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Hi There! The Etiquette of Salutations in Business Communications

August 12, 2017


Envelope & Pen
A friend of mine recently commented that a large number of emails she has received over the past few months seem to begin with “Hi!” or “Hi Jane!” While that’s an appropriate salutation if you are sending a note to a friend, it is not appropriate if you’re reaching out to a business contact—or someone you don’t know personally. An email is a letter, and should be treated as such—from beginning to end.

With our ability to fire off quick emails and send texts that include short-forms of words (LOL) and fun emoticons, when writing a business letter, here are salutation tips to remember…that never go out of style.

Most of the time, in the business arena you will start your e-mail or letter with “Dear Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. or Dr. Hyde or even Dear Margaret –whichever is the appropriate way to address the recipient depending on your relationship with them. Also consider the industry norm and even the culture you are communicating with.

However you begin, the salutation ends with a colon. You know the punctuation mark that’s used in happy faces :0). (Although most people incorrectly use the semi-colon; in salutations.)

It is important to note that traditionally, “Mrs.” Was used for married women and “Miss” was used to address unmarried women. Because this distinction was made only for women—with men always being referred to as “Mr.” regardless of marital status –we now use “Ms.” in salutations to address women unless you know they are married. Most of the time, you will start your letter with “Dear Mr. or Mrs. or Ms. or Dr. ______–whichever is the appropriate way to address the recipient—followed by a colon.

Unless you know that the person you’re sending the e-mail or letter prefers “Miss” or “Mrs.,” always use “Ms.” when addressing her in a formal manner.

If your business letter or email is not being addressed to one particular person at a company, the best practice is to address the company, the department or the specific role. The more specific you are, the more likely your letter will make it to the hands of the appropriate person. If, for example,you’re sending a cover letter with your resume—and you don’t have the name of the human resources director (although it might be better to do some digging as that will probably get your letter to the top of the pile), address the letter with “Dear Human Resources Director.”

As busy as we are today, it’s highly likely that your business correspondence is being sent via Internet rather than through the post office. It’s important to note that even though it’s so easy to send a quick note to a client or business contact by email, the salutation sets the tone for the remainder of the email message.

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Posted by Margaret in Communication, Etiquette Tips, Everyday Etiquette and tagged

The Fundamentals of Photo Etiquette

July 3, 2017

camera in a cameraFacebook and other photo-sharing networks growing life wildfire, many of us have had this unfortunate experience, and the feeling that follows is downright awful! Such careless regard for others’ feelings translates to bad photo etiquette.

Remember, permission is very important, for both taking and sharing a picture of someone else.

This lesson is especially important in dealing with other cultures. All around the globe, people believe that when someone takes your picture, they trap your soul. Carelessly snapping shots of an Australian Aborigine or Native American could be considered a grave offense, and even land you in jail!

Even with your average tech-savvy person, always ask permission before posting pictures of other people online. There are many reasons they might decline, and their privacy must be respected.

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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette and tagged , , ,

Did you know…? About forks?

June 30, 2017

fork
While the knife and spoon have long been accepted as common eating utensils, the fork had a much harder time earning its place at the table. The fork’s similarity to the pitchfork, a sign of the devil, was the source of most resistance.

Imagine the astonishment then, in 1004, when Maria Argyropoulina, Greek niece of Byzantine Emperor Basil II, arrived in Venice for her marriage with a case of golden forks to use at the wedding feast. She was roundly condemned by the local clergy.

When she died of the plague two years later, Saint Peter Damian suggested that it was God’s punishment for her “forked” ways. The devil took her!

By the 1400s dining forks were appearing in Italian cookbooks, and shortly thereafter, another noble marriage influenced the public’s perception of the fork. Catherine de Medici arrived from Italy to marry the future French King Henry II, and with her she brought several dozen intricate silver forks. Wealthy French families eagerly adopted the new Italian influence. (Who knew the fork was once pop culture?)

Well into the early 1800s, forks were still considered a novelty by some, and the source of great confusion to others.

By the first World’s Fair in 1851, the fork had finally gained widespread Western acceptance as a popular eating utensil. It even had its own set of rules to help the confused or socially self conscious. Perhaps that was the point when the fork’s reputation as the ultimate symbol of etiquette issues was first forged.

So, the next time you sit down to a formal meal and feel a hint of panic at the sight of three forks, don’t sweat it! Your ancestors didn’t get it either, but in time, there’s hope for us all.

