Impressions: The Modern Cotillion for A New Generation

Posted on Feb 26, 2018 in Uncategorized

Impressions Cotillion

On February 25, 2018, we had our first session of the 2018 winter Impressions class.

During the class, they learned the seven key things they need to do to make a good first and lasting impression on others. We did group activities and had the kids work on this a lot, so hopefully, they can tell you about all seven which are to have good: Attitude, energy, eye contact, posture, smile, listening skills, and hand shake.

Then, we did a game I call “Conversation Catch”. This game was to teach them the importance of being able to carry on a conversation with another child or with an adult, and how easy it really is to do.

Dancing The Waltz

Lastly, we taught them how to Waltz. While I believe they all learned the steps, what was the hardest thing for them was to actually touch the person of the opposite gender! Wow, if you could have seen their faces!! I know this is hard, and many of them were mortified (hiding under the tables and in the bathroom), but it’s actually a very good step for them to take at this age. Over the next classes this will get easier, and you never know, they might even find that they like dancing!


Children’s Social Skills Indicator of Their Success

Posted on Feb 1, 2018 in Uncategorized

Children’s Social Skills Indicator of Their Success

Many children today are growing up without learning the social skills and manners they need to make and keep friends, make a good impression on adults, and get ahead in school and beyond.

Technology is hindering their interpersonal communication skills. Our busy lifestyles leave little time for parents to teach their children manners and dining etiquette. Our society is becoming less civil in general, and more specifically, many people use social media not as a communication tool, but as a weapon.

However, children who are raised with polite social skills and feel confident meeting and talking to people of all ages, who can present themselves well in social settings and during stressful situations, and those children who are able to show respect and kindness to others regardless of their differences, will, according to research published in the American Journal of Public Health, be “happier and more successful” than those who do not have as confident and polite manners.

I believe that parents, grandparents, educators, and other adults who interact with children need to understand the importance of teaching children manners and social skills. They also owe it to children to learn what, and how, to teach them in order to propel them to success.

Below are my top three recommendations of what to teach your children and how. For my classes in the Charlotte area that teach children ages 5 – 18 social skills and manners, please click HERE.

1. Teach confident greeting and conversation skills. If your children can make a good impression on adults and other kids when meeting them for the first time, or seeing them again, it will make them feel confident, make them more likable, and help them to make friends easier. For information on how to teach kids to have nice greeting and conversation skills, go to this Charlotte Parent blog HERE.

2. Teach children to show respect and kindness to others when in person and on-line. One of the greatest lessons we can teach our children is to respect others regardless of their race, gender, religion, sexual preference, age, or as kids might say, just because “he’s weird.” This isn’t hard to teach, but sometimes it’s hard to get kids to do the right thing in all situations.

–   You can start by showing by example and not talking badly about others because they are different or by treating them differently than others.
–   Explain to your kids how they will never really understand someone and why they do something, wear something, say something, unless they really know what’s going on with them in that moment. So, encourage your children to not make snap judgments and to really try to get to know someone by asking them questions and really listening.
–   Teach them how to show respect to kids and adults when in person and have them practice, practice, and practice.
–   Teaching kids how to show respect to others when using social media is critical, but not easy. Explain that just because they are not being a bully, that it’s NOT okay to “like” something that is mean about another child, or to “share” it with others.

3. Teach your children proper table manners. Because there is a right and a wrong way to do things before, during and after a meal, it’s extremely obvious when someone (child or adult) has not been taught proper table manners and dinning etiquette. And, if someone has bad table manners, it’s only human nature to make negative judgments about that person. So, take the time to teach your children how to behave at the table so that they make a good impression when they go to friends’ houses to eat, and when they are going on a job interview over a meal. Click HERE for table manner tips written in a previous Charlotte Parent blog.


For social skills and manners classes for children in K – 12 in the Lake Norman Area this winter and spring click HERE. If you’re interested in future classes in the south Charlotte area, please send an email to

Holiday Etiquette Tips

Posted on Dec 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

Holiday Etiquette Tips

tipping_uber The holiday season is upon us, so below are the top 5 holiday etiquette tips.

  1. 1.  Tipping Etiquette
  • Prioritize your most important service providers. Give to those people who really make your life easier and better like, for example, your trusted babysitter, the house keeper, and the kids’ bus driver.
  • Handmade gifts or treats. If you cannot afford to give everyone a monetary gift, a plate full of holiday cookies or candy is a low-cost way to express your appreciation.
  • A note should accompany any tip. Your message doesn’t have to be elaborate, but should include a couple of sentences thanking the person for his or her good work and wishing them a happy holiday.

