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Graduation Etiquette for Grads and Friends

Posted on Apr 17, 2017 in Uncategorized

Graduation Etiquette

Graduation etiquette

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a high school or college graduate, or you have been invited to a graduation ceremony or party, here are some graduation etiquette tips to help you make your best impression.

Q – When and to whom do you send graduation invitations?

  • The graduate should give those to the closest family members as soon as possible (3-4 weeks for in-town guests and 6 weeks for out of town guests).
  • If you receive a graduation invitation, you should RSVP immediately so the graduate can give the invitation to someone else.
  • Also, if you receive an invitation, you should still send a gift even if you can’t make it to the ceremony or party.

Q – When and to whom do you send a graduation announcement?

  • These may be sent before the graduation, but it is even better to send them after the graduation.
  • Those receiving an announcement are not obligated to send a gift, but it is nice to at least send a card congratulating the graduate.

Q – When and to whom do you send a graduation party invitation?

  • Send the party invitation 3-4 weeks for those in-town, and 6 weeks for guests from out of town.
  • A formal paper invitation is best for this formal occasion, but if money is an issue, you may use an electronic invitation instead where people even RSVP online.

Q: How much should you spend on a graduation gift?

  • Spend or give what you feel comfortable giving. It will also depend on how close you are to the graduate as you will want to give more for a family member or close friend.
  • For a high school graduation gift you would give a minimum of $25 and for college $50 would be the minimum.
  • Buy gift applicable to what they will be doing after graduation.

Q – How should I behave during the graduation ceremony?

  • Be respectful of those around you (ex, don’t stand up and video tape blocking others’ view)
  • Put your cell phone on vibrate during the ceremony and restrain from posting anything negative (or unflattering pictures) about the event on Facebook or Twitter
  • Don’t yell or be really loud when they are calling your graduate’s name because it means others might not hear the name of the next person called.

Graduation etiquette

 

 

 

 

 

 

Q – How should I behave if I’m attending a graduation party?

  • RSVP on time.
  • Behave yourself and don’t drink too much.
  • Know your table manners (buffet tips & basics like elbows off table).
  • Bring a hostess gift.
  • Bring something for the graduate (gift and/or card).
  • Understand that the graduate cannot just hang out with his/her friends, but should in fact talk to all of the guests especially those coming in from out of town.

Q – When should the graduate open gifts and thank people for the gifts.

  • Unless a guest has requested that the graduate open his/her gift in person, it’s best for the graduate to spend time mingling with the guests and then open the gifts later when everyone is gone.
  • Within a month, the graduate should send a hand-written thank you note for all gifts received. A “thank you” email or text is not appropriate.

New Baby Etiquette

Posted on Mar 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

newborn-photography-2036295_1920

New Baby Etiquette

I was in labor for 25 hours. Most of our friends figured when I went into the hospital at 7:00 AM on Thursday morning, that I would have the baby sometime that day. It was a good assumption, but they were wrong. It was 8:00 AM on Friday when my little stubborn princess was born. Then two short hours later, before I even had the chance to brush my tangled, knotted hair,  two well-meaning neighbors came to the hospital for a visit. Needless to say, I was not ready to entertain anyone but this new little person I had just brought into the world.

When someone has a baby, whether it’s your sister, neighbor, or daughter’s gymnastics’ coach, it’s important to know how you can truly help her and her family, and not do anything to make her life more difficult. Below are some new baby etiquette tips.

PLEASE DO:

  • Offer your help before the baby is even born. This is especially true for someone who’s close to you. Tell her that when she goes into the hospital that you can take care of her other children, her pets, or even just watch things at the house. Telling her that she can call you when she goes into labor, even if it’s in the middle of the night, is also an amazing gift.

Meals

  • Set up or participate in a “Take Them A Meal” website. If she knows that she will not have to worry about cooking dinner for a week or so after the baby is born that will be a huge relief. This also prevents everyone from brining the same dish, and overlapping dinners. Click HERE for some good recipes.

 

  • Give the family space when home from the  hospital. Unless you are immediate family, there is no need to go to the hospital or to their house within a week or two after the baby is born. The parents need time to adjust, and to literally live in their pajamas if they want, without feeling like they have to entertain.

