Good Manners Open Doors

‘Etiquette’ isn’t an antiquated term or idea. In fact, those who learn and wield it today often see positive outcomes, both personally and professionally.

In a world where information is at our fingertips and virtual meetings are the norm, it is vital to have a grasp on general etiquette – and just how we present ourselves to the world on a day-to-day basis.

“The internet can be an excellent resource for etiquette information,” says Carey Sue Vega of Expeditions in Etiquette based in Oklahoma City. “However, I would proceed with caution when it comes to just ‘Googling it.’ Remember, there is a lot of outdated information out there – and just because it’s on the internet doesn’t make it true.”

Vega goes on to explain that a local, reputable etiquette coach or expert will have years of training and experience in the rules and guidelines for manners –both old school and modern. Such coaches keep up to date with current trends and can typically answer any questions you may have, or help you prepare for an occasion or event you might be anticipating.

“Mastering the art of the ‘soft skill’ is a critical first step on the road to real life business success,” says Vega. “Personal networking is the one skill you can never outsource. Building relationships is the foundation of networking and knowing how to create comfortable conversation will build relationships.”

According to Vega, these soft skill basics apply at business meetings, social gatherings and networking events.

“The bottom line is that people want to do business with people they’re comfortable with – people they know, like and trust,” she says.  “You can’t create true connection without comfortable conversation.”

Vega believes learning general conversation skills, and having the confidence to use them, will make you memorable, thus setting you apart from the rest of the crowd.

“Also remember, it’s not only what you know – it’s who you know,” she says. “Developing good working relationships is an integral part of networking success. In our youth, high school and young professional programs, I work with students, teaching them the importance of polite conversation, eye contact, body language, a firm handshake. All the things they need to feel confident when meeting others in both formal and informal settings.”

Susan Ellis of Good Manners, LLC, in Tulsa agrees that soft skills are integral to etiquette, which is thus integral to success and development. 

“If you are a person who values culture and wants to make a positive impression on others, you probably know and follow basic etiquette rules in various settings,” she says. “Proper etiquette is linked to good manners, good behavior, strong values, kindness and respect. Etiquette training should start in childhood and continue throughout life as a learning process.”

A few simple steps can be incorporated into our daily routines to get us on the right track, says Ellis. 

“Respect others’ time and avoid oversharing information,” she says. “Familiarize yourself with company policies and procedures, work on your pitch, and actively listen to build rapport. Learn proper dining etiquette to avoid vulgarity and disrespect. Invest in taking a class if you don’t know something. Presenting the best version of yourself takes knowledge and guidance. Your future self will thank you for making the right choices now.”

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