Copyright Manners Always Matter. All rights reserved.

Are Manners Fading?

What can you do in one minute?  I'll give you a minute to think about it.                             Stop!                            Time is up.  

If one of the items on your list was making a good impression, you get an "A+."  Actually I was generous--many communication and etiquette pros only give you 30 seconds--or less--to make that first impression.  

The next time you are in a store, whether browsing, asking a question or making a purchase, note your first impression of the sales associate, the "look and smell" of the place?  I like to do business with pleasant people in pleasant surroundings who at least look like they enjoy their job, ask how they might assist you rather than announcing how many minutes before quitting time, offer a list of today's specials, refill my water glass before they see me choking, and actually thank me for choosing their business.

Manners (including communication, especially nonverbal behaviors) play a much bigger role in the ink on the bottom line than we often realize.  As a corporate trainer and communication and etiquette coach, I work with companies whose management team gets the message.  Training is an investment. There is a high return on investment made in making sure employees are representing their desire for showing respect to clients and taking care of their needs.  That's the definition of good manners--respect of yourself and others--doing what makes someone feel appreciated.

Fashion, decorating styles, food fads seem to cycle in life.  I'm thinking that might be true of manners.  In my young life manners were in.  They were taught at home and practiced.  In the past decade good manners seem to be fading.  Are they doomed to fade away just like the talk of no longer teaching cursive writing?  Certainly, we need to know how to write!  The pride in writing one's own name is priceless.  Like writing, we can't allow society to drop the ball on teaching good manners.  Good manners stand out--bad manners are like wearing flashing neon lights!.  Etiquette training should be a part of learning along with good grooming habits and good grammar.  From the number of websites and published materials there is plenty of information readily available and more coming every day.  For the techy crowd there are dining apps.  Is it surprising to know etiquette training is one of the fastest growing businesses?

Are there young people in your city who may be missing out on career opportunities because they also missed out on how to behave according to the norms in our society?  Are there adults who can't instill good manners in their children because they too missed out on the fundamentals of good behavior?  Last week I completed my third certification in etiquette training.  One of the questions on the final exam was to write an essay about why and what I wanted to do with the knowledge gained by completing this certification.  I gave myself more than a minute to think about that...actually I took a full 24 hours to play around with how I wanted to answer that question.  In the end, this is what I wrote...

"Observation in corporate offices, workplace environments, and university classrooms confirms the need for etiquette training.  My community has a large population of young adults who miss opportunities from a lack of positive behavior and good manners.  I want to be a catalyst for change through my knowledge of etiquette by recruiting and training a team of volunteers in etiquette instruction to work with community organizations in providing basic awareness in good manners as my contribution to my community."

I intend to do my part to get etiquette back on track.  My community is Memphis, Tennessee.  If there are people living in Memphis reading this blog, I invite you to share your thoughts with me.  Join me in my vision to spread good manners.  If you live in other parts of the country or world, tell me what your community is doing to provide etiquette training and grow good manners.  I'll keep you posted as to what I am doing.  Click here to send me an email