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Social Etiquette

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Dr. Algirdas Makarevicius

How do I introduce people?

I always remember to introduce the person of lesser importance to the person of higher importance. How one decides on importance is totally left to one’s discretion, but here are a few guidelines that could ease the matter.

• It is rank, not gender that is important in a business setting.
• Age, experience, job level and public recognition are the key factors while determining importance. So, introduce a younger person to an older person, a co-worker to boss, boss to a client (the client ranks higher in importance than anyone else in the company!) and lay person to an official.
• Whilst being introduced, stand up, or at least make an attempt to rise. Smile and greet the person before shaking hands.

How do I make my presence felt?

Attending a business/social event is just 80 per cent of the job done. The rest of the 20 per cent involves singing for your supper, i.e. contributing to the event in the most positive manner!

• Be prepared: Get information about your sponsors/hosts or fellow guests before the event. You need to present yourself and your business organization in the most professional manner.
• Make your presence known to your hosts and to peer.
• Circulate and meet as many people as possible. This is not the time for you to stand on formalities and wait to be introduced, nor is this the place for you to slink into a corner with an old acquaintance.

Avoid making a beeline for the buffet or bar. It’s not easy to eat and make conversation at the same time, and there’s nothing worse than waking up in the morning and realising that last evening’s alcohol-induced wit was just hot air!

Go On, Introduce Yourself

Picture this. You’re at a party where you don’t know a soul. The set is hobnobbing and you’re watching all the action. You ask yourself if you should be walking up to complete strangers and introducing yourself and the truth is yes. It can be intimidating but then, the corporate world is not one for the faint of heart. Make your presence felt by introducing yourself.

• Take the initiative at a cocktail party or a large gathering where the host maybe too busy to do the honours. At a meeting or at the dinning table, you could be the first to start the introductions. In case someone is already doing this and forgets your name or to introduce you, just volunteer the information yourself!
• Remember to give your full name when introducing yourself.
• Provide some information about yourself and avoid the honorific. So, while it is not quite alright for you to say you are ‘Dr. Rahul George’ go right ahead and say ‘Hello, I’m Rahul George. I specialize in treating phobias in children.’

Be Sensitive To The Disabled

We may ooze confidence in the boardroom or while meeting a new client and even while telling a lie. But most of us feel awkward while interacting with people who may be physically or even mentally challenged.

• It is important that we learn to be sensitive to their condition while striking a balance between rushing to help, and pretending that the disability doesn't exist. A small tip-- absorb the person and not the disability.
• You can also keep these pointers in mind during your interactions:
• Before offering help, ask. If your offer is refused, don't insist.
• Don't substitute volume for slower or clearer speech.
• Keep away from external aids like a guide dogs, wheelchairs, cane, or crutches, unless you have been specifically asked to help with it.
• Don't identify people by their disabilities. Manish is “Manish” and NOT “Manish, the deaf and dumb guy”.
• A physical impairment is distinctly different from a mental one, so pay attention to what the disability.

Be Sensitive Whilst Smoking

Smoking, once considered the symbol of being ‘cool’, is today, a sign that you are uncaring not only of your own health, but also of the effect of your toxic fumes on others! If you have to smoke, remember to check for no smoking signs, and to ask those sitting in close proximity to you if they mind, before you light up

• In an office, ‘no smoking’ is often an unwritten code. Be considerate of others. Those in cubicles next to you should not have to be subjected to your second hand smoke. Even if you are lucky enough to have your own cabin, give a thought to your visitors, and open a window occasionally to clear the haze.
• When in someone’s home, look out for ashtrays. If they are absent, it’s a clear indication that smoking is not welcome there. Don’t embarrass your host by asking whether they mind if you smoke, and don’t cloud up the bathroom by smoking in there. Go out into a balcony or garden.
• If you are a non-smoker, don’t react violently to someone who lights up in your vicinity. Ask them politely to put out their cigarette. There are very few who will not oblige, or at least move away from you.

party etiquette

The festive season is the time to unwind, meet with business associates outside of office, get together with friends, and celebrate. Surprisingly, this is also a time when people are so stressed out, they don’t enjoy the get-togethers, and festivities. Here are some tips that will help you get over the holiday-entertainment blues.

• Plan your parties, and send the invitations well in advance. With so many events happening, your guests will appreciate having enough notice to plan their evenings.
• Send in your RSVPs within three days of receiving the invitation. If you promise to attend, do attend.
• Never ever foist extra guests onto your unsuspecting hosts.
• Cramming too many events into too little time is a major contributor to stress. Prioritise; plan your evenings realistically.
• Exercise restraint with alcohol, off-colour humour, gossip, and physical demonstrations of appreciation.

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