Man­ners do mat­ter

Good eti­quette and so­cial skills are im­por­tant el­e­ments for climb­ing up the cor­po­rate ladder.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Living - By SHEELA CHAN­DRAN star2@ thes­tar.com.my

IN spy-ac­tion com­edy movie Kings­man, there is a scene where a group of row­dies sneer at se­cret agent Harry Hart (Colin Firth) in a pub. The smartly dressed spy keeps his cool and men­tions the proverb, “Man­ners maketh man.” Be­fore they know it, Hart gives a les­son in man­ners (a bash­ing up, that is) that they will never for­get.

Re­gard­less of how wealthy, suc­cess­ful or at­trac­tive a per­son can be, no one will con­sider them ad­mirable if they lack so­cial skills and eti­quette. Amer­i­can eti­quette writer Emily Post says: “Noth­ing is less im­por­tant than which fork you use. Eti­quette is the sci­ence of liv­ing. It em­braces ev­ery­thing. It is ethics. It is hon­our.”

“Good grace, po­lite­ness and man­ners will never go out of style. It is im­por­tant to have good so­cial eti­quette as it shows re­spect that one has for another,” said Tunku Dara Tunku Tan Sri Naquiah Al­marhum Tuanku Ja’afar in an in­ter­view re­cently.

Tunku Dara is no stranger to eti­quette train­ing or the coun­try’s royal and so­cial scene. She es­tab­lished a fin­ish­ing school in Kuala Lumpur and is ac­tively in­volved in the Kuala Lumpur Speaker’s Club, which she helped found in 1970. She is also pres­i­dent of the or­gan­i­sa­tion.

On Aug 26 and 27, she is pre­sent­ing Eti­quette For To­day, a train­ing work­shop on so­cial eti­quette, for­mal din­ing and per­sonal groom­ing. The course is tar­geted at cor­po­rate fig­ures, di­vi­sional heads, pub­lic re­la­tions’ prac­ti­tion­ers and those want­ing to im­prove their so­cial graces.

Dur­ing the two-day course, the groom­ing spe­cial­ist will share im­por­tant so­cial skills to en­hance one’s so­cial im­age. This, in turn, can boost their cor­po­rate im­age and help them climb the so­cial and busi­ness lad­ders.

“Whether in a meet­ing, on a busi­ness/ so­cial trip or at a so­cial event, per­sonal skills can make or break re­la­tion­ships. An in­di­vid­ual’s pro­fes­sional suc­cess hinges on how well he or she can build strong re­la­tion­ships. When an in­di­vid­ual is suc­cess­ful, their or­gan­i­sa­tion suc­ceeds too,” said the Ne­gri Sem­bi­lan roy­alty.

She ex­plained that com­pe­ti­tion for ac­cep­tance into good jobs have be­come tougher. Those who pos­sess so­cial skills will stand out and have a big leg up on their peers.

“It is vi­tal to re­spect and value oth­ers. On a cor­po­rate front, equip­ping teams with busi­ness eti­quette skills helps to present a first-class im­age of the com­pany. Whether one is a cor­po­rate leader or want­ing to learn so­cial eti­quette, this work­shop can arm him with nec­es­sary knowl­edge.”

If you find yourself tongue-tied when it comes to so­cial con­ver­sa­tions, fret not. Dur­ing the ses­sion Pro­to­col, Rep­re­sent­ing Your Com­pany, So­cial And Busi­ness Con­ver­sa­tion Do’s & Don’ts, Tunku Dara ex­plains how to make small talk and keep the con­ver­sa­tion go­ing with­out of­fend­ing oth­ers.

“Peo­ple have their own per­sonal views so don’t touch on things that could be sen­si­tive. Par­tic­i­pants will learn the art of so­cial con­ver­sa­tion and ways to put oth­ers at ease. Learn how to start con­ver­sa­tion, how to be a good lis­tener and speaker.”

There’s also a per­sonal groom­ing ses­sion where Tunku Dara teaches how to dress for pro­fes­sional and per­sonal suc­cess. Learn what to wear, es­pe­cially for work, for­mal func­tions and ca­sual wear.

“If you’re go­ing for a tra­di­tional func­tion, avoid dress­ing like you’re go­ing to a night club. The same ap­plies if you’re at­tend­ing a wed­ding where ca­sual clothes are deemed as in­ap­pro­pri­ate.”

Ta­ble man­ners are equally im­por­tant in mak­ing a favourable im­pres­sion. Dur­ing the ses­sion Ta­ble Ar­range­ment, she en­light­ens par­tic­i­pants on for­mal din­ing prac­tices. Get to know how to leave your knife and fork on your plate when tak­ing a break or af­ter fin­ish­ing a meal.

She ob­serves that tech­nol­ogy has made peo­ple more dis­tracted and lack­ing so­cial skills. In Tunku Dara’s eyes, talk­ing loudly on cell­phones and an­swer­ing phones dur­ing a meal are ex­am­ples of man­ners gone wrong.

“Dur­ing ca­sual din­ners, peo­ple are en­grossed with their smart phones in­stead of the com­pany they are with. Even at for­mal events, peo­ple are of­ten dis­tracted, tex­ting and check­ing their sta­tus up­dates on so­cial me­dia.”

Eti­quette For To­day will be held on Aug 26-27 at Sime Darby Con­ven­tion Cen­tre in Kuala Lumpur. Time: 10am-4pm. Ad­mis­sion: RM950 (RM850 for first 50 tick­ets). For more de­tails, call 012485 1610 or e-mail: the­cir­clekl@gmail.com.

‘Good man­ners and so­cial eti­quette will never go out of style,’ says Tunku Dara. — SIA HONG KIAU/The Star

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