2. Gifting Etiquette

  • Send thank-you note. Ensure that if you (or your children) receive a gift in the mail that you/they promptly send a hand-written thank you note to tell the person (a) that you received it, and (b) that you truly enjoy and appreciate the gift.
  • Set family expectations up-front. Talk to your family about who will be buying what for whom this holiday season. Some families only buy gifts for the children, some keep gifts below a certain dollar value, others pick names from a hat. Whatever your family does decide before it’s too late and someone’s feelings get hurt and a family “issue” develops.


3.  Airplane Etiquette

  • Keep your voice down. Don’t talk too loudly in public spaces like the waiting area or in the plane. Also, keep the volume of your headphones down so your seatmate can’t also hear the music.
  • Don’t take up more space than you really need. Like in the airport terminal, don’t lay your stuff all over while others have no room to sit.

4.  Dining Etiquette

  • Know hosting responsibilities. If you’re hosting a meal, you may ask people to not bring their cell phone to the table. If you typically pray before a meal, but not sure if your guests do, you may still ask people to pray with you as it’s your home. If you’re in someone else’s house, you would just pray silently and not ask your host to pray if that is not something they usually do.
  • Know your table manners. Pass food to the right. Pass salt and pepper together. Put napkin in your lap. No elbows or arms should rest on the table. Either use continental style of eating or American, but not both. Make conversation with those seated to your right, left and across from you.

5.  Show Gratitude

  • Help others. Find a way as a family to help others in need during the holiday season. Donate toys, food, or give money to a charity as a gift to someone. Every family member can do something to help someone else during the holiday season.

Hope these holiday etiquette tips will help you reduce some of the stress the holidays can bring.

Wishing you and yours Happy Holidays,


Tipping Etiquette – Tips to Show Gratitude

Posted on Nov 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Tipping Etiquette

Tipping Etiquette

A Consumer Reports holiday tipping poll finds that fewer than 1 in 4 of us pony up for a monetary thank-you to our mail carrier, lawn crew or garbage collector. However, the holiday season is the time to show our appreciation to the service people who make our life better.

Click HERE to watch this great and quick WCNC News segment on Tipping Etiquette!

Below is some holiday etiquette tipping advice from etiquette expert, Aimee Symington, of Davidson.

  • Prioritize your most important service providers. If someone’s work makes your life dramatically better, that person should be at the top of your holiday tipping list. The trusted housecleaner, the hairdresser who fits you in at the last minute and the baby sitter who always does a great job tending your kids should get more of your holiday tipping resources than service providers you use infrequently.
  • Don’t skimp on your employees. If you have household workers, such as a nanny, a housekeeper or a caretaker for an elderly relative, the holiday bonus is often considered part of the employee’s compensation.
  • It’s OK to consider need. The lower-paid the worker, the more holiday tips are likely to be appreciated — and the bigger impact your gift can have. Your tip to a manicurist or gardener may be a bigger deal than the same-sized token to a package-delivery person.
  • If you tip generously all year, you can skimp a bit. A smaller tip or a modest gift at the holidays is fine.
  • A note should accompany any tip. Your message doesn’t have to be elaborate, but should include a couple of sentences thanking the person for his or her good work and wishing a happy holiday.
  • Handmade gifts or treats. If you cannot afford to give everyone a monetary gift, a plate full of holiday cookies or candy is a low-cost way to express your appreciation.

Below are rough guidelines and tipping etiquette standards you can adapt to your budget and local custom:

Recipient Guideline
Babysitter One evening’s pay, plus a gift from your child
Barber Cost of one haircut
Beauty salon staff Half the cost of one haircut
Bus Driver $10 individual or more for collective gift from group
Day care provider A gift from you, or $25 to $70, plus a gift from your child
Dog walker Up to one week’s pay or a gift
Garage attendants $10 to $30 or a small gift
Gardeners $20 to $50 each
Handyman $15 to $40
Housekeeper Up to one week’s pay and/or a small gift
Live-in help One week to one month’s pay, plus a gift from you
Mail carrier Gift worth less than $20; no cash, check or gift cards
Massage therapist Up to the cost of one session or a gift
Nanny or au pair One week’s pay, plus a gift from your child
Newspaper deliverer $10 to $30 or a small gift
Package deliverer Small gift in the $10-$20 range
Personal trainer Up to the cost of one session or a gift
Personal caregiver One week to one month’s salary or a gift
Pet groomer Up to the cost of one session or a gift
Teachers A small gift or note from you, plus a small gift from your child
Trash collectors $10 – $30 each


Cotillion in Charlotte for 5th and 6th Graders

Posted on Nov 8, 2017 in Uncategorized

cotillion in charlotte



Teaching children to have self-confidence in social situations, to show respect and kindness to others when in person and online, and to have nice table manners is essential, but let’s face it, teaching these life skills isn’t easy!

