Draw­ing at­ten­tion for the right rea­sons

Friday - - Society -

con­trol them,” he ex­plains. “Look them in the eye! Don’t look down at their shoes, over their shoul­der, or at the door to see who else is ar­riv­ing.” He points out the palm should face in­wards, to the left and not be fac­ing down. Also, two firm pumps will do. “In parts of Asia and in the Mid­dle East, the hand­shake will go on for much longer. In­Western so­ci­ety we only make brief con­tact,” he says. And never shake hands across a bar­rier – like a desk: “It shows a cer­tain lazi­ness and lack of con­sid­er­a­tion.

“A per­son is judged within the first seven sec­onds of meet­ing, and a hand­shake may be all that you have to go by. You have to ex­press your con­fi­dence through it.” In­tro­duc­tions them­selves are also im­por­tant. “Men should al­ways be in­tro­duced to women, but ju­niors to se­niors, re­gard­less of gen­der,” he says. So, how do you re­spond when in­tro­duced to some­body? “You say ‘How do you do?’,” says Wil­liam. “Don’t say ‘Pleased to meet you’, be­cause you don’t know if you are go­ing to be pleased to meet him! And give your full name, not just first name.”

He in­sists every­body should carry their busi­ness cards in a holder (“No­body wants to be given a tatty busi­ness card”), and shows us the right way to present a card – the let­ters fac­ing the taker, prof­fered in your right hand – “though in the East it is done with both palms.”

In­tro­duc­tions sorted, Wil­liam moves on to his pet peeve: mo­bile phone man­ners. “You may think show­ing off your four mo­bile phones makes you look im­por­tant, but for slightly more evolved hu­man be­ings it is ac­tu­ally in­cred­i­bly rude… When you are hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion, the mo­bile phone should be out of sight. Just put it away. Switch it off dur­ing meet­ings. Don’t text while talk­ing to some­one else. Cer­tainly don’t an­swer the phone while din­ing with oth­ers.

“If for some ur­gent rea­son you have to keep it on, in­form your host or part­ners about it be­fore the meet­ing or party be­gins and ex­cuse your­self when you re­ceive your im­por­tant call.”

Hav­ing cov­ered the ba­sics, Wil­liam de­cided we were ready for more in­tense so­cial ed­u­ca­tion – throw­ing a din­ner party, set­ting a ta­ble and ev­ery­thing that goes with it. Out came his set of din­ner plates and glasses. Forks were an ed­u­ca­tion in them­selves – sep­a­rate ones for din­ner, lunch, dessert and fish.

This was just one part of a mine­field of man­ners Wil­liam would touch on. Even­tu­ally, see­ing most of us over­whelmed, he re­minded us why we were all there. “Rules of eti­quette ex­ist, af­ter all, so that we can show re­spect and cour­tesy to our fel­low hu­man be­ings,” he said. “And re­ally, in this day and age, when one won­ders if man­ners are taught in the home at all, hav­ing lovely man­ners sets one apart from the crowd in a most pos­i­tive way – par­tic­u­larly when man­nerly con­duct comes nat­u­rally, rather than forced.”

So, how do man­ners come nat­u­rally? “Though con­stant prac­tice, of course!”

sthekkepat@gulfnews.com @Shiva_fri­day

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