Manners do matter
Good etiquette and social skills are important elements for climbing up the corporate ladder.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Good manners and social etiquette will never go out of style,’ says Tunku Dara. — SIA HONG KIAU/The Star