When I was growing up, I had a great aunt that taught etiquette lessons. A previous social coordinator for the Hotel DuPont, my aunt was very proper and always dressed to the nines.

My older sister and I were forced to take one of her classes that she taught out of her home. We learned how to appropriately set a dinner table, how to introduce ourselves to someone and the proper way to eat artichoke and asparagus. At 12 and 14.0, we were bored out of minds!!

When I stumbled upon this article on LinkedIn a while back, it reminded me of my aunt, and all the times my father told me to get my elbows off the table. It also made me realize now how many kids have awful manners, both table and social. Like the author, I truly believe that slipping manners are a sign of the times.

From LinkedIn:
Please” and “thank you” go a long way and yet as we play with our smart phone or text as we walk, some of our common courtesies have flown out the window.

What do you do when you open a door for yourself to walk through? Do you walk straight through, letting the door swing back into it’s frame without a moments thought for anyone behind you that may also want to go through the same door, or do you look behind yourself first and say “after you” to the person waiting and hold the door wide for them as they go through?

Incidentally, you don’t have to be male to do this. (I won’t get into sexual equality here, too dangerous!)

Your good manners reflect on your character and as you just never know whose face you are letting that door swing in, bear in mind it could very well be the person you are on your way to meet for the first time.

Some other areas to think about with your manners that may have slipped a little in this fast paced world we live in:

  • Greet people, say hello more often whether it is the mailman or the barista making your coffee, just say hello where you come into contact with another person.
  • Speak politely by never talking over someone and interrupting them. Just because you are busting to say something that fits the conversation, wait and slip it in when you can.
  • Texting to someone while you are either in a meeting or having a discussion with someone else should be avoided. Concentrate on those with you.
  • Congratulate others on their success, maybe a member of the opposing team, or a colleague that has just got a promotion, and be genuine about it.
  • Drive nicely. It can be hard to do, but is it such a big deal to let someone into your lane ahead of you, will it slow you down that much? Since I drive a company sign written car, I really have to watch my “driving language” because my brand is on show.
  • Introduce others into the conversation rather than let them be wallflowers on the edge. Introduce them to the group and highlight what you have been talking about so they can get up to speed quickly.
  • Be authentic with your manners, you don’t have to be stiff and stuffy, just polish your old manners off and insert them where needed.
  • Smoking in front of others is not as common as it once was, so you may want to check on etiquette by asking if you can smoke or leave it until later.
  • Arriving late or not at all without calling ahead. As I am writing this, I am waiting for an appointment to show up that was due over an hour ago, with no word to me that they are going to be held up. Everyone’s time is important and again, it reflects back on your character, so you can guess what I am thinking of this person right now.
  • As with lots of areas in our lives, there isn’t much that you don’t already know. It’s putting it back to use that makes a difference to your relationships, whether it is with someone you know that you are building on a relationship with, or not.

    Have your manners slipped of recent times? Do you notice great manners in others?

    I always try to use good manner. What about you? I think more parents need to teach their kids better manners.

    Aunt Bubba

    Linda Coles is the author of “Learn marketing with social media in 7 days” (Wiley) and is a speaker and trainer on building relationships. She lives in New Zealand on a fig orchard. You can get a free sample of a chapter of her book by registering for her newsletter.