National Survey on Manners

We conducted a national survey on manners with kids ages 10-14 to find out what their etiquette IQ is and what they think about other kids’ manners. The results were very interesting!

Kids today are great at technology and can use cell phones, iPads, and even computers almost better than we can, and they have the advantage of being exposed to more information, activities, and things than we ever were as kids.

And as parents, we make sure that our kids are learning the text book things that they need to know to get good grades, but what are forgetting, is that this is a competitive world and kids and young adults today need more than just technical skills and good grades to succeed! According to research, a person’s success is based 80% on their social skills and how they get along with others.

We need to spend more time teaching our kids basic social skills like how to confidently shake hands and make conversation with others, have nice table manners, and how to show respect and kindness to others both in person and when online.

We can’t forget to teach our kids the common courtesies that are so important. It will help boost their self-esteem, help them to make a great first impression, and help them to be more successful now and throughout their lifetime. Check out these shocking stats from our national survey on manners.

Table Manners

  • 57% of kids don’t know that you pass platters and bows of food to the right.
  • 83% said that they and their friends need to have better table manners.
  • Only 23% know that they can only put their elbows and arms on the table when there isn’t any food on the table.

Why does it matter?

Table manners are easy for others to judge because there is a definite right and wrong way to do things. When kids are eating over at their friends’ houses, their parents will certainly make a judgment on whether or not they have nice table manners, and if they don’t, they won’t make a very good impression. Later in life, many job interviews are conducted over a meal so that the company can see what type of social skills the person has under pressure so that they know they are hiring someone who will represent them well.


Confident Greeting Skills

  • 59% of kids know that they should extend their hand immediately to shake hands with others regardless of age or gender, but they also said that…
  • Looking adults in the eyes and making conversation with them is the thing they feel most uncomfortable doing.
  • Note – Only 30% of kids know what side of their chest to put their name-tag. It goes on the right so that when you are shaking hands, the other person can look up your arm and easily read your name.

Why does it matter?

These specific results from our national survey on manners heavily confirm that first impressions are very important when meeting teachers, other adults, and new kids. To confidently greet someone, have a strong handshake, warm smile, and be able to talk to them and make polite conversation says so much about a person. Being a good conversationalist not only helps you to make a good first impression, but it helps to form bonds with others, make friends, influence others, and helps you to get a job and get ahead in your career.


Electronic Etiquette

  • While 83% of kids said they know that they should ask a person before posting their picture on social media like Instagram, YouTube, Vine, Facebook, etc., I personally don’t feel that 83% of kids or adults ever ask!
  • Again, about 83% of kids said they know that when they are talking to someone in person, but get a text message, that they should not look at the message until after they are done talking. Then, why do kids seem to immediately look at their phone when a text comes in?
  • Good news is that only 40% of kids reported that they have ever written or posted anything mean about anyone else on social media. Our job is to get that number to none!

Why does it matter?

Electronics is how kids communicate, share information, and feel like they belong to a group. It’s a huge part of their life and so it’s important to teach them how to work with this powerful tool without getting hurt or hurting anyone else. It seems like, from the national survey on manners results, that kids know what to do, but that they don’t always do the right thing. I think we need to ask ourselves why and what we can do to be better role models and teachers. Some kids do understand that slip-ups on social media can have drastic consequences like getting suspended from school, having the information/post follow them for years (even into the years where interviewers would see it), and even potentially even really hurting someone else. It’s a lot of pressure.


How can parents help their kids?

Finesse Worldwide is putting the results of this national survey into action by offering two children’s etiquette classes this fall which are the updated, modern version of the old-fashioned cotillion classes.

The class is for rising 5th, 6th, and 7th graders and is called Impressions ™: The Modern Cotillion for A New Generation.

Impressions™ is an interactive experience that includes multi-media, games and a formal party. It will cover lots of topics including:

  • Table manners and dining etiquette
  • Confident introductions
  • Polite greeting skills and making small talk
  • Cell phone etiquette
  • Social media manners
  • How to show respect and kindness to peers and adults
  • Communicating confidence and charisma
  • How to dance the shag and the waltz


Two classes are being offered this fall.


At Carmel Country Club on the first Sunday of October through December. October 5, November 2, and December 7. To register click here.



At Birkdale Golf Club for three consecutive Sundays in September. September 7, 14, 21. Click here to register.


To register go to Spaces are limited.

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