“Oh My Gauche!” – Musings on Manners From the Educator of Etiquette

You don’t know what you don’t know – a truism that rears it’s ugly head each and every time you interact with others in public places. Hopefully you haven’t inadvertently offended anyone today. Adults and children, captains of industry and junior executives alike benefit from the buff and polish etiquette and soft skills training brings. You undoubtedly place yourself in an awkward position when you don’t know what to do or say in a myriad of situations.

I don’t believe that etiquette or manners should be a super-strict set of rules, but rather an out-of-body experience which allows a person to bestow kindness and thoughtfulness towards others. This is the basis for my lectures, regardless of the make up of the audience. It is also the core of what is missing in our society. When we put the desires of others ahead of our own we win too, through gratification. “Oh My Gauche!” etiquette and soft skills training courses reaches scores of individuals in a myriad of disciplines. It is a pleasure and an honor to be called upon by corporate executives to train their employees in the board room and their children in their classrooms. It’s the world’s best job.

It is an awesome responsibility to guide people in self-presentation skills. It baffles me that I must continuously reiterate the impression that wearing flip flops silently expresses to those around you, whether you wear them to a ladies luncheon in a hotel ballroom, to the office or your bosses summer garden party – all true examples. What does wearing flip flops silently say about you? Each flip and flop and pop-pop sound of the rubber smacking the sole of your foot says “I don’t care”, and “My comfort is more important than your impression of me.”

While we’re on the subject of flip flops let’s spend a moment on inappropriate summer footwear. I am all for sexy, strappy sandals in the summer months, however there is a time and place for this style. In the office on a 90+ degree day is not such a place. Also professional settings require closed toe shoes – I don’t care how cute you think your toes are not the fact that you had a pedicure yesterday. To the junior associate who wore flip flops and shorts to the law firm’s garden party, shame on you. I cringed when the tale was discussed during the question and answer period of a recent lecture. This particular program was geared toward your superiors and executive manners, otherwise I have no doubt that you would have been assigned to attend.

We have so much to discuss, from deference and respect to titles and managing conflict with good manners. Manners are how we show people they matter. I plan to guide you, your colleagues and children step by step in how to sparkle in every situation and stand out from the crowd by simply doing what others refuse to do. As I said, It’s an awesome responsibility, but somebody must take charge.

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