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Posted by Margaret in History of Etiquette and tagged

Many Dimensions of Your Path

June 15, 2017

Other people may be there to help us, teach us, guide us along our path,
but the lesson to be learned is always ours.”

– Unknown

Forest Lane Forest Path Away Autumn Nature

Feeling like you’re “on the right path” is crucial to being satisfied with your life. Most of us know this, but when it comes to determining what the “right path” is, many people are unsure.

Your path is a way of being in the world that fulfills you and calls forward your own unique gifts. If you’re wondering if you’re on the right path. well then you’re not. How do I know that? Because when you’re on the right path, you know it. It feels absolute and undeniable – it’s just right, and no one can convince you otherwise.

If you aren’t feeling that level of clarity and conviction, it’s time to do some investigating. Think about the following questions: What makes your heart sing? What makes you so excited that you can’t wait to jump out of bed in the morning?

When presented with these questions, some people get very excited as they tap into their own reservoir of personal inspiration and energy. But others get anxious, frustrated, even depressed by these questions — because they can’t feel their own passion anymore. Maybe they lost faith in the possibility of their dream, or someone talked them out of it. Or they just got swallowed up by the demands of day-to-day life and forgot to keep dreaming.

For those of you who are confused about your path, a few questions can get you thinking in the right direction:

  • When you were a child, what did you always want to be? Why? This line of thinking can call forward some of your innate talents and core passions.
  • Who do you admire, or aspire to be like? What do you like best about this person? These questions can reveal some of your intangible goals.
  • What roles do you play in your life (i.e. parent, boss, confidante, etc.)? How would you like to show up in each of these roles?
  • What is your most cherished compliment? Why is that important to you?
  • What would you like to experience in life?

If you’re ready to take action on a path that inspires you, please take some time for the following exercise. Not only will you walk away with some valuable insights about your life, but you’ll also have the clarity to make changes and take steps in a direction that resonates deeply with you.

As a coach, I recommend:
Go to my website www.beyondthepage.ca and download the Wheel of Life.

This wheel represents your life. On a scale of 0-10, where the center of the wheel is zero and the outer edge is 10, indicate your level of satisfaction in each area of your life by shading in that section of the wheel. (For example, if you’re fully satisfied, shade the entire section; if you rate that area of your life at a 5, start at the center and shade halfway to the edge.)

Once you’ve finished shading, take a look at the shape of your Wheel of Life. Is it full and smooth, or uneven and jagged? This wheel is the vehicle you are using to travel your path. how bumpy is your ride?

Now, choose an area of your life that you’d most like to improve and brainstorm three action steps that will improve your experience in that area. For example, if you scored low on Health, you could schedule an appointment with the doctor, join a gym, improve your diet, take vitamins, eat more nutritiously, and so on.

Commit to raising your rating by 1-2 points in the next week, and another increase within 30 days. With consistent steps in the right direction, a rewarding path is only a matter of time.

Have fun with this – after all it’s your life! Your path!

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Posted by Amazing Editor in A Page of Insight and tagged , ,

The Business Lunch Demystified

June 10, 2017

Lunch

Lunchtime is a great opportunity to be productive and network. Here is a healthy serving of guidance to help you thrive in a business lunch.

No matter where you go for your business lunch, be on time. If you live in a big city, you know that traffic can be terrible. Even in the worst traffic scenarios, you can be on time if you plan ahead. Arriving early gives you time to use the restroom to check your appearance, fix your tie, reapply lipstick, make sure your shirt is tucked in, etc.

At your lunch meeting, enjoy your meal, be yourself, and remember to exchange any important information before you leave the table.

In Japan, meishi koukan is the formal exchange of business cards. The practice is very important in Japanese culture, and their long list of proper steps in the business card exchange is taken seriously. While we are not so formal in North America we have adopted the Japanese custom of handing a business card to someone with both hands with the print readable to the receiver. Your business card needs to be pristine and accurate. Look the person in the eye as you hand them your business card.

No matter the type of business lunch, whether it is an interview, a sales pitch, or just a get-to-know-you meal, remember your table manners. Keep the phone on silent and put away, and keep your handbag on a hook — never on the table or floor. Know and practice napkin knowhow, silent service code, and be silverware savvy.

