Posts tagged "manners"

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 , , , , ,

Valentine’s Day Etiquette Tips for Couples

February 6, 2017

Valentines Day Etiquette tips

Some Valentines Day ideas and etiquette tips that will leave a lasting impression with your sweetie!

  • Valentine’s Day is a busy day for restaurants so if you’re planning on taking your date out for a special dinner, make the reservation now. Today. It’s not surprising that all the good restaurants book up far in advance and you don’t want to find yourself running through a drive-thru with your date. That would NOT be romantic, and it may be your very last date. 🙂
  • If you’re checking out a new place for dinner, be sure to give some thought to how you’ll get there and where you’ll park. This will avoid being late for your reservation.
  • If you’re buying flowers, red roses are classic, but to go the extra mile, consider your loved one’s favorite flower. You’ll definitely gain some points for paying attention if you arrive with a bouquet of her favorites.
  • Instead of spending hours sifting through store-bought (often-generic) Valentine’s Day cards, why not create a video message or create a Lovestegram! With a Lovestegram, you can send a Valentine’s Day photo album to your love that is completely personal.
  • Just because you’re on a tight budget, doesn’t mean you can’t plan a special evening with your spouse or significant other. Cooking together, with soft music playing in the background is very romantic.  Make the evening special by getting dressed up, lighting some candles and setting the table with your best china and a bouquet of fresh flowers.
  • If you’re looking for a special gift that costs very little, consider this handmade treasure. What better way to share how much someone means to you than a “10 Things I Love About You Jar!” Just jot down all the reasons the person is special to you (and it can be more than 10!) and put them in a jar. Fancy it up with some fabric and you will have a personal gift that they will never forget!

If you do plan an evening out at a restaurant, keep your phone turned off, or, at the very least, out of sight. If it’s out of sight, you’ll be less tempted to check it. Many times I’ve witnessed couples, seated at a beautiful table in a nice restaurant, each of them off in their own world – on their cell phones, texting or chatting with someone else! If you’re expecting an urgent call, ask to be excused and take your call away from the table, in privacy.

Another tricky question I get this time of year is around splitting the check – or “going Dutch.” The answer to this is simple, for Valentine’s Day and any time of year, “Whoever does the asking, does the paying.” And if you have a coupon deal, best to save that for a night out with your friends.

Lastly, bad manners are a big turn-off, so be very mindful of your manners from the moment you greet your date.  Chewing with your mouth open, talking with your mouth full, and shoveling your food into your mouth will not impress. Men, keep the simple things in mind: opening the door for your date, pulling out her chair if the wait staff doesn’t do it for her. Courtesy and respect will never go out of style.

Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day memory you’d like to share? We’d love to hear it!


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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette and tagged , , ,

Social Media Fiascoes: How to Avoid a Scandal!

July 29, 2016


social media


The social media revolution has conditioned us to think that everything must be shared: Our thoughts, our schedules — even our meals! But while all of that sharing might be great for friends and family, the rules are different for business. An embarrassing post could block you from a promotion or a new job. In fact, it might even cost you your career.

According to the blog The Hiring Site, 60 percent of employers use social media to screen job candidates. Human resources departments may ask that you install device management software on your personal cell phone or iPad if you also use it for business, and some human resources departments actually track their employees’ private Facebook and Twitter accounts.

So how can you protect your accounts and present the best version of yourself? Here are a few practical tips that may save you heartache.

Think like an employer. Before applying for a job, scour your social media accounts for incriminating photos — it’s best that you do so before human resources does. (This is especially important for people just entering the job market.) Remove any photos that contain evidence of excessive alcohol consumption, drug use, obscene gestures, or illegal activity. Remember, a company is making an investment in you — and you need to do everything possible to make yourself seem worthy of that investment. If you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see it, delete or untag yourself (or both).

Add Timeline Review to your Facebook account. Timeline Review allows you the first and final say over what appears on your Facebook page. All posts made to your page first must be approved through the review process; you may delete whichever posts you don’t care to keep. To turn Timeline Review on, click at the top right of any Facebook page and select Settings, then click Timeline and Tagging in the left column. Look for “Review posts friends tag you in before they appear on your Timeline?” and click on Edit, then select Enabled from the drop-down menu. Keep in mind that mentions of you may appear elsewhere on Facebook, such as in search, but Timeline Review gives you a bit more control over your own page.

Set your accounts to private. Setting your accounts to private is the easiest way to maintain control over what the public sees. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all allow private account settings that are available to other users only by request. An employer will be able to see your comments on other people’s pages, but your own accounts will be protected.

Make your wishes clear. Be honest with your friends and family members: Let them know that you need their discretion. Ask them to refrain from posting and tagging without your permission. If you encounter resistance, it might be time to unfriend that person — both in social media and in real life!

Deal with problems directly. Everyone makes mistakes, but move swiftly if you encounter a photo or post that could make trouble for you. Speak directly to the person who put the photo or information on social media — in this case, a phone call or face-to-face meeting is best, if possible.

How have you overcome an embarrassing situation on social media? Tell me in the comments below!

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

Are Canadians Too Polite?

May 19, 2016

Are Canadians too polite?Is it possible to be overly polite? As Canadians, it’s been said that we are polite – to a fault. Just do a quick search online for Canadians and the word “Sorry” and you’ll see plenty of commentary – and photos–on the subject of our apologetic ways.

