Posts tagged "good manners"

What’s Your Name?

December 4, 2017

rememberThere’s something uniquely miserable about forgetting someone’s name. Not only can it make you appear thoughtless or inconsiderate, but it can make the mystery person feel small. And this faux pas can be disastrous when you’re trying to make business connections.

You’re more likely to encounter this delicate situation during the busy holiday season. But don’t panic! A few simple strategies can help you save face.

 Don’t try to guess. The only thing worse than blanking on a name is using the incorrect name. If you’re not certain, keep your mouth closed! Better not to refer to Janet as Eva.

Follow the clues. See if you can extract information with a few carefully worded questions. For example: “When did we last see each other?” or “It’s so good to see you! How long has it been?” Hopefully, you’ll gather enough nuggets of information to trigger a memory and recall a name.

 Ask for help. If you’re in a group setting — at a networking event, for example — discreetly ask a friend or colleague for the person’s name. If you don’t have the opportunity for a private moment, ask the mystery person to introduce himself to your friend: “Please say hello to my colleague Celeste!”

Play the introduction game. At the first opportunity you get, ask the mystery person to introduce herself to someone else you know: “Have you met Jason?” That gives you the opportunity to be courteous while also prompting the mystery person to divulge the information you need.

Fess up. If all else fails, be honest. It’s best to keep it simple by saying, “I’m so sorry. I remember meeting you but I just can’t seem to recall your name. Could you please remind me?” It’s not ideal, but it’s a better option than flailing — or, worse — using the wrong name.

How do you cover your tracks when you can’t remember a name? Or, even better, what do you do to remember names? Tell me in the comments.



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Posted by Margaret Page in Business Etiquette, 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 , , ,

The Business Lunch Demystified

June 10, 2017


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 , , , , ,

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 , , ,

The Art of Receiving a Compliment

May 7, 2016

I love compliments


Women, tell me if you’re familiar with this scenario: You tell a colleague that her work on a presentation was stellar — clear, concise, funny, thoughtful. You walked away with amazing insights and tell her you appreciate her hard work.

And then she brushes it off.

“Oh, it wasn’t that good,” she says.

Or, “I had a lot of help.”

Or maybe even: “I could have done better if I had done more to prepare.”

Sound familiar? You might be cringing right now because you’ve been that woman throwing away a compliment as if it were a hot potato. Can you imagine a man doing such a thing? Why is it that we have such a difficult time just saying, “Thank you! I worked hard.” Or, even better, taking that compliment to heart and really savouring it?

The urge to throw away compliments is real. According to a study by Robert Herbert, a sociolinguist, compliments given from one man to another were accepted 40 percent of the time. Yet women accept only a dismal 22 percent of compliments from other women. (Interestingly, woman accept compliments 68 percent of the time when given by men.)

What makes us throw up our compliment armor? There are several reasons why.

  • We don’t want to stand out. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true: Women who stand out from the crowd can be perceived as overly ambitious or social climbers. Rejecting a compliment keeps you on a level playing field.
  • We don’t want to seem stuck up. Accepting a compliment can make it seem like you’re acknowledging something good about yourself — and in a woman’s world, even the simple act of saying “thank you” can be perceived as self-aggrandizement.
  • We think we’re being tricked. Laura Brannon of Kansas State University says that if we think the complimenter wants something out of us, we’re less likely to believe the compliment.

So what would the world look like if women started accepting more compliments? Personally, I think more women would be empowered in their day-to-day lives and more courageous in business. When someone gives me a compliment, I take it. If you want to take the time to tell me something nice, I want to take the time to enjoy it. After all, I’ve earned it!

Here are my three tips for accepting any compliment:

  • Don’t deflect. Accept the compliment. Say thank you. Not “thank you, but …” Just “thank you.” There’s no need to deflect well-earned praise.
  • Don’t insult yourself. Not only does insulting yourself lower your self-esteem, it puts the complimenter in the uncomfortable situation of not only offering you a compliment but also acting as your psychotherapist. Take your praise!
  • Avoid a compliment battle. There’s no need to one-up your compliment with another compliment. Not only can the situation turn awkward fast, but you don’t want your compliment to come across as insincere. Save your compliments for when you can be thoughtful and authentic.

What are you going to do the next time someone gives you a compliment? Tell me in the comments below! If you’d like tips on how to give praise, check out this blog post on how to craft the perfect compliment.

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Posted by Margaret Page in Communication, Etiquette Edge, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , ,

Do You Know the Power of Polite?

August 13, 2011

The Power of Polite ebookWhen I was a little girl, like many others, I would read under the covers with a flashlight. I didn’t read exciting mysteries, humorous comics or even books that explored anatomy.  Instead, I read Emily Post’s book, simply titled, Etiquette. What caused this behavior, you ask? Well it was one nasty experience (though there were probably many, I always seem to go back to this ONE!). I left home one afternoon, feeling like Cinderella going to the ball, only to return feeling like Linda Blair in the Exorcist! And not even a pumpkin…I’ll spare you the details (for now) but it was not a good day!

The truth is, I never wanted to ever feel embarrassed or uncomfortable like that again.Who does? So I went in search of knowledge that would guide me in being more comfortable in social interactions or difficult situations.

