The Etiquette Project

Frequently Asked Questions

What is etiquette and why do I need it?

Etiquette is defined as a set of agreed-upon social customs designed to make those around you feel comfortable. It is based on the premise that in our interactions we should always be mindful of others. It is the backbone of polite society, equips one with the tools one needs for any situation, and frees us from worry so that we may be at our best. Respect for others and common sense are at the root of all etiquette guidelines.

Think of the last person you met, socially or professionally, who really made an impression on you. Chances are that person was engaging, polite, and made you feel good during your interaction. This is etiquette at work.

If nothing else, it makes you appear well-bred and educated and prepares you for every situation.

For more on etiquette's benefits for you and society, see our special section on etiquette.

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Isn't much of that stuff outdated?

Good social customs are timeless. No one has ever said "I wish people were more rude," or "I wish I felt more uncomfortable here." While indeed certain gestures or phrases may be outdated, there are more modern versions of the same expressions, and the intent or sentiment remains the same.

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Aren't there different types of etiquette for different occasions?

Good etiquette applies to all situations. There are indeed situations which will call for greater detail or more specific customs. Ours is based on traditional British-American etiquette. Our All-Occasion course comprehensively covers most situations. For more detail in specific settings we have specialized courses as well.

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I am an easy going guy. I can't see myself doing and saying prissy and uptight things.
I want to just relax in social situations.

There is nothing "uptight" or "prissy" about etiquette. In fact, knowing how to respond appropriately in different situations actually frees up the individual to relax, taking the guesswork out of social and professional interactions. It is not a substitute for individual personalities.

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I live in a big city. Subtlety won't help me.
I need to be "out there" letting people know about myself and qualifications.

Again, etiquette is not meant to subdue you or limit your expressiveness. Etiquette will guide you through situations regardless of your objectives. If anything, communicating about yourself in a confident and polite matter will only help distinguish you.

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Which sources do you use?

We base our instruction on years of experience as well as numerous reference sources. Read more on our qualifications.

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My parents taught me the please and thank you and the firm handshake and eye contact.
Isn't that enough?

While that is a start, it is certainly not enough to get you through an entire evening of cocktails and dinner at a boss' home, meeting a fiancée's parents, entertaining clients from out of town, or handling a delicate situation with an in-law or an ex-spouse.

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What is covered in your coursework?

Our courses are the most extensive offered for either on-line or seminars. For more detail on the contents of each course, please click here.
See what other customers have said.

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Are table manners covered? I've got a lot to learn in that.

Absolutely. You will be ready for any dining situation.

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I am a young professional. How will your Professionals/Executives course help me?

The business world is more competitive than ever. Whether you work for a large or small corporation or are self-employed, whether you are a long time executive or just starting out, how you conduct yourself with peers, superiors, those working for you, potential and existing customers can make or break your success. Our courses provide you with the information you need for every situation.

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Isn't etiquette a thing of the rich?

As we all know, money doesn't buy manners, education or breeding. An educated demeanor, graciousness and style are developed and cultivated in one's home and surroundings. Etiquette will provide you with "that certain something" that sets you apart from the rest. See what one of our students said on this subject.

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How can this help my corporation?

Etiquette traditionally was the backbone of all professional and social interactions. Its loss in our society has impacted corporations by increasing social problems in the workplace and the degradation of attentiveness towards customers. Whether workplace ethics, customer attentiveness, or social skills for managers, all corporations can benefit from etiquette programs. A more harmonious workplace and a more satisfied customer are sure results of etiquette training in the workplace.

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