Category Archives: Dining Etiquette

Check Your Holiday Table Manners

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The holidays have arrived. There is no doubt about it. Signs of Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanza are everywhere.  In navigating the season, it’s hard to know what to focus on first. Is it planning for the office party, selecting gifts for clients and colleagues, decorating your workplace or sending those holiday cards?

Given that the holidays are all about parties, luncheons and dinners, I suggest as a next step brushing up on your table manners. Nowhere are manners more important than over meals. Table manners prevent us from being sloppy, offensive and boorish. They are part of communicating respect for others. They are not always hard and fast rules; rather they are guidelines to help us in our social and business relationships.

Here are a few reminders of what to do and not do at the holiday dinner and to help you brush up on your table manners:

Do reply to the invitation as soon as you receive it. A quick check of your calendar tells you if you are free or not. It’s not acceptable to wait around to see if a better invitation comes along.

Do what you say you will do. If you accept the invitation, show up. If you decline, you may not attend at the last minute. It’s that simple.

Do let your host know in advance of any food issues. If for cultural or health reasons you have limitations, your host should know ahead of time. However, don’t make this an issue for the person who was kind enough to invite you. He or she need not be responsible for preparing a special meal for you.

Do sit where you find your place card. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t particularly fond of where you are seated. Sit where you are told. Your host had reasons for the seating arrangement.

Do keep all personal belongings off the table. Your purse, even if it is small, does not belong on the table. Other items to keep out of sight are your keys and your cell phone. If you can’t bear to be absent from your phone during the meal, maybe you should have stayed at home.

Do remain seated during the meal. It is rude to act like a jack-in-the-box. If you must excuse yourself, do so between courses. Exceptions are coughing or sneezing fits. By all means, go before you ruin everyone’s meal.

Do wait to begin eating until everyone has been served, and your host has begun to eat. You don’t actually have to wait until the host has started to chew. Just keep in mind that this is not a race to the finish and there are no prizes for first place.

Do pace your eating so that you finish with everyone else. The slow eater is as annoying as the one racing to the finish.

Do make sure that you understand the basics of the place setting. It’s not as difficult as it seems. The basic rule is: Utensils are placed in the order of use; that is, from the outside in. A second rule, with only a few exceptions, is: Forks go to the left of the plate, and knives and spoons go to the right. The exception is: The dessert fork and spoon are placed at the top of the place setting.

As always, good manners are most noticed by their absence.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com. Find out how her presentations and workshops can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits. Kindness and courtesy can have an impact on your bottom line.

If you want more tips on table manners, order your copy of my Little Book of Table Manners – 85 Tips for Dining for Success.

 

 

 

 

Barbeque Etiquette – It’s Time to Revisit the Rules

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It’s  time to brush up on your barbeque etiquette. Memorial Day is upon us, marking the official start of the summer barbeque season. This is the time of the year when the grill is hauled out, cleaned off, the required cooking utensils inventoried, lawn furniture hosed down, and barbeque sauces and rubs added to the grocery list.

If barbeque etiquette sounds like an oxymoron, it isn’t. There are rules for how to conduct yourself whether you are the host or the guest. Just because these events are held outdoors and are casual in nature does not mean that anything goes. Whether it’s a business occasion like the company picnic or a gathering of family and friends, there are required behaviors.

Etiquette Tips for the Host:

  1. Be prepared. Make sure you have enough of everything from charcoal or propane to food and beverages. Don’t forget an ample supply of plastic cups, paper plates, napkins and disposable cutlery. Grandma’s china and crystal are not the best substitutes if you run out of serving items.
  2. Have a rain plan. While rain should be forbidden during outdoor events, it happens. Arrange for tents if the crowd is large or know how you will manage when your guests gather indoors.
  3. Provide all the food and beverage. Unless you are hosting a family reunion or the traditional neighborhood party, don’t ask people to bring the food. If someone insists on bringing a dish; be gracious and accept, but don’t make it a requirement.
  4. Have plenty of bug spray and insect repellent. Your guests should eat, not be eaten. If you live in a “buggy” environment, it’s a good idea to have food domes on hand, not only to keep certain foods warm, but also to keep pests out of your culinary delights.