Before you meet for your next business lunch, have an outcome for that lunch in mind. If you invited someone to lunch let them know why you are wanted to meet with them. It is good form to pay for your guest if you extended the invitation. If it is a mutually agreed upon luncheon, be prepared to pick up the tab, at least for yourself, when the bill arrives. Most importantly, be polite, stay focused on the outcome, and enjoy the conversation.

 

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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , ,

10 Ways Women Sabotage Their Own Presentations (And How to Fix Them)

May 11, 2017

Speaker at conference and presentation. Audience at the conference hall

Presenting before a group is a golden opportunity to make your voice and your opinions heard, to change minds and hearts, and to woo people to your business.

So why is it that we women are so prone to sabotaging these valuable moments?

I’ve watched thousands of speakers and have presented innumerable times myself, and over the years I’ve noticed a pattern: Women are prone to several habits and tics that undermine their message.

I’m not saying that men don’t make similar mistakes — they do — but let’s face facts. Woman make less money on the dollar. We face the tug-of-war between home and the office in a different way than men do. We risk being called too shrill, too bossy, too opinionated.

Combine that with the following speaking faux pas and you risk undermining your own hard work. You can gain the upper hand, though, with a bit of practice. Here are the most common mistakes we women make — and how to fix them.

No point of view. Women are wonderful at one-on-one discussions and small groups because we’re naturals at collaborating and building consensus. Unfortunately, that also means that many women avoid the stage. We have fewer female speaking role models that we can emulate, and we can tend toward general sharing of information rather than specific viewpoints. A presentation without a point of view can come off as a lecture, or the presenter can appear wishy-washy. The fix: Create and cultivate your own unique perspective. Think about TED Talks: They’re informative, yet they always have a point of view that makes you think. By drilling down, reflecting and asking good questions about your information you can develop an opinion that stands out.

Pacing the stage. This is a bad habit that’s common among both men and women presenting on small to medium stages. Pacing the stage makes you seem unsure and it also robs your audience of a steady viewing point. Think about what audiences have become accustomed to: Broadcasters stay in one spot. At large events, you don’t see speakers dashing all over the stage — it would be magnified on the Jumbotron! Of course, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move during your presentation. But pacing doesn’t indicate confidence or wisdom; it telegraphs nervousness to the crowd. The fix: Try the Fripp method of stage movement: move when you want to demonstrate action such as walking or running, when you demonstrate the passing of time, and when you transition from point to point. Remember that your goal is to connect with your message and to connect with your audience. Before speaking, release nervous energy with jumping jacks and move on to deep, diaphragmatic breathing to center yourself and clear your mind. You can even hold your hand over your heart to remind you of how you want to present yourself to your audience: With a passion that clearly comes from within.

High voice and upspeak. Everyone’s voice tends to rise when nervous — it’s human nature — but on the stage it’s a clear sign that you have a bit of stage fright. Upspeak, on the other hand, is when your voice rises at the end of a sentence so that it sounds like a question. Women are more prone to upspeak thanks to our collaborative nature; we want to invite opinions. It’s common for speakers to draw the audience in with rhetorical and literal questions, but those questions need to be planned and deliberate. The fix: Practice modulating your voice. Slow down. Be present. Focus more on connecting with your audience rather than being overwhelmed by the prospect of having one. Remember, all speaking is public speaking and you’ve been speaking to others your entire life.

Too much smiling. Women are taught from an early age to smile, but smiling too much can seem as if you’re insincere. I’ve watched women smile through presentations even when they’re delivering pain points and bad or sad news, which throws the audience off. You want your facial movements to reflect your inner feelings and emotions; otherwise, it’s just a mask! An audience can always sense a speaker’s lack of authenticity. The fix: Practice with your presentation so that you’re not just reading words, you’re delivering a message. You would be thrown off if a person told you about a death in the family while smiling; the same rules apply to your presentation. Both you and your audience will have a better time if you take the journey together. A word of caution: If you’re still acutely grieving over a loss or difficult event you’re not yet ready to share what you’ve learned from the platform.

Clothing that doesn’t match the occasion. There’s a time and place for your favorite short skirt or deep-V shirt, but it’s not on a stage or in a boardroom where it can detract from your credibility. The fix: Stick to skirts or dresses that are knee-length or just above the knee and avoid cleavage.

