I just completed the Emily Post Institute Train the Trainer course for Business Etiquette. Now imagine me saying that on a date, or a first meeting with someone.  The first reaction is usually an immediate back straightening (like a instant shot of heavy starch) and comment like “Oh … I’m sure I’m using the wrong fork.” Or “Oh wow … I’m sure I’m doing sorts of things wrong.”

At which I wave my hand and tell them not to worry.  First of all, I don’t carry around a grade book, and that there is a time and place for everything.

I find most people have an immediate lack of confidence when manners, etiquette or civility is mentioned.  That is a shame considering most people behave well enough.  Etiquette isn’t about a big set of rules, forks and RSVPs. It’s about how you act to build relationships.

In fact, the great Ms. Emily Post said it best herself. “Whenever two people come together and their behavior affects one other, you have etiquette … Etiquette is not some rigid code of manners. It’s simply how a persons’ lives touch one another.”