Etiquette Tips for the Guest:

  1. Keep your grilling advice to yourself. Your host is in charge of the grill. You may have what you consider to be a better way of doing of things, but unless you realize the host is about to set the house on fire, keep your mouth shut. Open it only for conversation and food.
  2. Leave your legendary potato salad at home. Unless you are asked to bring a dish, don’t. It would be an insult to your host who already has a carefully planned menu. It is certainly nice to offer to bring something, but ask first to be sure it is welcome.
  3. Volunteer to help. These events can get hectic so offer your assistance especially when it comes to cleaning up.
  4. Use your napkin to clean off your sticky fingers. Tempting as it may be to lick your fingers, it is simply not good manners even at a picnic. Neither is using your finger nail or toothpick to pluck the corn silk from between your teeth. Be sure to have dental floss on hand, but excuse yourself before you pull it out.

Etiquette Tips Specifically for the Company Barbecue

  1. Maintain your professionalism. While you are there to have fun, be mindful of your actions and your words.
  2. Dress like a professional. Business attire is not expected, but your casual dress should be conservative. Avoid anything that is sloppy, shabby, sexy or revealing.
  3. Hold back when serving yourself. Piling on as much food as your plate will hold makes you look like you only came to eat. You can go back for seconds once everyone has been served.
  4. Play it safe with the drinks. If alcohol is being served, limit your intake. Warm weather, alcoholic beverages and a company barbecue can be a dangerous combination.

Barbecue picnics are a relaxed way for family, friends and co-workers to come together to socialize and build relationships. Enjoy yourself, but be mindful of your manners. Demonstrate your best barbecue etiquette so you will be invited back and, in case of the company picnic, to insure that you will still have a job on the next working day.

Lydia Ramsey is a Savannah-based business etiquette expert, keynote speaker, trainer and author. Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website: LydiaRamsey.com to find out how her presentations and workshops can help you and your employees add the polish that builds profits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Developing New Habits to Mind Your Manners

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January is typically the month when most people think about making resolutions or setting goals for the New Year. With all good intentions, resolutions soon go by the wayside, and we continue in our old ways. By now yours are probably nothing more than a distant memory.

Why not take a new approach?  Instead of making resolutions or setting goals, consider developing new habits. Of course, I am thinking of developing new habits that fall in the realm of civility—that which is sorely missing in today’s world.

In the seventh annual Civility in America poll conducted by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate with KRC Research, a record high number—69  percent—of  Americans believe that the U.S. has a major civility problem. My guess is that you would agree. Obviously the problem is overwhelming and putting a simple band aid on the issue won’t fix it. However, if you look at your own behaviors, I bet there are more than a few habits you could change or new ones you could develop that would help at least your world become a more civilized place.

Check my list for developing new habits and see which ones might apply to you.

  1. Cell phone Addiction. Do you have to have your cell phone with you at all times and in all places? Do you feel naked or lost without it? Does it need to be turned on or visible wherever you are? Do you answer every call, text or email that comes in no matter where you are? If you can say “yes” to any or all of those questions, consider developing a new habit. Keep your phone off and out of sight in the company of others. When you have your phone on or carefully place it where you can keep an eye on it, you are sending a message that the people in your presence are not as important as someone who might be about to call, text or send you an email.
  2. Eating with no regard for manners. Do you talk with food in your mouth? Chew with your mouth open? Wave your utensils in the air to make a point? Use your napkin to blow your nose? Eat with your elbows on the table? If so, your new habit might be paying attention to your table manners and remembering what your mother taught you. If you weren’t listening or have simply forgotten, there are resources that can help you develop good habits when dining with others. May I recommend an email or hard copy of my own Lydia Ramsey’s Little Book of Table Manners – 85 Tips for Dining for Success?
  3. Failing to reply to invitations. When an invitation to an event arrives, get into the habit of checking your calendar immediately and sending your response. Your host needs to know how many people to plan for so failing to reply is beyond thoughtless.
  4. Omitting the words “please”, “thank you”, “excuse me” and “you’re welcome” from your vocabulary. Getting in the habit of using those simple words can make a big difference in your interaction with others. Their use identifies you as a considerate person. And please, please, please try to remember that “No problem” is not the proper response to “thank you”. The correct reply is “you are welcome”.
  5. Wearing dirty, scuffed or unpolished shoes. If you think that others don’t notice your shoes, you are wrong. There are indeed people who notice shoes first thing. I call them “the shoe people.” When these people look at your feet, they are not checking to see if you are wearing the latest fashion, they are noticing the condition of your shoes and making a judgment about you. If you don’t pay attention to your shoes, perhaps you don’t pay attention to other details. This is not the message you want to send in business. If you are not in the habit of checking the condition of your shoes, it is time to start.

