Mind­ing your man­ners

Car­ry­ing on a fam­ily tra­di­tion of im­part­ing knowl­edge in eti­quette is a French so­cial eti­quette pro­fes­sional.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - People - By WONG LI ZA [email protected]­es­tar.com.my

DID you know that it is eas­ier to sit down grace­fully when you place one foot slightly be­hind the other?

Or that when you leave a room­ful of peo­ple, the last thing that they should see is not your back?

Ask French so­cial eti­quette pro­fes­sional Guil­laume Rué de Ber­nadac and he will gladly tell you why.

Rué de Ber­nadac is the pres­i­dent of the Académie de Ber­nadac, an eti­quette school lo­cated in Shang­hai, China.

The grad­u­ate of the Au­den­cia Busi­ness School in France went to China in 2011 to do an ex­change pro­gramme af­ter com­plet­ing his Mas­ter in Busi­ness.

He stud­ied busi­ness at Tongji Univer­sity in Shang­hai, where he de­vel­oped a pas­sion for China’s age-old cul­ture.

So how did his ca­reer in eti­quette be­gin?

It can be traced back to his grand­mother, who, to­gether with her fa­ther and un­cle, were pri­vate tu­tors at the royal courts of the King of Morocco from the 1920s-1960s, where they taught eti­quette to the king’s chil­dren.

“It was in China that I got the idea to con­tinue my fam­ily tra­di­tion be­cause I was pretty amazed by the dif­fer­ence of be­hav­iour there.

“When I went back to France af­ter China, my grand­mother told me that when she was a young woman in Morocco, peo­ple were also hav­ing ques­tions about how to be­have when they trav­elled abroad.

“So that is how I got the idea to mir­ror what they were do­ing at that time to to­day’s world. I am not teach­ing peo­ple how to be­have like in the 1920s, no, but how to be­have in mod­ern days,” said the well put-to­gether 31-year-old, with a smile.

Af­ter work­ing a few years in the lux­ury goods and beauty sec­tor in Paris, Rué de Ber­nadac re­turned to Shang­hai in 2014 to start the academy.

“The first thing my grand­mother said to me when I told her I wanted to do what she did was, ‘What you need to learn, be­yond knowl­edge, is how to teach it and how to make it (rel­e­vant) to to­day’s world’,” he re­called.

Rué de Ber­nadac sub­se­quently spent one year sur­veythe ing mar­kets in Europe, the

United States and Asia, and what the Chi­nese mar­ket would ex­pect from him and the academy. He then de­vel­oped classes tai­lored for the needs and ex­pec­ta­tions of the Chi­nese.

“In­di­vid­u­als who are keen to learn are al­ways those who of­ten travel abroad and have ex­pe­ri­enced dif­fer­ent cul­tures. They know that they are suc­cess­ful in China but if they want to be suc­cess­ful abroad, they may have to learn other ways of do­ing things.

“What I want is to give them keys (on how to deal with) each sit­u­a­tion, and to never lose face, de­pend­ing on who they meet and the coun­try they are in,” said Rué de Ber­nadac, who speaks French, English, Ger­man and Man­darin.

Hav­ing a pas­sion for Chi­nese cul­ture also gives him a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of his clients.

“I love Chi­nese cul­ture, and gen­er­ally Asian cul­ture, be­cause it’s such an old civil­i­sa­tion and I have been learn­ing a lot from it. I am amazed by mod­ern Chi­nese to­day, who are chang­ing and learn­ing so fast.

“The sim­ple fact that peo­ple in Asia who come to my classes are so will­ing to learn all the tips is al­ready, for me, proof of a great, open mind, and I wish Euro­peans can em­brace this change, too,” he shared.

Why is eti­quette so im­por­tant in to­day’s so­ci­ety and is it still rel­e­vant?

“More than ever. Eti­quette and po­lite­ness make so­cial re­la­tions eas­ier. Eti­quette is to give the best of your­self, to please the other party,” he stressed.

A three-day course en­ti­tled Elite So­cial Eti­quette will be con­ducted by Rué de Ber­nadac from April 27-29, from 10am-6pm at the Sher­a­ton Petaling Jaya Ho­tel. The course is or­gan­ised by Be Divine, a plat­form that pro­vides a series of cour­ses ‘geared to­wards re­fine­ment in women’. Elite So­cial Eti­quette will cover elite busi­ness and so­cial eti­quette, high so­ci­ety din­ing eti­quette, el­e­gant and con­fi­dent de­port­ment, the fun­da­men­tals of wine eti­quette, elite dress codes and make-up, and af­ter­noon tea eti­quette. The course will be con­ducted in English, with Man­darin trans­la­tion. The fee of RM6,800 in­cludes lunch and af­ter­noon tea. For more in­for­ma­tion or reg­is­tra­tion, e-mail [email protected]­di­vinea­sia.com or call Jus­tine at 012-382 5292.

Rué de Ber­nadac says good eti­quette is to give the best of your­self. — IN­TAN SYUHADA/ The Star

Rué de Ber­nadac (right) shar­ing a tip on sit­ting po­si­tions in one of his work­shops. — @Guil­laumeRue

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