“Keep off the grass”

This month’s guest blogger is Jan West Tardy, a Consult P3 faculty member and founder of Tardy and Associates.  Jan is a certified etiquette and protocol trainer. She is certified by The Protocol School of Washington, a leader in the field of etiquette and protocol training. Jan’s programs include business protocol, public speaking, business etiquette, and general health.

According to Dorothea Johnson, Founder of the Protocol School of Washington, etiquette once meant “keep off the grass”. When Louis XIV’s gardener at Versailles wanted to keep people out of his gardens, he put up signs, or ‘etiquets’, to keep them off.

In the present, we think of etiquette as rules reflecting an underlying ethical code, or the written and unwritten rules of conduct in social and business settings.

When I ventured into the world of etiquette training, I was determined to learn all the “rules” I could to teach people so that they could feel comfortable in any situation. This included how to eat properly, how to meet and greet at business functions, give a proper handshake, how to dress to impress, etc. What I discovered is that etiquette is more than rules and sharpening your skills. It is about how we treat one another and the benefits of changing the way you interact. My goal became to create a more civil world, one person at a time.

The following are my own rules of etiquette, I hope they help.

  1. Believe in a higher power. When we accept the fact that we are loved unconditionally, it allows us to be kinder and gentler.
  2. Be grateful. If you are grateful for the many blessings you have in your life, and you take the time to count and acknowledge them, abundant blessings follow. Keep a gratitude journal and write in it ONLY about things for which you are grateful. It will be life changing.
  3. Learn the value of a smile. Smile at people and find ways to sincerely compliment them and you will find friends everywhere you go. Try it; smile at 20 people today and say something nice to as many people as possible, see what it does for your day and theirs.
  4. Understand the power in a handshake. A great handshake says you are confident and offers a good beginning to any relationship. Women need a great handshake as much as men do.
  5. Listen. When you listen to someone you make them feel important. The best thing you can do for someone else is to make them feel special. If you are ‘interested’ instead of ‘interesting’ people will gravitate to you.
  6. Use the magic words. “Please” and “Thank You” are universally understood. Each holds tremendous power when said with sincerity.
  7. Learn proper table manners. It will give you confidence in any dining situation and will leave you free to enjoy the meal and your companions. If you have children, teach them.
  8. Be enthusiastic. We all want to be around people with energy and enthusiasm. It is contagious and makes life more fun.

So, be kind to one another. Believe in goodness. Make someone feel blessed to know you. Mind your manners. Smile. Create a more civil world…one person at a time.

Oh, and, keep off the grass.