If you are not in the habit of concealing your cell phone, minding your table manners, replying to invitations, using polite terms or taking care of your shoes, you just might find that people are not in the habit of doing business with you.

Forget making those annual resolutions and start think instead of developing habits that will grow your business and add to your bottom line.

Photo from Savanah magazine

Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, sought-after speaker, trainer, author and newspaper columnist who is on a mission to stamp out rudeness and enhance professional conduct in the workplace. She is the author of Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits and Lydia Ramsey’s Little Book of Table Manners.

Contact her at 912-604-0080 or visit her website at LydiaRamsey.com to leave a comment, ask a question or learn more about her programs and products for businesses, corporations, associations, colleges and universities. She is always ready to talk or travel.

 

 

 

 

Should You Talk Politics at the Holiday Dinner?

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Thanksgiving Table MannersIt goes without saying that this has been a difficult year with a contentious presidential primary. You probably thought that peace would be restored once the election process was final. Wrong. In many ways, it has only gotten worse.  Do you dare talk politics during this holiday season?

Before the election, there were those who were willing to talk about the candidates’ behaviors and their verbal attacks on each other, but reluctant to disclose how they planned to vote. As soon as the polls opened, people came out of the woodwork to declare their position and candidate of choice.

You follow the news. You know what has happened since. A lot of it is ugly. As the holidays approach and friends and family gather for the traditional festivities—particularly the holiday dinner–do you dare talk about the election?

No one is naïve enough to believe that family gatherings always go smoothly and joyfully. Every family has one or more members who can stir the pot—not necessarily the one on the kitchen stove. How do you handle that person, or persons, this year who wants to talk politics, the ever-forbidden conversation topic?

Is it wrong to bring up the subject or talk about the obvious “elephant in the room”? Maybe not. How you do it is the tricky part.

  • Do you try to force your opinion on everyone else?
  • Do you put down those who don’t agree with you?
  • Do you become argumentative?
  • Do you toss your napkin on the table and stomp out in anger?
  • Do you force people to take sides and polarize the family?

I hope not.

The political situation cannot be ignored. It’s like living on the coast of Georgia, as I do, and not talking about Hurricane Mathew that ravaged my community. The 2016 election is too much a part of our lives to disregard. It should be discussed and acknowledged, but in a way that values all opinions.

  • To use a cliché, you should agree to disagree.
  • Keep your mind open to the views of others.
  • Listen without being offended.
  • Don’t interrupt.
  • Question without challenging.
  • Beware your body language.
  • Give yourself permission not to join in the conversation.

I am not so naïve as to think that everyone will play by these rules. Some of these family gatherings will end in disaster. Just make sure that you are not the one who caused the 2016 holiday event the one to remember for all the wrong reasons.

Approach those whose opinions you do not share with kindness, courtesy, respect and a heavy dose of tolerance.

13-0811 Lydia Ramsey eBook CoverFor more information on how to handle this and other holiday issues, order a copy of my ebook, Business Etiquette for the Holidays.

 

lydia_sm-e1393277822156Lydia Ramsey is business etiquette and modern manners expert, keynote speaker, seminar leader and author of Manners That Sell-Adding the Polish That Builds Profits. Based in Savannah, Georgia, she travels across the US and as far away as India and Dubai to work with clients that include universities, corporations, small businesses, associations and non-profit organizations. Her topics range from flip-flops to forks. Visit her website www.lydiaramsey.com for more information about her services and resources.

Minding Your Manners When Hosting the Business Meal

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Hosting the Business MealThe business meal is a ritual that has gone on for centuries even during those times when men speared their food with their knife—that being the only utensil they had—and when they used the table cloth or their sleeve to wipe their mouth. Today we a bit more civilized. We have rules.