The wrong set of heels. As with short skirts and low-cut tops, there’s a place for those sky-high stilettos. (Hint: It’s not at work or on the stage.) Keep in mind, too, that certain high heels — no matter the heel size — can make a distracting clack-clack-clack as you walk across a stage. The fix: Stash the stilettos and test your heels on a hard surface before making your presentation. If they make noise when you walk, ditch them in favor of a less noisy pair. If the problem persists, buy some felt-bottomed ballroom dance shoes. This will allow your words to be heard rather than your heels.

Clothing patterns. Men, in their suits and ties, normally have an advantage here: We haven’t seen too many heavily patterned clothes for men since the 1970s. We women, on the other hand, have a wide variety of styles and patterns to choose from when dressing. Unfortunately, too-busy patterns can put the focus on our clothes rather than on what we’re saying. The fix: Reserve patterns for off-work hours and stick to solids.

Imploding body language. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has a term for women who cross their legs, pull their shoulders in, or cross their arms: “imploding.” All three of these body stances make you physically smaller, which is the opposite of what you want when you’re before an audience. To connect, you must be open. For your message to land, you need to deliver it confidently. Creating the smallest version of yourself doesn’t indicate confidence, it indicates defensiveness. The fix: Stand with your shoulders back and your spine straight. If you’re sitting, keep your legs together and uncrossed or crossed at the ankle.

Using eyeglasses as props. Eyeglasses are essential for so many of us, but they belong in one place during presentations: Balanced on the bridge of your nose. If your glasses slide down your nose and you peer over them, it gives the actual effect of looking down your nose at someone. Not the best if you’re trying to create a real connection. Another faux pas is removing the glasses and then holding them while speaking. Drama teachers will tell you that props are powerful because they command attention. Do you want to command attention to your reading glasses? The fix: Adjust your glasses immediately if they slide down your nose. At the next opportunity, have them adjusted at an eyeglass store. If you need to remove your glasses during a presentation, make sure you have a place to stash them out of sight.

Preening. This is another unconscious action that’s particular to women: We touch our faces and push around our hair while speaking, which is just as distracting as using eyeglasses as props. The fix: If necessary, pull your hair back so you’re not tempted to touch it. Ask your hairstylist to teach you two or three stage-ready styles that you can easily create yourself. Touching your face can be a difficult habit to break, but I’ve found great success by remembering that touching your face can spread germs and make myself more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu.

With a little preparation, practice, and awareness, you can dial back distractions and turn your next speaking engagement into a chance to make a difference for your audience.

 

 

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Posted by Margaret Page in A Page of Insight, Communication and tagged ,

Email Essentials

April 21, 2017

Infographic email

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Posted by Margaret Page in Uncategorized

A Roadmap of Manners from Coast to Coast

March 19, 2017

Diverse People in a Circle with Culture Concept

If you have done any kind of travel, especially for business, you will have noticed there can be huge differences in the way we communicate, ways of dress, leisure activities, and business practices from Coast to Coast. Our cultural norms—how we behave socially or in business from region to region or age group to age group—can feel as dramatic as visiting a foreign land.

According to a prominent social and cultural psychologist, the stereotypes we hear are true – the East is more old and established and the West is more new and free, and this does not differ in the business world.

Crossing the Communication Border

The way people speak – the words, tone, and dialect they use – are one of the biggest differences we see from coast to coast. This can be especially challenging in business settings.

How we greet each other is often unique to a region. In the Northeast, people are less likely to greet people with a “hello” while walking to their office, unless you know the person.  In the South and the West, however, if you pass someone in the hallway, or are sharing a long elevator ride, it would be odd not to smile or extend a casual greeting to the individual.

And of course, if you are in the South you can expect to be greeted with a cheery “Yes, Ma’am” or a “Hi Ya’ll!” from all levels of the corporate ladder. By simply paying attention to a greeting you can easily understand where someone’s roots are planted.

Differences within cross-regional communication also apply to indirect communication. In New York City, busy businesspeople move from home to work with purpose. They are accustomed to the busyness around them—to the point where the sounds they encounter from Point A to Point B fall on deaf ears.

Remember Emma Stone’s interview about the filming of the Spiderman movie. Busy New York office workers hustled along and were so oblivious to the action (where cars were literally being blown up) that they had to hire people to react to the situations. You are less likely to see that kind of reaction on the West Coast. Though just as determined and focused in their business life, if cars are blowing up around them, they’re likely to stop and watch the action.