No one wants red flags going off when you’re to impress your boss or that special person who’s caught your eye. Instead… know the Power of Polite.

I hope you enjoy!


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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette and tagged , , ,

Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow up to be Clods!

July 15, 2011
Kids at the pool

I live in a community that is known for its beautiful scenery, slow living pace and romance. We are not known for our great customer service, and I can see that we’re really not putting our best foot forward.Every summer my grandson comes to stay with me to take a two-week swimming class at the local pool.  Last year I was somewhat surprised when one of the moms offered me her seat. I have to confess that on the one hand I was delighted with her manners, on the other I felt like my middle age was showing.

This year it’s a whole new story. Several times this week, tweens (under 14) were sitting in the seats at the pool while other parents stood by. And this morning a man kept his seat while a woman rose to offer me hers.  I guess her mother taught her about good manners.

While I am delighted we are known for romance. It would also be wonderful if we were known for our manners and great customer service.

How can you do that?  By having awareness and showing courtesy to those around you—no matter how old you are. And a note to the moms: If you don’t see it, we sure can’t expect it from your children.

The fact of the matter is this: Common manners aren’t so common anymore.

What about you? Have you been in situation where you found yourself surprised by someone’s lack of courtesy?

Share in the comments below!

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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette and tagged , , ,

Phone Etiquette: How to Answer a Business Call

July 11, 2011

How to answer a business callEven with all of the new ways to communicate these days, the telephone is still a primary means of communication in business. Good telephone etiquette will always be a crucial element to winning customers and building business relationships.

The way that you answer a business call will form your customer’s first impression of you and your business.

Here are a few telephone answering tips to ensure that you’re presenting yourself—and your business–in a professional manner, all the time!


  1. Always answer a call promptly—at least by the third ring.
  2. Answer the phone in a professional and pleasant manner, and with a smile. Be enthusiastic. People can feel it or hear it on the other end.
  3. When answering an office phone, welcome callers by introducing yourself and your organization. For instance, ““Hello, Etiquette Page Enterprises, Margaret speaking. How may I help you?” If you’re answering a personal cell phone, a simple, “Good morning, this is Margaret,” is appropriate.
  4. Speak slowly and clearly when answering the phone so that the caller can understand you. Keep your voice at a moderate level. No one likes to be yelled at.
  5. If you’re answering a phone with multiple lines, be sure to ask the caller if it’s all right for you to place him on hold BEFORE you do so. Provide callers who are on hold with an update every 30 to 45 seconds and offer them choices if possible. “That line is busy, would you like to continue to hold or would you like to leave a message for Ms. Friesen?”
  6. Don’t use speakerphone to answer an incoming call. This could give the caller the immediate impression that you’re not full engaged with them.
  7. If you use an answering machine to catch those calls you can’t get to, make certain that you record a professional message that includes an introduction (just as if you were answering the phone). This will ensure that the caller knows he has reached the right person and avoid any confusion. Provide any other pertinent information that you feel would be useful to callers. For example: If you leaving for a vacation, update your message to include this information, along with the date you will be returning.

Good telephone manners go a long way. Following these few tips will ensure that you leave a positive impression with business contacts (so that they call back!)


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

Giveaway to Celebrate National Etiquette Week!

May 9, 2011

Happy National Etiquette Week! To celebrate, as promised, I’m posting etiquette tips, interactive quizzes, and more this week!

To kick off our celebration of good manners, I’m announcing the first annual “Miss Maggie’s Manners Moment Giveaway”!

etiquette cardsThe winner will receive the Cognito card set. Cognito-Modern Wisdom for Dining & Social Etiquette contains 52 illustrated cards presented in a custom-designed box. A great way to test your etiquette knowledge–and challenge your family in a game of “Where’s Your Manners?”

It’s easy to enter. Just do one (or all)of the following. You have 3 chances to win. You will receive one entry for doing each of the above.

~ Leave a comment below and tell me what you are doing this week to promote good manners in your house or at your office

~ Share an etiquette tip on our Facebook page

~Mention this post about our giveaway on Twitter, using the hashtag #NtlEtiquette

This is a great way to recognize civility and good manners!

This giveaway will close on Friday, May 13 at 10 p.m. PST.  The winner will be announced on Saturday, May 14 on our Facebook page.

Good luck!

“Good social behavior has less to do with cutlery and and correctness than with courtesy and confidence. Doing the right things at the right times for the right reasons”

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Posted by Margaret in Just for Fun and tagged , , , ,

Mind Your Manners! It’s National Etiquette Week

May 5, 2011

Gentleman Tipping FedoraNext week marks the launch of the 14th annual National Etiquette Week. Established by children’s etiquette consultant, Sandra Morisset, National Etiquette Week was developed not to get you thinking about what fork to choose first, but as a self-assessment on the current status of civility in our society.

So as a reminder of the importance of good manners—and the little niceties that set us apart in our everyday interactions–I’m celebrating National Etiquette Week by posting an interactive way for you to participate every day!

I’ll be sharing etiquette quizzes to test your etiquette knowledge; polls and surveys to get your feedback on etiquette and good manners; and a personal challenge to participate in “Etiquette Page’s Random Acts of Etiquette!” We want pictures!

So sign up for updates and drop by next week to see what we have planned!

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Posted by Margaret in Just for Fun and tagged , , ,