 

PLEASE DON’T:

  • Give them a gift without a gift receipt. As wonderful as you think the Diaper Genie is, you have no idea if they already have 3 of them! Parents can also receive too many clothes of one size and may need to exchange the cute outfit you gave them for a larger size.

 

  • Be too hands on with the baby. It’s not a good idea to visit the newborn and bring along your kids and have everyone want to hold and touch the baby. If you really want to hold the baby (but please not your kids) make sure you wash your hands first and keep your mouth (germs) away from the baby in case you might have a cold brewing.

new baby etiquette

  • Forget to offer help during the first six months. Chances are the baby, and therefore the mom, will not be getting a full night’s sleep, so occasionally offer your help or even another meal to give the mom a little break. You can even help by offering to drive her other children to practices or school, or pick up some groceries for her when you’re out.

 

Hope these new baby etiquette tips were helpful. If you have any etiquette questions please email me at aimee@finesseworldwide.com, or go to my website for information and videos on etiquette for adults and children.


Office Etiquette Pet Peeves

Posted on Mar 27, 2017 in Uncategorized

Messy-office-fridgeOffice Etiquette Pet Peeves

If you work in an office environment, you probably know that working closely with colleagues can be a productive, rewarding experience. You also know that their quirks, bad habits, and thoughtlessness can slowly drive you insane.

​I remember one corporate job I had where a group of young women would congregated behind my glorified cubical and loudly chat, seemingly for hours, every day about their boyfriends, date nights, and wild bar adventures, making it impossible to get any work done until they left.  I also remember feeling like I was the only one to make a new pot of coffee, add paper to the printer, and tidy up the conference room after meetings.

​We all have our office etiquette pet peeves, but below is a list of the most popular according to a national survey by Linked-In.

​1.  ANNOYING EMAIL ETIQUETTE – Remember to…

  • Respond to emails within 24 hours if possible. Even if you don’t have the answer, at least let the person know you received it.
  • Avoid writing long emails especially if you could call or talk to them in person.
  • Not “reply all” unless everyone needs to have the email.
  • Change the subject line as the content of the email changes.
  • Write proper emails with correct spelling and punctuation. This is an electronic letter not a text.
 

2.  EXCESSIVE CHATTING AND OVER SHARING INFORMATION – Remember to…

  • Be considerate of others’ time and ask if they have time to chat when popping into their office or calling them on the phone.
  • Not over share information about yourself or get too personal with your questions. Discussing ailments, medical procedures, troubled marriages, and lousy exes should be done outside the office with close friends.
 

3.  BEING A KITCHEN SLOB – Remember to…

  • Clean up your dirty dishes in the sink and tidy up in the kitchen when you’re done eating.
  • Avoid cooking something in the office that has an overpowering aroma.
  • Avoid taking someone else’s food or drinks out of the office refrigerator! This is almost punishable by law.

 

4.  BAD MEETING ETIQUETTE – Remember to…

  • Show up to the meeting on-time. The office pet peeve that bothered managers most was showing up late for meetings.
  • End the meeting on-time. Associates said they found most annoying meetings that started late and went way too long.
  • Avoid being on your electronic devices unless that is the culture in your office. If you take electronic notes, tell others that’s what you’re doing not writing your grocery shopping list.
  • Give your full attention to the people in the meeting.

 

5.  TALKING LOUDLY ON CELL PHONE – Remember to…

  • Avoid talking loudly on your cell phone when in common areas, or even in your cubical or office if others can hear you.
  • Avoid talking on the phone when you’re with other people. Like when you’re in the kitchen area, walking to lunch with co-workers, etc. Either take the call and move away from the group or don’t answer the phone because it doesn’t show respect to the people you’re with.

 

To watch my Fox news segment on Office Etiquette Pet Peeves, click HERE.