Taking clients to breakfast, lunch or dinner has long been an effective way to build relationships, make the sale or seal the deal.  Your knowledge of your product or your service is essential to the success of the meal, but so are your manners.  Too many people jeopardize an opportunity because they fail to use good dining etiquette.

When you are hosting a business meal, here are a few basic rules to make the experience pleasurable, profitable and productive.

  1. Know your duties as the host. It is up to you to see that things go well and that your guests are comfortable.  Pay attention to every detail from extending the invitation to paying the bill.
  1. Plan ahead when issuing the invitation. Allow a week for a business dinner and three days for lunch.  Be certain that the date is solid for you.  That might seem obvious, but if you have to cancel or postpone, you will appear disorganized and disrespectful of your client’s time.
  1. Select a restaurant that you know, preferably one where you are known. Being confident of the quality of the food and service leaves you free to focus on business.  You need to be sure the atmosphere is conducive to conversation.  The trendiest restaurant may be so loud that you and your guest can’t hear a word over the dishes and the diners.
  1. Call ahead for a reservation. This is no time to take a chance on whether or not you will be able to get a table upon arrival. It can be most awkward trying to kill time and make small talk while waiting for a table.
  1. Confirm your plans with your client early that day or preferably the day before to make sure that nothing has changed. Things do happen and mix-ups occur.
  1. Arrive early so you can attend to last minute details. This is the perfect time to give your credit card to the maitre’d and avoid the awkwardness that seems to accompany the arrival of the bill. If you are unable to do that, quietly let your server know to bring the check to you. If those suggestions fail, reach for the check the minute it arrives at the table. Erase all doubt as to who is paying.
  1. Take charge of the seating. Your guest should have the prime seat—the one with the view.  As the host, take the least desirable spot—the one that faces the wall, the kitchen or the restroom.
  1. Allow your guest to order first. You might suggest certain dishes to be helpful.  Order the same number of courses as your guest, no more and no less, to facilitate the flow of the meal.
  1. Choose the right time to start the business discussion. Wait until you have placed your order so there will be fewer interruptions.
  1. If alcohol is served with the meal, limit your consumption—even if Uber is waiting outside. Wine, beer and liquor can loosen the tongue. You may find yourself saying or doing things you hadn’t intended.

Your conduct over the meal will determine your success.  If you pay attention to the details and make every effort to see that your clients have a pleasant experience, they will assume that you will handle their business the same way.  Before long they will be eating out of your hand.

For more tips on dining for success, check out Lydia Ramsey’s Little Book of Table Manners. It is available in the Manners Store in hard or soft cover or on Amazon Kindle as an ebook.

To order the hard copy, in either soft or hard cover, click this link to the Manners Store. Choose the version you want and then click “Add to Cart.” Once you have completed your order information, your book will be in the mail and on its way into your hands within days.

To order the Kindle edition, click this link to Amazon. Follow their process, and you will be able to download the book to your device and start reading within minutes–maybe even seconds.

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eating Spaghetti – To Twirl or Not To Twirl

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iStock_000013117576_MediumTo twirl or not to twirl is the question when eating spaghetti. The question is always the same, but the answers are all over the map. After much research, it appears that the response depends on whom you ask.

The obvious source to go to would seem to be an Italian. However, Italians can’t agree on what process to follow when eating spaghetti.  Some say that it depends on whether you are from Northern Italy or Southern Italy. Truth be told, most Italians are of the same mind: you never use a spoon for eating spaghetti, and it has nothing to do with the geography of Italy. The general consensus is that the use of a fork plus a spoon for eating pasta is for children, amateurs and people with bad table manners in general.

Here is a collection of thoughts about how you should tackle those pesky long strands of pasta:

  • You never twirl spaghetti against a spoon unless one has been given to you for that purpose. If no spoon is provided, don’t ask for one.
  • If you choose to twirl, take a small amount of spaghetti and twirl it clockwise with your fork against the side of your plate or bowl, being careful not to leave any dangling pieces of pasta.
  • If you choose to cut your pasta, use the side of your fork, not a knife and fork. It is a huge no-no to cut all your pasta with knife and fork before settling down to eat.
  • At a business meal, unless you are a master twirler, use the cutting with a fork approach.
  • With family and friends, it’s up to you. However, when eating spaghetti, slurping should be your last choice, no matter where, when or with whom.