I read an article recently where the author recounted this story: A Canadian ex-pat, living in New York, who was rather homesick found herself in a crowded two-room bookstore with high book aisles. From across the room she heard, “Excuse me – I’m sorry – excuse me.” She immediately went into the other room and searched up and down the aisles until she found the person she’d heard, who had been trying to make her way through the aisles. “Are you Canadian?” he asked her. And sure enough, the woman was another Canadian ex-pat. Funny story. Even as Canadians, we think we’re apologetic!

So, yes, there is definitely truth to the “stereotype” that we Canadians are nice.  Notoriously, it seems. It’s really hard to know why Canadians go out of their way to be polite. Have our British roots turned us into a nation of self-apologists?

Bruce Grierson’s essay “Polite to a fault: Canadians are world champs. And yes, we actually did invent it,” gives credit to the Canadian sociologist Erving Goffman for inventing politeness.

“Most people think of politeness as ingrained good manners, civilized bearing, the ‘momma-brung-you-up-well’ stuff,” says Goffman. “And true enough, Canadians have that kind of reflexive politeness in spades. I remember once as a younger man in a fast-food outlet catching myself saying, ‘You’re welcome’ to the garbage can, which had ‘Thank You’ stamped on the little swinging window.”

Okay, yes, that’s a little tongue-in-cheek humor on his part, but he goes on to make a very good point with: “Society is organized on the principle that any individual who possesses certain social characteristics has a moral right to expect that others will value and treat him in an appropriate way.” So perhaps Canadians are polite in the hope or belief that others will return the favor.

While this “too polite” stereotype has provided some with a laugh or two, there is something to be said about being considerate of others.

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Posted by Margaret in Everyday Etiquette 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 , , , , , , , , ,

Are You Using Your Mobile Manners?

August 4, 2011

Mobile MannersEverywhere you look, people are on cell phones. In the grocery stores, restaurants, movie theatres, shopping malls and doctor’s offices, people are talking (or texting) on their phone. Just the other day I saw a woman jogging in the park with a cell phone up to her ear. It just looked odd to me somehow.

There has been an explosion of smartphones on the market, and everyone seems to be texting. This has added an additional layer of communication etiquette challenges to the mix. It’s quieter to text someone, and it would appear that it’s less distracting, but if you’re with someone and you’re not fully engaged because you’re answering every beep and buzz from your cell phone, well that is not good manners. I know I don’t want to be sitting down for a romantic dinner with a man who is answering a text from the other side of the table!

Hold that call!

By taking a cell phone call while in the presence of others, you’re saying to the person you are with “there is something or someone more important than you are.”

Alternately, have you ever grabbed a call just because it was ringing? Even though you didn’t have time to chat. You probably would have been far better off letting it go to message. Right? Well, the same is true when answering a cell phone while with other people. It’s a distraction from the current conversation and often even changes the dynamics of the conversation after the intrusion.

As much as we talk on cell phones these days, there still seems to be a lot of people who don’t have a grasp on the etiquette of cell phone use yet. Just because we can talk to whomever we want, whenever we want, wherever we want, does that mean we should completely forget our manners?

Here’s a quick review of some cell phone etiquette tips:

  1. Don’t use cell yell when taking calls in public. Your voice sounds different on a cell and is louder and carries farther than you think.
  2. Avoid talking about personal topics when other people can hear you.
  3. If you must take a call when you’re already engaged in a face-to-face conversation, ask permission of the people who are with you. Then move away from them so they can carry on their conversation without your distraction.
  4. Do NOT text during face-to-face conversations.
  5. Maintain a distance of at least 10-feet from the nearest person when talking on your cell phone.
  6. When the lights are turned off, your phone should be, too (movie theatres, playhouses, etc.)
  7. Don’t place your cell phone on the dinner table, anywhere.
  8. Use common sense. Your phone should be turned off or to silent during a job interview, funeral, wedding, at the gym, in the bathroom, during a presentation, or any other setting where a quiet atmosphere is mandated.

Do you think there are others that belong on the list of cell phone dos and don’ts?’ List them in the comments section below.

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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 , , ,

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 , , , ,

The Etiquette of Giving and Receiving Business Cards

March 25, 2011
Business card etiquette

When you give someone your business card, you’re introducing yourself on paper. A business card is a representation of who you are so be sure that the card is in pristine condition before you hand it over. You wouldn’t wear a wrinkled suit to an interview, would you?

Presenting your business card

Always present your business card in your right hand, or in both hands. Never (and I do mean NEVER) pass out your business cards as though you were dealing a poker hand. If you travel for business, you’ll save yourself embarrassment by following this rule. In some countries, presenting your business card in your left hand is a serious insult.Look the individual in the eye and smile when presenting the card. Not only is it good etiquette, it shows them you’re engaged with them.

Receiving a business card

When being given a business card, accept the card in the same way it was presented—either in your right hand or both hands. Take a few moments to study the business card, commenting on it and clarifying information before putting it away.

Don’t ever slide a business card into your back pocket and sit on it. Always keep your business cards in a separate case. When you are back in your office, add the information from the card into your database as soon as possible. You never want to be in a position where you have to ask that person for another card. That’s a big etiquette faux pas.

Business cards are an internationally recognized means of presenting personal contact information—so be sure you have a good supply on hand.

If you travel abroad for business, do a little research on business etiquette for your destination before you go. The etiquette “rules” in the UK, for example, are far more relaxed than in Japan. Understanding business etiquette allows you to feel comfortable and will help build trust when building business relationships.

Do you have etiquette questions? Follow me on Twitter, LIKE me on Facebook, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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