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

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.

– 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 Have an etiquette question? Please email me at 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,


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 Have an etiquette question? Please email me at 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.

Restaurant Etiquette for Kids – Don’t Be “That” Family!

Posted on Feb 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

restaurant etiquette

Restaurant Etiquette

You’ve seen them. The kids who act like Tasmanian Devils in a restaurant. They enter like they’ve come to the circus all reved up and ready to run around and play. They turn around in their booth to inspect other people’s food. They make structures with the sugar packets and salt shakers. They crawl under the table and … and …. well I’m not sure what they do under there.

Anyway, you get it. I just hope that your kids are not “these” kids. But, in case they do happen to need a little reminder on how to behave in a restaurant, have a look at my quick tips below.

Restaurant Etiquette for Kids

1. Remind your children ahead of time what behavior is expected of them. For example, no running around, talking loudly, and that they must use their best manners.

2. Bring something into the restaurant to entertain them if needed. This can be an activity book or something quiet for them to play with while waiting for their food (Manner Mats keep your kids entertained while teaching manners). I would be careful about just giving your kids your iPhone to play with because then I think they tune out too much. You want kids to be engaged in the conversation as well. I like playing games where each person at the table gets to ask a question and everyone takes turn answering it. It’s amazing what you can find out!

3. Remind kids what silverware to use with which course.
It is also a good time to review other basic dining etiquette such as elbows off the table, napkin and hand in lap, etc. For more dining etiquette tips, watch a quick video on “Teaching Kids Table Manners.”

4. Don’t pick things up
. If they drop something on the floor they should not ever go onto the floor to pick it up. If something like your napkin or fork drops just politely ask the waiter for a new one.

For more information on children’s etiquette, restaurant etiquette, and cotillion classes, tips, and videos on manners please go to Have an etiquette question? Please email me at 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.

Hostess With The Mostess. Are Your Kids Good Hosts?

Posted on Feb 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Host etiquette

Host Etiquette

Last week, I answered a reader’s question about how to teach their son how to be a polite guest when on a playdate. It occurred to me that it is also helpful to teach our kids how to be polite hosts and have good host etiquette when having friends over to the house.

Knowing how to make someone feel welcome and comfortable in your home is a lifelong skill that will come in handy when your kids are hosting a party or dinner for a date, in-laws, or business associates. So, it’s not too soon to start teaching your children the basics of host etiquette so that their friends enjoy coming to your house and spending time with your son or daughter.

Here are some tips to teach even your youngest child who has friends over to play.

1.  Greet and Meet. Kids should greet their friends at the door and then introduce them to the family if meeting them for the first time. A proper introduction such as, “Mom. I’d like to introduce to you my friend, Kelly Peters. Kelly, this is my mother, Mrs. Symington.” Note that a child introduces their friend to you and that they use Mrs. or Mr. in the introduction. I prefer that kids call me “Miss Aimee” so I would then just tell the child what they can call me instead of Mrs. Symington. Kids should also introduce their friends to their siblings.

2. Provide choices.
 When the friend arrives your child should offer their friend choices of things to do and then let him/her decide. Like for example, “Would you like to play soccer, play a board game, or play legos?” This way the guest knows what the options are and can make the decision what he/she would like to do first. No one likes a Little Miss Bossy Boots telling them what to do!


3. Play not surf. I really encourage my kids that when they have friends over to play it means to PLAY not watch, surf, or text! This means not watching TV or sitting around playing games on their iPads or phones or texting the other friends who aren’t there! I figure that kids can do that by themself when their friends are not over!

4. Share. Remind your kids that they need to share their things when guests come over. A tip is to ask your kids if there is something they really don’t want to share then put it away and out of sight to avoid a fuss when the friend comes over. Another thing you can remind your kids to share is that if they get somehting to eat or drink that they need to offer the same to their friend.

5. Say Thanks. Walk the friend to the door when they leave and thank them for coming over. All of this is great host etiquette!

Is My Son a Playdate Nightmare?

Posted on Feb 21, 2017 in Uncategorized

Playdate etiquette

Playdate Etiquette

Do you ever wonder what your children are like when they go over to a friend’s house for a playdate? Do they walk through their house with dirty shoes, rummage through their refrigerator for something sugary to eat, or leave their toys/clothes/dishes all over the house? If you do wonder about your children’s playdate manners you are not alone!

Susan D., from Charlotte emailed me her etiquette question that I would like to share with you. She asked, “My son used to be invited to his friend’s house all the time, but recently his friend’s mother hasn’t wanted my son to come over. Can you please tell me what I need to teach my son so that he is a well-mannered guest and I won’t have to worry if he’s being a nightmare child?”

Teach your kids how to be a polite guest while on a playdate with these four easy tips:

1. Polite greeting. When your child goes to someone’s home, remind him/her that they should say hello to the parents (even if they have to seek them out), and any siblings that are around and then stay and talk with them for a couple of minutes. If they are meeting the parents for the first time, they will get parent “brownie points” if they introduce themselves and then shake hands and say “It’s nice to meet you Mrs. Whomever.” I can tell you from experience that last week when a boy came over to our house to play and rushed past me without even a “Hello”, I wasn’t impressed.

2. Clean up. I don’t know about you, but the last thing I want to do is to clean up after more kids! I love a guest who cleans up her stuff when she’s done playing, takes her dishes to the kitchen sink after lunch, and puts her shoes in the shoe basket and not in the middle of the floor. Remind your kids that when they are visiting other people’s houses that they should put away anything they use. If they do this, it will surely be noticed and appreciated by the parents.

3. Be sweet. I won’t name names, but a few years ago my daughter’s friend kicked my younger son when she was at our house on a playdate. Did that child ever get invited back you ask? Heck, No!  Please convey to your kids that when they are visiting someone’s home, they need to behave even better than they do at home IF they want to be invited back. This means, no fussing about toys or who goes first, not being mean to their siblings, not doing something they know is forbidden, etc. If the long term goal is to continue being invited back to this friend’s house, then kids need to remember to be sweet and play nice.

4. Say “Thank you”. Remind your kids to say “please” and “thank you” often. Like, “May I please have some water? Thank you.” And, certainly when your child is leaving their house it is important for them to go to the parents and say “Thank you for having me over. I had a great time.” The magic words can do magic for parents!

For more information on children’s etiquette and cotillion classes, tips, and videos on manners please go to Have an etiquette question? Please email me at and I’ll be happy to answer your question or even feature it in my next blog. Thank you!

Aimee Symington is an etiquette expert who has appeared on The Today Show and is a monthly etiquette guest on Charlotte Today, is the inventor of the nationally-selling boardgame on manners called “Blunders”, and is the CEO of Finesse Worldwide, Inc. with offices in Charlotte and San Francisco.