Dining Etiquette Mini-series Part 2: Napkin Nuances

Dining Etiquette at Your Fingertips (Literally!)

This week we give you some quick tips on what to do, and NOT to do, with your napkin!

Will using your napkin change your life? I doubt it.  Will not using it make you look less polished and professional? Absolutely!

Entertaining clients?
Being interviewed over a meal?
Going out to a fancy restaurant?

Whether you’re taking clients to your favourite burger joint or the finest four-star restaurant – we have your (Dining Etiquette) back.

Our Dining Etiquette Mini-series will help you avoid (or recover from) disaster, clean up the spilled Pinot, and deal with that pesky fish bone.

Want access to answers anytime? Then we’d love you to join the conversation over at our FB Group: The Snapdragon Society for Polished Professionals and Etiquette Enthusiasts

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Handshakes: They speak volumes, what’s yours saying?

Handshakes been in the news lately, so we though it was time to take a look at what they communicate – and how to make sure yours is the best it can be! 

Here are some quick tips and pointers to ensure that yours is always polished, professional and confident.  Remember to add a smile and eye contact to take your greeting to the next level!

I’d love to hear if you’ve hand any funny, telling, successful or disastrous handshake experiences send us a note.

We’d also love you to join the conversation over at our FB Group: The Snapdragon Society for Polished Professionals and Etiquette Enthusiasts.

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How to ask for a favour

Need to ask someone to do something they don’t necessarily want to do? Try this simple change of language and see what happens.

 

Your Stories
We love hearing from you! If you have a tip, trick or story you’d like to share we would love to hear it.  Send us a note and we’ll include it here.

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Ignore Event Prep: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

Not only does Labour Day signal back-to-school for many, it also signals the start of the autumn event season – possible the busiest season in the calendar.Exhibition floor

If you’re like many people out there, September, October and November can look like one long trip out of the office.  And even though this time of year can be tough to manage (you still need to find time to do your actual job, after all) attending conferences, trade show and meetings can represent a fabulous opportunity to meet new people, connect with customers and create relationships that lead to new business – if you do it right.

So, answer this: once you’ve registered, do you put the event out of your mind until the moment you need to show up? DON’T DO THAT.

Ignoring the event right up until it’s about to happen means that you can lose several valuable opportunities to make the most of the time you will spend there.

DO THIS INSTEAD: Spend a small amount of time to prep ahead of the event.

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Quick win #3: Nail Polish

Nail polish: Tidy it up, or take it off.

This might be one of the quickest wins of them all.  Quick win #3: Nail Polish

If you wear nail polish make sure it’s fresh, tidy and not chipped.  If it’s chipped, either fix it or remove it.

Others notice hands and nails, possibly more than you think, and chipped nail polish never, ever comes across as anything but messy. So, tidy it up or take it off.

Oh, and never, EVER do as a young women who was sitting next to me at a boardroom table did, and that is spend an entire meeting picking off your nail polish. Definitely NOT polished or professional behaviour in the least.

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Your Stories
We’ve all fallen foul of rude or thoughtless behaviour…sometimes it’s even we who have been guilty of it.

If you have a story you’d like to share, please feel free to send me a note and I’ll include it here.

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From Londoner to Torontonian…five years on

London to TorontoFive years ago today I arrived back in Canada, after almost two decades of living in London. Two years ago, I sat in my local Toronto cafe and reflected on my first three years back in Canada.

In that post I wondered what ‘the next three years’ would bring. Well, it’s only been two years and already the business has undergone a massive change: a change of name.

For the first seven years of its life my business was known as MAJ Communications. A name that meant (and still means) the world to me for many reasons, not least because it was a tribute to an incredible individual. However, from the start it proved a barrier when it came to helping others understand what the company did.

I knew, from early on, that a change was needed but it took a long time for me to be ready to make that change, let alone come up with something I wanted to change it to.

This past spring, with new growth sprouting, I had the moment of inspiration I needed and Polished Professionals came into existence.

I truly believe that the new name accurately reflects what I aim to achieve, on every front. Professional, polished behaviour is not about perfection, which is unrealistic (we are human, after all) but rather about having the skills, and understanding, to navigate all situations with grace and aplomb.

Five years on, Toronto continues to present both charms and challenges (don’t get this etiquette expert started on the TTC…) but by far the biggest reward has been the ability to build and grow a business that provides tools, and encompasses philosophies, I believe help everyone, both professionally and socially.

