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Etiquette is a notion of communication, language or laws. It tells us what is appropriate and what is not an appropriate behavior, but it is not a universal code because what is appropriate for one is going to be inappropriate for another. The purpose of etiquette is to regulate social behavior. Most people mistake manner for etiquette but they are different. Manners are the inbuilt way one conduct his/herself in various situation while etiquette is the vocal or physical expression of a set of rule not necessarily imbibed in the person for example, difference between a born gentle man and a groomed gentle man (difference between manners and etiquette, 2015).
Etiquette is required:
- For career success.
- To build leadership quality in one’s self
- To refine skills for exceptional services.
- To enlighten one’s potential.
- To create an impression.
Types of Etiquette
- There are many types of etiquette but these are some of them:
- Social Etiquette; The ability to translate good manners in the social environment. It allows one to put their best foot out when dealing with day to day social activities.
- Business Etiquette; It allows us to interact well in our place of work.
- Telephone Etiquette; It is the way of dealing people politely and efficiently over the phone.
- Email Etiquette; It is the way to properly send email to multiple people (mass email).
- Table Etiquette; These plays an important part in making a good impression (Etiquettes, 2012).
But I will be focusing on social and table etiquette.
Man is a social animal so he or she must follow certain social etiquette that are appreciated by all. Many of us wants to engage in social conversation, but some of us become shy in front of a large group of people. Due to that most of us avoid to make conversation with people. There are two categories of social etiquettes.
- Personal hygiene; like skin, hair, teeth etc.
- Dress code; One should wear the right cloth for a particular occasion.
- Postures; sitting, standing etc.
This consist of:
- Respecting each other space.
- Coming early for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Responsibility (Vijay, 2012).
Some social etiquette rules that helps us to correct our communication and our behavior in general;
- Say “excuse me’’; it is the polite thing to do when you bump into someone even though you not the one to blame.
- Say “please” and “thank you’; Especially to those closest to you.
- Hold the door for the person behind you; And if someone does the same, always say thank you.
- Look at the person who is speaking to you; do not look at your cell phone or somewhere else, when someone is speaking to you.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow; To avoid spreading flu.
- Put your cell phone away during meals.
- Shake hands firmly; And stand and make eye contact when you do it.
- Wash your hands after using the bath room.
- Wait a day before reacting to a cranky email or text.
- Push your chair in when you leave a table.
- Ask before bringing a guest.
- Wait till everyone has been served to start eating.
- Stay home when you are sick; Somethings like your cold, should not be shared.
- Knock before you enter any room.
- Do not groom yourself in public; For example, flossing your teeth and combing of hair should be done at home.
- Learn to say you are sorry.
- When you enter a room greet everyone; No one likes to be ignored (Sansone, 2019).
Social etiquette is important because it create an impression about your personality and that affect the perception and treatment of other people towards you (sushant, 2011).
Basic dining table etiquette everyone should follow;
- Your mouth should be kept closed while eating.
- If your eating utensils fall off the table, do not pick it up but rather, request a new one from the waiter or waitress.
- Keep your mobile phone away from the table.
- Do not drink any fluids while chewing your food.
- Do not place your elbows on the table.
- Do not lick your spoon or plate.
- Do not slurp your food but rather, use a soup spoon to take spoons (Vijay, 2012) (Lohia, 2017).
- For family style meals, pass the dishes to your right. This does not prevent you from passing a dish to the person on your left.
- Do not spread butter on the whole slice of bread that you have chosen. Break a small bite sized piece, butter it, and then eat it.
- Do not blow on hot food, especially soups as they could splash onto your companions. Wit for the food to cool down.
- When someone offers a toast to you, do not drink to yourself (Table Manner Tips, n.d.)
- When invited for a dinner, you should take into account the level of formality and match your manners to the formality level, whether formal or informal.
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