How to approach eating spaghetti may never be resolved, but if you are looking for a great resource on table manners, my Little Book of Table Manners is available.

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com

Thanksgiving Table Manners–Let’s Talk Turkey

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Thanksgiving Table MannersLet’s talk about your Thanksgiving table manners–and not a minute too soon. After all the clock is ticking.

You might expect that I am about to tell you which fork to use and how to remove that unwanted item from your mouth during the meal, but I’m not. I am going to go off the grid and talk about some of those pesky little things that occur at the Thanksgiving gathering of friends, family and close workplace associates.

Here are a few of the do’s for minding your Thanksgiving table manners:

  • Do think about topics for conversation ahead of time. There is a lot happening in the world. Not all of it is good as you well know. Steer clear of doom and gloom. And for heaven’s sake, don’t talk about the current election or pre-election issues. Think about interesting and noncontroversial subjects to discuss. Don’t ask anyone questions that are intrusive, like “So when do you two plan on having children?” or “Have you given any thought to getting married any time soon?”
  • Do offer to bring a dish or a beverage to the dinner. No surprises, please. Ask the host what you can do to be helpful or to complement the meal. If you decide to take flowers at the last minute, be sure that you take them in a container and already arranged. The host or hostess should not have to stop receiving guests or preparing the meal to search for a vase and make a floral arrangement at the last minute. If you bring wine without notice, don’t expect it to be served at the meal. In fact, make it clear that it is a gift for later.
  • Do offer to help either before the meal to set things out or afterwards to clean up. Unless the host has a staff of servants, you need not expect to be waited on hand and foot. You are there as a participant not an observer.
  • Do leave that cell or smart phone in the off position and out of sight. Please, please, please do not put it on the dining table or anywhere that will give the impression you are either terribly important or terribly bored.
  • Do remember to thank your host on your way out for the wonderful time and the delicious meal–even if you hated those sweet potatoes with the marshmallows on top.
  • Do sit down and craft a handwritten note as soon as you get home. Nothing expresses gratitude in quite the same way as a personal note that you took the time to write.

One last tip: if you do find yourself with something in your mouth that you can’t chew or swallow, the rule is that it comes out the same way it goes in. So if it went in with your fingers, it comes out with your fingers. If it went in with a fork or spoon, it comes out with a fork or spoon. If that rule sends shivers down your spine, go with the latest advice for modern manners, hold your napkin to your mouth with as little fanfare as possible and remove the item with your fingers. Feel better now?

Happy Thanksgiving!

Lydia

P.S. If you have other concerns about your Thanksgiving table manners, you can order my eBook on holiday etiquette and download it immediately before you go to that Thanksgiving dinner. With my book in hand (should you choose to print it out) or on your laptop, iPad or phone, you will sail seamlessly through the holidays.

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com

Left Handers Day

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Did you know that there is such a thing as “Left Handers Day?” This is an event, which recognizes the 10% of people in the world who are left-handed, and is celebrated across the globe on August 13th. Mark your calendars so you don’t miss it.

In my training sessions, particularly when I am speaking about shaking hands or table manners, the left handers in the group are quick to point out the challenges they face in trying to be well-mannered in a right-handed world. For example. when shaking hands anywhere in the world, the right hand is extended. Lefties have learned to adjust. Studies show that they are generally more flexible and adaptable than right handers. Of course, they have little choice.

The rules of dining also offer challenges. Left handers have to be careful not to commandeer their neighbor’s bread and butter plate which is always positioned on the left side of the place setting. Left handers are often tempted to put their glass of water, tea  or wine down on the left side of the place setting rather than the right where beverages belong. It is more convenient and manageable for them but causes confusion for the person seated on their left.

Lefties, given a choice, will take the seat at the end of the table where there is no one on their left. The reason for this–when a left-handed person has a right-handed person on their left, the two run the risk of bumping elbows during the meal.

If you want to learn more about left handers and the challenges they face, check out their website.

My favorite quote from the site is “Right handed people operate in the left side of the brain. Left handed people use the right side. Therefore, only left-handed people are in their right mind.”

As a matter of courtesy and respect, we right handers need to be more sensitive of left handers and their daily trials.

