Most people here the word etiquette and think of “Pride & Prejudice.” Or they think it’s for a different “class” type from a different time.  Nope! Every single time you interact with someone you have decisions to make on how you respond, how you portray yourself, and in those words or actions how you will be received.

According to Emily Post:

“Fluid…Not a set of rigid rules. Manners change over time and reflect the best practices of ourtimes. Etiquette isn’t a set of ‘prescriptions for properness’ but merely the guidelines for doing things in ways that make people feel comfortable.

For Everyone…Not something for the wealthy or wellborn.  Etiquette is a code of behavior for people from all walks of life, every socioeconomic group, and of all ages. Good manners are a valuable asset that cost nothing to acquire.

Current…Not a thinking of the past. The bedrock principles of etiquette remains as solid as they ever were. Manners change over time and across cultural boundaries, but the principles are universal and timeless.

Unpretentious…not snobbish. A polite Person Doesn’t try to be someone he’s not, nor does he look down on others.”

A little bit about me and why I am even talking about etiquette.

I am a graduate of the John Robert Powers Finishing, Charm and Modeling School in Philadelphia,PA. I’ve been teaching people regarding basic manners and social skills for the last 30 years. I have worked with the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Youth Hockey Teams, School Districts, as well as adults.  I’ve worked with top companies and coached people for interviews. I am a mother, a wife and friend who wants to help the next generation succeed, free of bullying and fear. I want to build confidence in people so they can succeed regardless of their age.

When I was growing up I was very close to my grandparents. My grandmothers were very strict with me in regards to speech, communication, and my upbringing. I was born and raised in New Jersey and my grandmother would work on speech and pronunciation so I could speak without the Jersey accent. I spent my summers reading various classics and the Unabridged works of Mark Twain. I was expected to learn a new word every day over the summer and successfully use it in a sentence by the time I went to bed.

I took ballet lessons starting at the age of 3 and finally convinced my mother that I was not going to be a prima ballerina. So I got to stop lessons when I turned 10. But I had to do something in the way of being cultured….so I took up the cello. I started playing the cello at the age of 10 and I actually still play today.  I spent much of my childhood learning all the propers. I am an only child so I spent a lot of time with the adults. Because my family was very political and social I attended a lot of events. With this, I was expected to behave a certain way. I learned the art of small talk and listening. The proper way to dress and act in all situations. When I turned 16 I spent every Saturday in Philadelphia going to finishing school. Like every teenager, I rolled my eyes a lot. But I found after a while it was kind of fun. Now a lot of the girls in myclass were after getting an acting or modeling gig. I really had no interest.The only reason was that I did not have the confidence to follow through with any of it!

In college, I started out as an education major and did two semesters of student teaching with 2nd graders in the San Antonio, Texas School district. My main focus was to help children learn through the style that speaks to them. Not all people learn in the same manner or at the same rate. Some people are visual learners, some are tactile learners and some are verbal learners.  That doesn’t mean that people aren’t a combination! Through different techniques, I was able to make that connection with kids that prior were unable to make the connection successfully with their given topic. My greatest success through this program was a young man who never talked and could not read. I spent an hour with him 3 times a week “playing.” After 8 weeks he was finally reading at a 2nd-grade level and started to socialize more with his classmates.

Fast forward to motherhood.  I tried to raise my own son to be respectful and follow many of the things I had learned growing up. Through him, I was very involved with his cub scout and boy scout troops. I was a den and troop leader for 7 years.He then played hockey. I was hockey manager for 11 years. I always had at least 22 boys in the house at a time. I was mom to all of them and making sure they all behaved and communicated with everyone in a respectful and proper manner.If they didn’t I would hear about it!

In my professional life, I worked in the corporate event world. With events protocol is everything. I worked with some of the top companies in the world so most of my client base was from outside the United States. Paying strict attention to the different cultures, I spent a lot of time making sure everyone behaved appropriately and did not say anything that could be construed as offensive.  There’s nothing like having a group from China and New Zealand in the same room together. Very different cultures in the business world.

I was also a Staffing Supervisor and did a lot of hiring and training. My job was to groom people and prepare them for interviews. I made sure that their resume reflected the job they were applying for. I helped them with interview questions and how to present themselves. I coached on everything from what to say and what to wear,and all the protocol that goes along with interviewing. When I did employee reviews, the one thing I always tried to do is use it more as a coaching session than just telling someone what they did wrong all the time. I am a strong believer in positive reinforcement.

I’ve been thinking of doing classes for years. But it was never the right time. Since moving to Montana from Colorado, I find myself in a position to make this dream a reality. This is a project I’m going to be working towards this year!

I welcome you to follow my facebook page and blog for information regarding how and what is considered today’s etiquette in this day and age. I think it will surprise you.