When it comes to business communication, the most important thing to remember is to be open and flexible—and if you’re unsure of what behaviour is expected or appreciated, just ask.

Dressing for Success

Take for example a recent client’s visit to coastal California. In what we would call the business hub of the city, she found businessmen and women dressed in casual attire—especially in the heat of summer. Gentlemen rarely wear suits—opting for pressed khakis and a nice polo shirt in its place. Where suits and ties are a rare occurrence in the West, gentlemen seem to shower with them on in the East.

A West Coast businessperson was surprised on a recent business trip to New York City because of how different the corporate culture felt. Men and women in suits scurried from the subway to the office—grabbing a bagel at the local food cart. Said businessperson exclaimed how New Yorkers moved with intention. She herself felt that she couldn’t keep up with them, and she wasn’t the one in 3-inch heels!

And, much like the South where temperatures and humidity are higher, you won’t see women wearing pantyhose to the office. The atmosphere in the West is definitely more laid back and casual.

An interesting tidbit to note: women who work in the White House or on Parliament Hill must wear stockings or hose and closed toed shoes ALL year round. Though this may be surprising, those that work closely with other cultures must set a high standard and respect other’s cultural beliefs around dress codes.

Since wearing inappropriate clothing to a foreign area can sometimes be awkward and embarrassing, there are things you can do to ensure the comfort of others when faced with cultural and regional differences. Do your homework before your next business trip by making Google your go-to resource. Enter in the address or area, such as Downtown Vancouver, where you’ll be prompted with a street view that allows you to see how people are dressed! Or, simply search for the city’s business attire, such as Business Attire Vancouver, for a host of resources that discuss etiquette do’s and don’ts catered to that city.

Mixing Business with Pleasure

It is becoming more and more common to mix “labor with leisure” – that is, business with pleasure. Attending a cocktail party at your boss’ home, or gathering the team for a brainstorm session over lunch at a colleague’s apartment, is not uncommon nowadays. And if you do visit someone’s home for a business-related function, one of the things that can differ from one coast to the other is whether to remove your shoes. Most likely, if you came from a colder climate where part of the year is under snow, you grew up removing your shoes at the door, before entering someone’s home — winter or summer. It just became a habit. And when you enter someone’s home today, no matter where you live, it’s the first thing you do.

Whereas those that grew up in climates where the walkways remain clean all year round are encouraged to leave their footwear on.  Bare feet or sweaty socks on carpets or hardwoods can be damaging and is really not a good practice, but in the battle between dirty shoes and stocking feet – socks wins!

Outdoor leisure activities also differ from region to region. Since the weather in the West is moderate, golf is a popular business leisure activity. Its also not uncommon for businesspeople in metropolitan cities such as Los Angeles to take their clients to NHL, NFL, or MBL sporting events, or to even experience the city’s nightlife. However in the South, you can expect an invitation for something more adventurous, such as hunting. In the Northeast, leisure activities can range from fishing to a night at the theatre.

If you know your business travels will include an activity that’s unfamiliar to you, it doesn’t hurt to do some light research. If you are feeling uneasy about your abilities to do said sport, expressing a light-hearted joke with your company at the start of the day will help ease your tensions.

Culturally Connected

We’ve all heard the expression that begins “When in Rome…”; when it comes to travelling for business relations, the expression holds true. It’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. Prior to scheduling your business travels, it is essential to check the region’s observed holidays. Where Jewish holidays are honored in Southern Florida and the North East, the Midwest and the South are known to embrace the traditions of Cinco de Mayo. However in cities such as New York and Los Angeles, you will likely find that only traditional holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are observed. These are all important to keep in mind when scheduling business trips.

Respecting cultural boundaries also takes effect in more intimate circumstances such as hugging and cheek kissing. Some things to consider are how long you have known the person and whether you are friends with them outside of the business arena. The setting also comes into consideration here; what if their boss is present? No matter how well you know the person, a handshake may be the better choice in this situation.

Is the Gap Narrowing?

While it’s true that there are definite cultural nuances, it’s also true that these differences seem to be narrowing as younger generations move into the business world. Co-working spaces are opening across the country—east to west. Millennials and Gen Y’ers are slowly changing the way we work and it’s happening everywhere. Working from co-working spaces or coffee shops have become the “norm” for this generation and working traditions are far less formal than what generations before them are accustomed to.

