One of the first reactions I usually get when people find out about Please & Thank You is “Oh gosh, I’m so embarrassed. I don’t know anything about etiquette.” This is precisely why I believe that manners and etiquette matter so very much!
I was recently at a conference for work where a sit-down lunch was served. The place settings were similar to this one.
Now, the room was packed, and they ended up squeezing 10 people to a round table. Understandably so, our placing settings were squished together, making it appear as one large mess of plates, glasses and silverware. The meal started out with a bread basket, as it was passed around, I noticed my neighbor nervously looking about and finally settling on placing her roll on my bread plate, which then meant that she was also using her other neighbor’s water glass. I could tell that she had had a minor moment of panic about this – trying to figure out which bread plate and water glass was hers. Haven’t we all been there at some point in time though? And can’t it be rather embarrassing when you relieve you were wrong?
It doesn’t have to be that way though! Manners and etiquette are more than just rules of what to do or not to do. They are knowledge and skills to help us handle all sorts of unfamiliar professional or social situations. When you know etiquette, you don’t have to worry about the details and are able to focus on the people you are conversing with or the task at hand. The point is, manners and etiquette do matter. They help you build confidence and poise to handle nerve-wracking business lunches, important correspondence, hosting a large dinner party or a slew of other events you might encounter in life.
Have you ever been in a situation where you didn’t know the proper protocol? Or have you ever been in a situation where you did, and you were relieved?