One of the favorite aspects of my etiquette training business is presenting “Dining for Success” to college and university students. Since founding Manners That Sell nearly 15 years ago, I have worked with numerous colleges and universities teaching dining etiquette. This is a subject that used to be taught at the family dinner table. However, we all know that families do not dine together as they once did. With both parents working, single parent homes and schedules that are out of control, there is little oppportunity for the traditional family meal. It is a real challenge to teach table manners when kids are eating out of a brown paper bag from a fast food restaurant in the back seat of the car.
Most of the young people I work with are in their junior or senior year of college. They are finishing up their courses and are ready to join the workplace. The one class they didn’t get is business etiquette training. Now they are faced with job interviews, many of which are conducted over meals, and they don’t have a clue which fork to use, how to eat the soup or even something as simple as what to do with their napkin. Here’s where I come in.
The dining courses I offer involve a four-course meal that I guide the students through step by step. I am always heartened by the level of involvement and interaction from the participants. They never run out of questions to ask. They are hungry for the information in my sessions.
When the last bite of dessert has been eaten and final drop of coffee drunk, they are in no hurry to leave. The questions keep coming. We even talk about some aspects of the job interview. We discuss how to dress, how to present themselves, when to arrive and how to follow up. The Career Services Departments of the colleges and universities I work with do an excellent job of helping students prepare their resumes and field those tough interview questions, but they turn to me to teach the interpersonal skills which will set their graduates apart from the competition.
One of my long-term clients is Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Georgia. I have worked with them since I first became an etiquette trainer. At the most recent session I presented to them, I was amazed at how many students came up to thank me for the presentation, to tell me how much they had learned and just how many of them said, “This is not my first time to attend ‘Dining for Success.’ I come every year and learn something new each time.” Several of them followed me into the parking lot to ask more questions and to thank me again.
The next day I received the following message from the director of the program in GSU’s Career Services Department. She said, “Thank you so much for coming to speak to our group again this year. We had great reviews from students and employers. On their evaluations, the students said they truly loved having you walk them through the meal!”
Now who couldn’t love a job like that?
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.