Importance of good manners

Etiquette for the Modern Gentleman

This article was originally published in Spanish in the April edition of Gentleman Mexico.

In business as in life we only get one opportunity to make a first impression. This is especially true in today’s fast-paced corporate world where just one inconsiderate or badly worded email could dent your professional reputation.

In recent years, many workplaces have moved towards more relaxed dress codes and a blurring of traditional hierarchies, but this does not mean that the fundamental principles of human interaction have changed. We all want to be acknowledged, respected and accepted by others. Etiquette and good manners are still essential to ensure you leave an impression that is memorable for all the right reasons. At The British School of Etiquette we focus on equipping our clients with the knowledge and confidence to thrive both in their personal and professional lives.

Whether we are working with individuals or corporate organisations, our approach is always the same: helping you to master the rules of etiquette in order to grow and succeed in your chosen field. Perhaps you have been promoted to a new role, which will involve attending formal business lunches, and you want to brush on your fine dining etiquette. Others may lack confidence when it comes to networking and meeting new people or wish to improve their posture and deportment.

Author Pier Forni said that the rules of etiquette are the traffic lights of human interaction. They are there to ensure that we do not crash into one another as we go about our everyday lives. Being a modern gentleman does not mean harking back to a by-gone era when men wore hats and ladies kept their hands covered by white gloves.

Putting courtesy, respect and kindness at the heart of your conduct and behaviour will ensure that you always present the very best version of yourself to the outside world. At the risk of sounding shallow, taking care of your appearance and wearing clothes appropriate for the occasion are also important parts of etiquette. As Tom Ford put it: “Dressing well is a form of good manners.”

It always amazes me how little importance our education system places on so-called “soft skills”. Research consistently shows that as much as 85 per cent of our career success is determined by our ability to communicate effectively with others, work well as part of a team and diffuse difficult situations. Despite this, schools and universities continue to focus almost exclusively on the hard academic skills that may get you through the interviewer’s door but will leave you sorely lacking when it comes to building fruitful and long-lasting relationships with colleagues and clients.

We work with a wide variety of clients from all over the world, ranging from children as young as six to high-flying executives at the pinnacle of their careers. Our training programmes are rooted in the traditional rules of etiquette but the content is constantly adapted to meet the changing needs of a digital world.

The word etiquette may have old-fashioned connotations, but let me assure you, good manners and respect for others will never go out of fashion.

Modern Etiquette in Nutshell:

  • Be punctual
  • Put your phone away
  • Make eye contact and smile
  • Perfect your handshake
  • Do not interrupt
  • Work on your posture
  • Be well dressed at all times
  • Return calls and emails in a timely fashion

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