For more etiquette information, please go to my website HERE

Aimee is the CEO of Finesse Worldwide, and an etiquette expert with almost 20 years’ experience teaching etiquette to adults and children throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Aimee has appeared on NBC’s The Today Show, and she regularly shares her etiquette advice on Charlotte Today, Fox News, and WBTV, on radio programs such as NPR, and in newspapers and national magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Woman’s Health. Ms. Symington is also the creator of the award-winning, nationally acclaimed products on manners for children called “Blunders®” and “Manner Mats®” For more etiquette tips for adults and children, please visit her website at FinesseWorldwide.com. Connect on Facebook.


Make A Good Impression Without Saying a Word

Posted on Feb 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

First Impressions

First Impressions

If you walk into a meeting looking down at your cell phone, body hunched over, your body language is saying (yelling actually) to others, “I only care about myself, and frankly, I’m also insecure.”

When you walk through the door, before you even open your mouth, people will look at your clothing, manners, and mannerisms and make a judgment on you and whether or not they like you, trust you, and want to do business with you.

Is your body language saying what you want it to say? To make a great first impression and have confident body language, follow these tips:

1. Exude Positive Energy. Think, act, and look happy and successful.

Even if you have to “fake it until you make it”, go in to any situation with a positive attitude and others will pick up on that. We all know when “that” person walks into the room who’s in a bad mood, is on the “war path”, and just brings negativity in with them. Be the one who people gravitate towards with your positive energy and engaging attitude.

 

2. Have Confident Posture. Head up, shoulders back, phone away.

Don’t close yourself off from others or give them the wrong opinion about you by walking into a situation where your head down looking at your cell phone. Also, stand up straight like your mama taught you and show you’re a confident person to make a good first impression.

 

3. Smile. It shows you are confident and people will gravitate towards you.

A smile is easy to do. It doesn’t cost anything. Put a smile on your face when you enter a meeting, the doctor’s office, your child’s school, or anywhere, and you will be greeted with a smile back. People like people who are happy.

 

4. Give a Strong Handshake. Extend your hand first with full clasp.

Be the first one to extend your hand when meeting someone and you will be in the “power” position. Also, make sure you look the person directly in their eyes as you shake hands because many people tend to look away even for a second and this makes you lose credibility! Have a firm handshake not a “dead fish” one.

 

5. Have Direct Eye Contact. It adds to your believability and shows you care.

Really look someone in the eyes when they are talking to you so that you show them you are listening and that you care what they have to say. Don’t look around the room, at your phone, or at the other people in the room you’d rather be talking to.

 

6. Listen. Show you are actively listening by nodding and giving your full attention.

Good listening skills are essential to being charismatic and having people like you. As the saying goes, “People will remember how you made them feel, and not what you talked about.” If you really listen to someone they will truly remember that.

 

7. Dress Appropriately. Dress for the occasion and for the job you want to have.

People will make a judgment about you based on what you are wearing and how you look so make sure you are communicating what you want. Wear clothes that are appropriate to the occasion and environment and that your clothes are clean, fit well, and in style.

 

Want to learn more? Finesse Worldwide can come onsite to your office and run a business etiquette session for you and your associates. Check out our website for more information or email us at aimee@finesseworldwide.com.


Manners for Teens – From a Teen’s Perspectivve

Posted on Feb 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

manners for teens

Manners for Teens

“No slurping your soup!”, “Get your elbows off the table!”, “Umm, helllloo? What do you think your napkin is for just sitting there on the table? I don’t think so, put it in your lap!”, and “Dear Emma, that’s your dessert fork… not the salad fork!”
Trust me, being the only daughter of an etiquette expert is not the optimal situation for a wanna-be rebellious teenage girl. But, whatever. None of that stuff is actually necessary to know, right? Yeah, uhh…wrong.

As much as I pains me to admit, the little stuff is what counts. I’m talking about the little stuff that will help you become confident in your interpersonal and social skills. Knowing the little tips and tricks of table manners, phone etiquette, and basic conversation skills are what’ll move you along with an actual career in the actual world, which I have yet to experience.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been stuck in a carpool with a friend’s mom who has a PHD in interrogation. Parents have said that they think I have great manners simply because I can carry on a conversation and make eye contact! I know your kids may not see eye to eye with you on the fact that all this manners jibberish is relevant in any way. I mean, the last time I went to a corporate business meeting was, well… never. But I’ve been in countless situations where I’ve been glad that I have nice table manners and know how to act appropriately as a guest in someone’s house.