Additional information on being courteous and respectful of others can be found in my book, Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits.

Photo from Savannah magazine

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com

Holiday Etiquette – So Many Questions

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iStock_000014394928XSmallThe holidays should be a joyful time, but with so much to do, both personally and professionally, ‘tis often the season to be stressed out. There are any number of  questions that might be drifting through your mind right now. Can you skip the office gala? Should you buy the boss a gift? How do you address the envelope to couples using different last names? Who pays for the business meal? Do you need to tip your pet sitter? The list goes on and on.

I can’t cover all the issues in one brief newsletter. For that you might want to check out my e-book on Business Etiquette for the Holidays. For now let me share a handful of helpful tips:

1)    The holiday office party is a mandatory event; not one that you can skip even if you don’t want to spend another minute with people from your office.

2)    Dress appropriately for the office party. This is not the time to wear your slinkiest and most revealing dress.

3)    Limit how much alcohol you drink at the party. Remember that wine, beer and other spirits tend to loosen the tongue.

4)    Decide ahead of time how you will handle gift-giving within the office. Make sure everyone is comfortable with the amount of money each is expected to spend on a gift or gifts.

5)    If you invite a client or co-worker to be your guest for a holiday meal, you pay the bill.

6)    Thank you notes for holiday gifts are as obligatory as the office party. They need to be handwritten to be effective.

7)    Sending your clients e-cards is a waste of your time and effort although they don’t require much of either. Your client may or may not open your email; and if they do, they will read and then hit “delete.” A paper greeting will live on and be remembered much longer.

8)    Make sure to personally sign your printed holiday cards. Otherwise they will come across as impersonal as an e-card.

9)    When you are invited to dinner at someone’s home, take a small gift to your host. If you choose to take wine, make sure your host drinks. Flowers are appreciated, but only if they arrive in a vase that does not have to be returned. Don’t expect your host to drop everything and hunt for the proper vessel for your flowers.

10) When it comes to toasting at a holiday event, never raise a glass or drink to yourself if you are the recipient of the toast. Return the kindness and toast the person who toasted you.

Bonus tip: Smile during the holidays. It is a happy time to be enjoyed by all.

13-0811 Lydia Ramsey eBook Cover smallFor the detailed version of holiday etiquette, remember that my e-book is available to you in The Manners Store on my website and on Amazon in the Kindle Store. It’s the least expensive gift you can give yourself or someone else whom you would like to see succeed in business. The cost is $2.99, and shipping is free.

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Thanksgiving Etiquette: No Texting at the Table

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As usual this week families and friends will be gathered around the table at Thanksgiving to share good food and conversation.  However, something else is liable to occur that is different from your traditional holiday gatherings and flies in the face of Thanksgiving etiquette. One or more of those present may be there in body only because they will have their head down and their thumbs in motion while they text.  How rude is that? But sadly, how commonplace in today’s world. It defies all the rules of etiquette and protocol.

I witnessed this behavior personally last year while dining with friends. One of the family members was there in body only.  He spent the entire meal staring at his phone. As others lingered in conversation, he finally removed himself and found a chair away from the table and continued to be entranced by his mobile device.  It was hard to tell which was the real turkey at the table that day.

May I suggest that if you plan to join others for a meal on Thanksgiving Day that you be fully engaged and fully present. Brush up on your Thanksgiving etiquette. Unless your invitation reads, “John Smith and Phone,” leave your device somewhere out of sight.  What can possibly be more important than  interacting with your family and friends? So Aunt Marha’s stories maybe getting a little old and Uncle Bob may be nodding off, but they are not to be ignored.

If you are so attached to your smart phone that you can’t take your eyes off of it, stay home.  It is insult to those who came to spend time with you and others to text at the table. If you go, take your best manners and Thanksgiving etiquette in lieu of your cellular device.

Honor your family and friends by listening to them and appreciating them if only for a few hours. You may not have the chance again.

Before closing may I remind you that I just published a new eBook for the holidays?  If you have any doubt about the do’s and do nots’ of holiday etiquette, the book, Business Etiquette For The Holidays, is available on my website and in the Kindle Store on Amazon. It is a small investment which will keep you from committing a holiday faux pas.

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Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.