No matter what part of the country you are in, the most important thing to remember is that you are in someone else’s backyard—not yours, so avoid making any judgements. By being respectful, receptive, and inclusive of new cultures and “norms,” you will benefit. And when in doubt, let it go! No one is trying to offend you!

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Posted by Margaret Page in Uncategorized and tagged , , ,

A Valentine’s Survival Guide for Couples

February 13, 2017

Heart frame from red rose petals over white background

I know Valentine’s Day is here already, but here are some Valentines Day etiquette tips that will ensure a romantic and memorable evening (and keep everyone out of the dog house!)

(Note: If you waited until today to buy a special Valentine’s Day card, you might be stuck with the leftover corny Valentine’s Day cards. Think about making your own card for your sweetie. Homemade gifts are always a hit in the romance department.)

  • Turn your cell phones off: It goes without saying that you should give your date your undivided attention at all times, and most especially on such a romantic day as Valentine’s Day. Gentlemen: turn your cell phones off—and leave them off the table–so you’re not tempted to check sports scores during dinner.
  • Buying a gift: Valentines Day means different things to different people – depending on how long you’ve been together and how serious the relationship is. A traditional gift of flowers and chocolate are still time-honored traditions, and they fit into most budgets. Remember, it really is the thought that counts. Handwritten love letters are also a hit!
  • Mind your table manners: As with any time you’re sharing a meal with someone, be sure to bring along your best table manners. Chewing with your mouth open or shoveling food into your mouth is NOT romantic.
  • For the men: Remember the simple things, like opening the door for her, helping her with her coat, and pulling out her chair for her if the wait staff don’t do it for her.
  • Who pays? Many women are still looking for that knight in shining armor–chivalry is desirable. So, men, pick up the tab unless your lady in waiting has extended the dinner invitation.

Valentines hearts beat more passionately than everyday hearts

~ Anonymous

 Wishing you all a very happy (and romantic) Valentines Day!

photo credit: pixieclipx 

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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette

Flying Solo: Valentine’s Day Tips for Singles

February 7, 2017

Heart Crayon
Just because you’re single on Valentines Day doesn’t mean you have to miss out on an opportunity to do something special. Defy Cupid this year with these Valentine’s etiquette tips for single guys and gals – and make Valentine’s Day 2017 a day to remember!

  • Plan ahead – Prepare a plan of action well before the day arrives so you’re not stuck for ideas when Cupid comes to town.
  • Do something nice for yourself – Do you love flowers? Buy yourself a big bouquet. Enjoy chocolate? There are plenty of decadent chocolates to choose from! Buy yourself the biggest box! Men, pick up that gadget you’ve been eyeing since Christmas. Splurge a little on yourself this Valentine’s Day!
  • Relax – Schedule a massage or book a day at the spa. Splurge on a bottle of expensive wine, make your favorite dish and eat  in front of the TV — watching your all-time favorite movie, in your pajamas!
  • Get together with friends – Just because you’re single, doesn’t mean you’re alone. Gather up a group of unattached friends and meet for cocktails, go to a comedy show or a late night flick!
  • Host a dinner party – Invite your single friends to join you for a dinner party at your home. Good food, good wine and good company? Now you all have awesome dates on Valentine’s Day.
  • Schedule a movie marathon – Themed movie nights are always fun! Host a Casablanca night where everyone dresses like 40s screen sirens or wears a fedora!
  • Step outside your comfort zone – Think about something that you are afraid of and give yourself permission to step into doing it! Do something that challenges you!
  • Tap into your creative side – Sign up for a pottery class or explore a local art gallery. Your creative self will thank you!
  • Give back There’s no shortage of ways you can give of yourself on Valentine’s Day. Spend the day volunteering at your local children’s shelter, soup kitchen or Salvation Army.

Go beyond February 14th and participate in Random Acts of Kindness Day – celebrated around the world February 12 – 18th. Think about how you can go over and above to do something special for someone. Write a handwritten note to an old friend, bring a treat to a neighbor, hold the door open for someone, or pay the tab for the person in line behind you at the coffee shop. The Random Acts of Kindess Week website has more than 280 kindness ideas to choose from!

Valentine’s day can be a lot of fun, even if you’re flying solo this year! With a little imagination and some planning, this special day can be you will never forget!

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day this year? Share with us in the comments below!

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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette and tagged ,