Being a moody, opinionated, stubborn teenage girl myself, I’m here to help a “sis’tah” out and tell you my top three recommendations for (successfully) teaching your kids manners and social skills.

Manners for Teens:

1. Stress the importance of manners and how they can actually, believe it or not, save you from embarrassment from time to time. Telling your kids and having them be aware of all the benefits of what good social skills and etiquette can bring in the long run is crucial if you want them to really listen to you. The “WIFM” – What’s In it For Me is critical for kids!

2. Telling somebody why something is important can’t be completely effective without some sort of demonstration or example. Assuming you all know your stuff, it shouldn’t be too much of a problem to show your kids the proper way to answer the phone, set the table, give a firm handshake, etc. Having your kids follow by example can be one your best strategies.

3. Practice. Practice makes perfect, right? So we’re told. Nicely reminding your kids of these simple etiquette tips, leaving out the rolling of the eyes and claiming you’ve told them 1,000 times, is what will eventually get the information and advice to stick. Nagging is not advised and usually doesn’t go over well with us independent teens, trust me.

I wish you well on your journey through the dark and dangerous forest of back-talking and eye rolling, over the treacherous mountains of burping at the table and “…sup” greetings to finally reach your destination of the Land of Well Mannered Children.

Thanks!
– Emma Husk, Age 14

Aimee Symington teaches manners for teens, is an etiquette expert, and creator of “Blunders” board game on manners. She has appeared on The Today Show and is a monthly etiquette guest on Charlotte Today and is the CEO of Finesse Worldwide, Inc. with offices in Charlotte and San Francisco.


Cell Phone Etiquette – You HAVE To Teach Your Kids Now!

Posted on Feb 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

cell phone etiquette

Cell Phone Etiquette

“My son is an addict. He’s 12 years old and addicted to his iPhone. What boundaries can we set and help him learn some cell phone etiquette?” – Kathy I., Huntersville.

Although I don’t know your son personally, I feel like I know plenty of kids just like him. They text every thought and feeling, they use Instagram, Vine, and Snap Chat like their social life depends on it, and they play games like Geometry Dash and Flappy Bird until their fingers physically hurt!

I agree with you (and so will all of the child experts) that you do need to limit your son’s use of the cell phone for his mental, physical, and social well-being. Although it’s really hard to be the “bad guy”, we are the parents and we are the ones who can, and should, set limits on cell phone, computer and TV usage.

Each parent knows what will work best with his/her own child and what consequences are most appropriate based on age, gender and interests, but here are some tips on how to teach your children cell phone etiquette and how to use their cell phones with limits, and of course, nice manners.

Top 4 Cell Phone Etiquette Tips for Kids

1.  Make house rules. For example that no one is allowed to use their cell phone at the dinner table (very important) and before/after a certain time. Be very strict with this and make sure everyone in the house adheres to these house rules. Have a specific consequence if these rules are broken like no phone the next day.

2.  People come first.  Explain to your kids how important it is that when they are talking with someone else, or when they have company over, that they need to be in the moment and give the other person their full attention and stay off the cell phone even if it rings or they get a text. Model this behavior for your kids and really enforce the importance of showing people more respect than the phone!

3.  Cell phone goes away during homework and family time. If your child is always “plugged in”, they cannot concentrate on anything or anyone else. When you go out for dinner I see a lot of kids playing on their phones while waiting for the food to arrive. Wouldn’t be a better idea to have the kids keep their phone in the car and use that time together to talk? There are some fun family conversation starter type games on the market that are great to bring along to restaurants.

4.  Use it for good not evil. They should not use it to say anything mean to or about anyone else. Using a cell phone and texting (not even talking about the internet and social media) is a privilege that can be taken away if they misuse the phone by hurting anyone’s feelings. If kids do have a smartphone, then they need to learn about internet safety, and learn the importance of not sending any pictures or information to others that they wouldn’t want the world to see.

And, because I think adults can always use a reminder about cell phone use themselves, here are a few tips to share with the adults in your life whose BFF is their phone!