Impressions: The Modern Cotillion for a New Generation is a new interactive cotillion in Charlotte area that teaches children all of the etiquette, manners, and social skills they need to know, without all of the “old-fashioned” stuff that’s  outdated in today’s modern and digital world.

Through the use of multi-media, games, groups activities and a class party, 5th and 6th graders will learn how to:

  • Have confident greeting and conversation skills
  • Set the table and have polite table manners
  • Be a polite host and guest, and a good friend
  • Have nice manners and respect when using a cell phone & social media
  • Dance the Shag and Waltz

The final cotillion in Charlotte will culminate in a party with parents attending to dance with their son/daughter.


CLASSES: Every child will attend all three classes.

DATES: February 25, March 4, and March 11 of 2018. The sign-up only says February 25th, but you will be signing up for all THREE classes.

TIME: The 5th grade class will be held from 1:00 – 2:45. The 6th grade class will be held from 3:30 – 5:15.

COST: The price is $180 per person to be paid upon registration by Pay Pal or credit card. Cancellation with refund will only be given before January 25th.

LOCATION: At the Sweet Magnolia Estate located at 10101 Bailey Road, Cornelius, NC 28031.

ATTIRE: The first two classes are “dressy casual” which means no t-shirts, running shoes, or   shorts.  The class on March 1th will be formal for the dance party. Boys should wear a jacket, button down shirt, tie and dress pants. Girls should wear a dress or skirt/blouse.

PROVIDED: Each participant will receive a comprehensive binder of information to use and keep, handouts, prizes, snacks and beverages for all classes.

CLASS SIZE: Each class will be limited to 20 girls and 20 boys. Classes will fill up quickly so please register early.

INSTRUCTOR: The cotillion in Charlotte area is taught by Aimee Symington, CEO of Finesse Worldwide, international etiquette expert, creator of nationally-selling Blunders® board game and products, NBC and Fox News manners’ expert, blogger, and national magazine contributor.

Enroll your children today and empower them with the knowledge and ability to make the right choices in social settings now and in the future.

Questions? Email or call Aimee Symington at or 704-564-6502 if you have questions about the cotillion in Charlotte.


Civility. Learn Fundamentals to Make More Money and Earn More Respect

Posted on May 18, 2017 in Uncategorized



Do you take the time to smile at people when you pass them in the hall, and say “hello” to those you work with? Do you show respect and kindness in all of your personal and online interactions?

If you do that’s wonderful, but unfortunately, it’s rare. According to the 2016 Civility Survey, 95 percent of people think we have a civility problem in America.

It’s also disheartening to know that 40 percent of people think that “nice guys finish last”, and that they can’t be nice if they want others to respect them. This can’t be more wrong! In fact, being uncivil to others costs you status, power, and advancement, and when you show kindness and respect, you are viewed as being a better leader and more competent at your job.

In Christine Porath’s new book, “Mastering Civility,” she shares groundbreaking research that proves the unwavering connection between having the ability to lift people up (being civil and polite to others) to being personally more successful and increasing corporate profits.

The fundamentals of civility and having polite etiquette are simple, and easy to pass along to our children.


People will be more inclined to trust you, follow you, and support you when you use the “magic words.”


Use it to build rapport, put people at ease, and inspire others. We appear more likable and courteous and are perceived as more competent when we smile. It also has the power to make others more effective.


The Center for Creative Leadership found that the most successful executives have positive relationships with their subordinates. Reach out to people and get to know those whom you work with, those on your floor, the security guard, and others whom you see everyday. Remember that your children are watching your interactions.

LISTNIt signals caring, commitment and connection. We don’t connect by passively hearing. Make eye contact. Ask clarifying questions. Don’t text or be online when talking with others in person. And listen to your children. Take time to put down your phone or tablet when they have questions and want to talk.

“Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” – Michael Jordan

Civility Isn’t Just for the Workplace

It’s also critical that we raise polite and respectful children. One of the most effective ways to do this is to role model for our children how to behave in a civil and polite way.

Not being rude isn’t the same as being civil.

Let’s say you see an elderly person putting groceries in her car. Not being rude is that you would not say something mean to her. But, being civil and a great role model for your kids, would be to ask if you could help her load the bags into her car. It’s things you can do in simple ways to show others respect and kindness.

Also, after teaching your children how to show respect and kindness to adults and peers, recognize and praise them when they do something well.

For more information about business and social etiquette please go to my website

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.