Etiquette Relationships Self-Confidence Self-Development

Is Etiquette Old Fashioned & Outdated?

Yes and No!

No, if it means having to please everyone and be a puppet for others’ approval.

Yes, Etiquette means having the Self-Confidence to walk into any room and feel comfortable.

A lack of basic etiquette skills can lead to many obstacles in life.

We all come from different walks of life and we are not always sure how to handle ourselves when we find ourselves in new situations. It can be in a new school, tertiary educational institution, new work environment, social events, or even in a new country.

Bella Donna Life Skills and Finishing School has been coaching Etiquette since 2008 and helping to improve Self-Confidence and Life Skills not just where it started originally in South Africa but in many other countries around the world.

Cultural Etiquette

I have had the privilege to not just coach young people but to also coach adults from other countries. One experience that stands out for me was an Arab woman from the Bronx in New York that arrived in South Africa and wasn’t sure of the social etiquette rules at the University she was studying at and in social settings. She not only learnt the South African culture but I learnt a lot from her. This coaching was not to help her fit in but to understand South African customs, traditions, and the way we do things and the understanding behind why we do them.

Office Communication Etiquette

I also coached a man who could not understand why he was always alienated from the rest of the staff at work. We worked through how he handled his communication. He was missing the social cues when colleagues were not happy. After etiquette coaching the feedback from colleagues was they didn’t even recognise him anymore. Relationships improved at work and the happiness overflowed into his personal life too.

Etiquette is also how we verbalise our thoughts and opinions. There is a way to speak with respect by still voicing your opinion but in a diplomatic way. You can alienate yourself from many people if you do not learn this etiquette skill. Many misunderstandings happen this way.

Communication etiquette can also assist you in setting boundaries with people who try and take advantage of you. Having a confident voice that states that you won’t be messed with is a huge skill in business that I wish I had learnt before entering the working world.

Another communication etiquette skill is learning to have wonderful conversations. Rule 1 is to listen when the other person is speaking without butting in. Rule 2 is to please not do all the talking. If you are doing all the talking then that is a monologue and not a dialogue. This is extremely boring and egotistical. The person will soon lose interest and move on and unfortunately will also dodge you like the plague the next time they see you coming.

Office etiquette also teaches you the skill of how to deal with difficult colleagues and clients. A difficult situation can either escalate or dissipate with your verbal skills. This will help you to stay calm and overcome obstacles a lot faster.

Another big office etiquette tip is to not answer with “I don’t know” when you are asked a question. Rather say “I am not sure but I will find out”. Do you want that promotion when it comes up or a good salary increase? If your answer is yes then learn the basic office etiquette skills.

CV Etiquette

A big no-no is shorthand or slang when applying for a job or answering a work email. I have received Curriculum Vitae from potential employees in the past and if I see that they have not bothered to apply with a decent cover letter or application email I do not even look further. You will be representing the company when you work for them. They would not want you dealing with their clients in the same manner. First impressions count. Stay professional.

Dining Etiquette

Etiquette while dining is also a big one. You can eat with just your fork at home but you will be feeling very uncomfortable and insecure when in a formal setting, maybe at work or meeting the new inlaws at a fancy dinner, and you are faced with loads of cutlery and crockery in front of you and you have no clue what to use and in which sequence. Remember this is not about what others think of you but what makes you feel confident and comfortable.

In the work environment, you might find yourself in awkward situations at work functions. What to wear, what to say, and what to do. Simple etiquette training can take you a long way. Etiquette training can assist you with Communication skills that would put you a step above the rest. It will also assist you with what to wear in different work situations. You cannot turn up for work in Denim when everyone is in suits and ties or turn up casual at a black tie event.

Bad etiquette experiences that I have had is talking to someone who is chewing gum like a cow. Lol! I seriously can’t deal with that. I know that gum is delicious but there is a time and a place for it. Another big one for me is talking to someone who is yawning without covering their mouth. Oh, Dear!!! People who don’t throw their rubbish in the bin also freak me out. One of my biggest pet peeves I tell ya. When out shopping and shop assistants or cashiers don’t bother to look up at you in the face when answering your questions or not even bothering to greet you on arrival. Eek! Major etiquette fails.

Social Media Etiquette

Social Media Etiquette training is also a must. You do not have to comment on everything. If you do not agree with someone’s post then keep scrolling. Respect that we do not all have the same passions and loves. If you don’t like it then that is OK but I challenge you to not comment. Unfollow or Unfriend the person or page if necessary but stay classy. Also, be careful of what you are posting or liking as your future employees of your dream job will do their research and you don’t want to regret it later.

Entertaining Etiquette

Entertaining guests is another whole game. So many do’s and don’t out of respect for your guests. For example, serving alcohol or pork if it goes against your guest’s religion. Once again this is for you to feel comfortable and if your guests are very important to you then you will need to do your research before you plan your event. No phones at the table is also a big no-no. By having your phone out at the table it means that your guests are not important to you. If I am with people that are permanently on their phones when dining out then I get up and leave. In fact, if I am in any situation besides being at home and my company is permanently on their phones it signals to me that I am not important to them and that they are not really interested in spending time with me. Goodbye! So be respectful and considerate of the company around you.

Dining out and entertaining etiquette is a minefield but for your own sanity and confidence do yourself a favour and upskill yourself.

Etiquette for Confidence

I recently read an article where it said that young people think etiquette is old-fashioned. I want to see these young people when they don’t get the job they wanted, don’t get the partner that they are in love with, and don’t fit into the social circles they want to be a part of. Don’t let ignorance, ego, and pride ruin your chances of living the life that you want. Self-Development is key to success in every part of your life.

You are never too young or too old to learn the basics of etiquette. It will put you at ease in situations and you will be happier and more confident in any situation you find yourself in. If you have children then give them the gift of basic etiquette skill training. They will thank you later on in life.

As I said etiquette is not about being a people pleaser. It is all about helping you to be more confident in life.

I hope some of these ideas will help you to navigate life a little easier and assist you in shining bright 24/7.

Robyn xxx

You are welcome to contact me if you would like to schedule a free chat to discuss this further. Bella Donna Life Skills and Etiquette Coaching – www.belladonnaclasses.co.za robyn@belladonnaclasses.co.za

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