Top 3 Cell Phone Etiquette Tips for Adults

1.  Show respect. If you are talking with someone in person and your cell phone rings, or a text pings, don’t immediately look away from the person you’re speaking with to answer it! If you do, you are showing that the person who’s calling/texting is more important than the person you’re with. It’s very rude and people will be offended.

2.  In restaurants put the phone on vibrate and keep it off the table. The table is not the place to put your phone while eating in a restaurant. Put it away, place it on vibrate so it doesn’t ring and irritate other diners, and then only talk on the phone away from the table.

3.  Be aware of others. We hopefully remember not to talk on the cell phone when we are at the movies, in a library, in a place of worship, or in a meeting, but it is also offensive to talk on the phone when others are sitting next to you and can’t avoid having to hear your whole conversation. So, next time you are taking on your cell phone while in a bus, in a doctor’s waiting room, in the airport lounge, or other similar places, remember to talk softly to avoid bothering others, keep your conversation short, and be aware of the language you use in case there are kids nearby.

For more information on the new and modern cotillion class called “Impressions”, tips, and videos on manners please go to finesseworldwide.com/impressions. Have an etiquette question? Please email me at aimee@finesseworldwide.com and I’ll be happy to answer your question or even feature it in my next blog.

Aimee Symington is a modern cotillion instructor, etiquette expert, and creator of “Blunders” board game on manners. She has appeared on The Today Show and is a monthly etiquette guest on Charlotte Today and is the CEO of Finesse Worldwide, Inc. with offices in Charlotte and San Francisco.


Thank You Notes. Do We Still Have to Write Them?

Posted on Feb 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Thank you note

Thank You Notes

This summer I’ve been doing a lot of traveling. I’ve traveled with my kids, their friends, and their cousins for a total of 65 hours’ worth of driving over a 5 week span.

Despite the incidents of the friend who had night terrors and would wake us up screaming in the middle of the night, the cousin who spilled cranberry juice on our white carpeting, and the friend who ran through the porch screen at the cabin, I was delighted at how some of these kids showed their gratitude to me for all of the driving and everything I did for them.

Maybe it is because I’m the “etiquette lady”, but I received the nicest hand-written thank you note from one of my son’s friends whom I had taken with us to Florida. He took the time to draw a great picture on the outside of the card, and then on the inside, went into detail about what he enjoyed on our trip. Needless to say, I was very impressed by his manners and that his mom would encourage him to write the note.

In my opinion, not only is it a good idea for kids to show their gratitude by sending a thank you note the old-fashioned way instead of a quick email or text, but because so few kids actually do, it makes them (and you) stand out and really make a great impression on the receiver.

Tips for Sending Thank You Notes:

1.  Kids should send a thank you note for any gift they receive. It is especially important to write one immediately if the gift was sent by mail to let the person know it was received and appreciated.

2.  Format and style matter.  This is a great time to teach your kids how to address an envelope and properly write a letter. Encourage them to write neatly and to ask you if they don’t know how to spell something. If your child is under the age of 6 and cannot write the whole note herself, you can buy the thank you cards where the child just needs to fill in the blanks. Below is an example of a nice thank you note that would be appropriate from an eight year old.

Dear Grandma,

I am so glad that you were able to come to my birthday party. It was really great playing games with you and swimming in the pool.
Thank you so much for the new Star Wars Lego set! I have already started to build it and am having so much fun. I’ll send you a picture of it when it’s all put together.
I love you,

Sam

3. Have cards and stamps ready! I have bought each of my children their own stationary (cheap at Target) and a book of stamps. So, when they need to write a thank you note there are no excuses like, “What do I use?”

For more information on the new and modern cotillion class called “Impressions”, tips, and videos on manners please go to finesseworldwide.com/impressions. Have an etiquette question? Please email me at aimee@finesseworldwide.com and I’ll be happy to answer your question or even feature it in my next blog.

Aimee Symington is a modern cotillion instructor, etiquette expert, and creator of “Blunders” board game on manners. She has appeared on The Today Show and is a monthly etiquette guest on Charlotte Today and is the CEO of Finesse Worldwide, Inc. with offices in Charlotte and San Francisco.