By Colleen Harding
It’s an odd question because, at first, you think the answer would be, “Of course!” Then, you think, “Well maybe, but …”
… Where are people using proper protocol? Who is using proper manners? Who’s teaching etiquette and to whom? Does it really matter if others are not using any manners? Is it a thing of the past? Does it really matter if we use proper manners in restaurants or at someone’s home if others are not using good manners? Is it really important that we hold a door for someone when entering a building or put our napkin on our lap? Does anyone really care about being polite to one another when we are in a hurry to get somewhere?
It is easier to shine in a jar of dull pennies. What this means is that it is much easier to look polished when others are not. Sitting across from someone that is not using good table manners does not give you a pass on using the skills. In fact, when we are surrounded by individuals who are not practicing good social skills, it is an excellent opportunity to look very, very good with very little effort.
If given the choice, I would much prefer to be viewed as poised and polished rather than tattered and tacky. It may sound a bit harsh and perhaps effected, but the fact of the matter is that perception is reality. The person to take the time to care about how they are viewed and perceived will always look better than the person who doesn’t.
Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. Her website address is www.clevelandschoolofetiquette.com.