This post would not be complete without an enormous thank you to everyone, on both sides of the Atlantic and both ends of the continent, who has provided friendship, encouragement, support, nagging and love. With the biggest thanks of all to Mum.

I can hardly wait to see what the next five years bring.

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Add Polish to your Conference Experience with our one-day workshop: Conference Confidence
October 5, 2016, Downtown Toronto

Conference season is almost here. Attending events costs us time and money but can provide many great opportunities, as long as we know how to take advantage of them.

Do you and your staff have the confidence and skills to make the most of your investment?

Ours is the only workshop designed specifically to provide the tips, tools and skills your staff need to make the most of attending events.

Click here for more details. If you would like to chat about if this is right for you please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Your Stories
We’ve all fallen foul of rude or thoughtless behaviour…sometimes it’s even we who have been guilty of it.

If you have a story you’d like to share, please feel free to send me a note and I’ll include it here.

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Summer dressing: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

“Summertime, and the livin’ is easy…”Summer dressing: Don't do that. Do this instead.
The rest of this lyric is “Fish are jumpin’, and the cotton is high”**.  And no where is cotton (rayon, spandex, denim…you name it) higher than in summertime.

Before I begin, I would like to make a few things clear:
This is NOT a post about: how you dress for a picnic or a night out.
This IS a post about: our work lives and the perception of professionalism.

Strip down to the ‘bare’ essentials: DON’T DO THAT
When the temperatures and humidity start to soar the temptation to rid ourselves of all (or almost all) our clothes is understandable. The mere idea of being constrained in long sleeves, closed shoes or trousers is enough to make us hot and bothered.  However tempting it is to don your shorts and flip-flops and head to the office, don’t.

DO THIS INSTEAD: Find a balance
I know it can be tricky to find a balance between keeping cool and looking professional but trust me, it’s worth it.

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Overload your ‘To’ address field: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

Too Many Cooks (or in this case, recipients)

Cooks?
What have cooks got to do with anything? What am I talking about? Well, here is what I’m talking about: ‘too many cooks spoil the broth‘.  In essence, this means that if too many people are involved, no one knows who is meant to do what: “have you added the salt, do I need to add the salt? I’ll just throw a little extra in to be safe”.

The same thing happens when you include everyone in the To box when addressing your emails. If you pile everyone into the To box then those you are writing to don’t know what their role is meant to be: are they meant to reply? reply all (this requires a whole post of its own!)? ignore it? wait until someone else replies first? HELP!

Mass all your recipients in the To field: DON’T DO THAT
When you lump everyone in that one box you generally create confusion, and here is what happens (or doesn’t happen) as a result:

  • No one knows who is expected to act
  • No one replies (because they are waiting for someone else to do so)
  • Some people reply, but forget to ‘reply all’, so only you get the information
  • Some people do ‘reply all’ but forget that they are speaking to everyone, and inadvertently cause offense
  • Everyone replies, at the same time, with differing ideas and opinions – leaving you to sort out the ensuing mess

There are other scenarios but we haven’t got the time. So, instead of being the architect of the above (or worse):

DO THIS INSTEAD: Clearly address your emails
The genius of email is that it offers up terrific options to organize your audience. This not only helps you sort out who needs the information but also helps your audience understand their roles. Couple this with a clearly worded email (letting every one know their part) and you will be on to a winner.

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‘Hey!’: Don’t do that. Do this instead.

This article is part of our Don’t do that. Do this instead series.*

HEY!

Relax, it’s 2016
Yes, yes it is, and life is generally less formal than it used to be – which is not necessarily a bad thing. However, there are times when a lack of formality can lead you down a path that impacts your professionalism.

Be fooled into foregoing formalities: DON’T DO THAT
Recently, a short video was doing the social media rounds. It showed a group of young reporters receiving a briefing in the White House press gallery. During their briefing, President Obama made a guest appearance: he sauntered in, relaxed, smiling and carrying his cup of coffee.

When the group was invited to ask questions, one young women started hers with, ‘Hey’.  If you’ve seen the clip, you’ll know that President Obama, ever the diplomat, responded with a smile and a ‘Hey’ in return. HOWEVER, look closely, that smile is one tight smile.  In this situation, some (teeny tiny) leeway would have been granted because of this person’s age and inexperience, and nerves, but it still impacted how he responded.

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