approach too near him to whom you talk, especially to his face.
Rule #82 Undertake not what you cannot perform, but be careful to keep your promise.
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.
It amazes me that a young man, schooled at home by his father and elder brother had the knowledge and wisdom to create these suggestions for behavior.
I will leave you with my favorite rule which is the bedrock of all manners. Rule # 1 Every action done in company ought to be with some sign of respect to those that are present.Best regards,
When Dr. Noel Williams told me about the Fat Flush Diet he said by Day 4 or 5 you will want to kill someone. Instead I wanted to break in to Homeland and eat all of the Cheese Nip crackers in stock. This is Day 5, No Cell Zone. I felt that same feeling today. Luckily, I stayed in the office, even for lunch, so my first driving experience was Broadway Extension north 4:45 p.m.
I never go home on Broadway, but I have known forever that the lane runs out at 36th Street and they even give you a big warning a mile ahead at 23rd Street. I am so confused how drivers who go this same way home every night forget about the lane ending and drive past all of the cars lined up in the lane that continues north. Passing all of us “preparers” only to get 30 cars ahead of us and wind their way “cutting” in front of us nice guys. Guess what? We all know you weren’t “surprised when the lane ended” or “just didn’t see the huge yellow lane ends sign until 36th Street.”
I think I used to overlook all these uncivil people because I was too busy talking on the phone plus I couldn’t yell into my phone mate’s ear. Today, talking on the phone might be a better idea than feeling incensed, pulling over for a box of Cheese Nips and then speeding to Yoga class to relax. BUT, I signed the agreement, and I do what I say I’ll do. Maybe if I go to BC Clark’s and buy that purple ring on the southbound billboard, the glare of the stone will distract me while driving north on Broadway at 23rd.Best regards,
Thanks to The Oklahoman for printing this as Best of Blogs today!
Day 4 NO CELL ZONE
I wish a diet worked this quickly! Honestly, this is like stopping a habit by changing your routine. This morning, I felt much less stressed and strong, but by 10:30 a.m., I heard, “your mailbox is almost full!” I took a deep breath and easily returned the calls, again, in a nice parking place in front of a customer’s office.
Today, I was able to notice the cars entering Broadway Extension and I merged for them! How civil and how many times did I not notice before? Speaking of Broadway–the BC Clark sign- PURPLE RING again. In fact, I saw it twice today! I should talk about Valentine’s Day etiquette soon.
One thing I haven’t disclosed, I have two phones. A Blackberry and an iPhone. One business, one personal. Today, while driving, I decided I would ponder which one I liked best. The keys work faster on the Blackberry when I text, they are sleek and push easily, but the apps are so much more fun! And the iPod is so nice when going up the elevator of the Empire State Building. Right now, the jury is still out.
I heard two Lady GaGa songs- Speechless and Brown Eyes. Satellite Radio is wonderful, I was paying for it and not using it because I was talking in the car. Maybe I’ll know who the Kings of Leon are tomorrow!
I turned south on Western off Wilshire and noticed a man in a parka, waiting for the bus. He was visibly cold, I was struck by the fact I was too busy talking to ever notice him. It made me sad, but thankful for my warm car, my great job and slowing down to “feel” – whether it was bad or good.
My family has a history of hitting things when being in reverse – Big Revelation – in the parking garage today, no phone in my ear, I can back up and see where I am going before I hear BOOM!
To Ann Dagg, Investment Advisor to the Stars- thank you for telling me you had already started this same quest because you were scattered too. Keep writing in and let’s save our money for those rings! I loved the information about what the purple stone means. Note: I like the brown one too!
Tonight my college daughter called to tell me she has been reading this blog, and was surely worried I would embarrass her. But tonight, she asked me to talk about her more….so Jordan, sign the NO CELL ZONE pledge, you have every reason to do it. Love, MomBest regards,
Day 2 – Luckily I stayed home most of the day, but made a quick run to my parents’ house just blocks away. On the way home the phone rang in my purse. I instantly started to grab it, but quickly dropped it realizing I had forgotten my commitment. Not such a difficult day because I was not in my element.
Day 3 – Imagine what you’d see if you weren’t on the phone while driving. The BC Clark’s sign with a great purple ring I need for Valentine’s Day. I have never noticed so many people NOT talking on their phones! One man was actually eating an apple while driving. Leaving downtown I had 3 calls within 3 minutes. I felt my heart pounding, it must be important because they all came together…an emergency? I made myself continue to drive until I reached the Friday newspaper. No emergencies, none of the calls were the same people. I spent a lot of time with my car running in a parking space while I read emails and returned calls, but I survived. I realized too how nice it is to call people on a land line, no one is “cell yelling” or no dumped calls. I am liking this “slow down for civility”, at least for today. Thank you Cliff, for the challenge.Best regards,
After I wrote the column about slowing down to be more civil, several friends pointed out that “they will, if I will.” So, I started thinking about it and many things have been revealed to me in the past week that I think are sending me a sign to slow down. Among those things-
Not an artist of any means, I took a 3 day painting class, a silent painting class. Thursday’s YOU section discussed cell phone etiquette and pet peeves of cell phone use and there are ALOT! Then, on Friday, I watched Oprah and she asked for her birthday gift to be that her listeners sign an agreement on her website titled the NO CELL ZONE this means you stop talking, texting and emailing while driving. She says 71% of people 18-49 admit they do it. Additionally, 500,000 people were injured in accidents involving these tasks and 6,000 people were killed last year. Those stats include the worst commuter train accident in history caused by the conductor that had sent 40 texts before they crashed.
I felt compelled to stop – even though I only talk with “hands free” while in my car and I don’t text unless I am stopped. I decided to sign the agreement and see how it changes my life. I think the constant connection doesn’t allow us to ponder, relax, slow down enough to be civil, listen to music, be creative or see the beauty of our city.
Two years ago tomorrow, I was the victim a severe car accident and my daughter has also been rear-ended and her car totaled by a texting teen.
So, here is to Day One, my no cell zone…..lots of calls had to go to voice mail, but I returned them while safely in a parking space….it was hard, but if I turn it off, I won’t be tempted to look. Goal for tomorrow–hear my first Lady Gaga song while driving and less intro to the blog.Best regards,