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Not your grandmother’s etiquette

Hello and welcome to the Clise Etiquette blog, a place to discuss savvy and not so savvy decorum. Etiquette may sound like a stuffy or old fashioned topic, but it’s really just about making yourself and others more comfortable and successful by being respectful, kind and professional.

I am an etiquette consultant, speaker, trainer, coach and author of Spinach in Your Boss’s Teeth: Essential Etiquette for Professional Success. I share etiquette and protocol tips, stories and techniques that you can use to feel more confident, at ease and successful in the workplace and socially.

I invite you to share your thoughts and questions on the situations in life that confuse you, anger you, give you pause or make you proud. Please feel free to let me know if there are topics you’d like me to discuss or hear more about. Some of my best posts come from questions or stories readers share with me.

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What George Washington knew about etiquette

The concept of etiquette and civility has been around for a very long time. I recently finished a novel called “Rules of Civility” that included mention of George Washington’s Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour in Company and Conversation. Apparently, at age 16, young George (yes, eventual first president of the United States) copied by hand for a penmanship exercise 110 rules of civility written by French Jesuits in 1590. Those rules were then made into a book by Mr. Washington. Continue reading “What George Washington knew about etiquette” »

Why brainstorming meetings rarely work

Meetings are conducted for a variety of reasons – decision making, company or department updates, project updates, brainstorming and more. One of the more challenging or difficult meetings to conduct effectively is a brainstorming meeting. It sounds like a great idea, but too often the meetings are run in a way that people don’t feel free to share their ideas. You’ve probably attended these meetings. You’re told it’s a brainstorming meeting and “no idea is a bad idea,” but after sharing a thought someone says, “That would never work.” Or “We can’t afford that.” In other words, the “No idea is a bad idea” premise is just lip service. Continue reading “Why brainstorming meetings rarely work” »

Eeek, there’s a bug in my borscht! Answers to common etiquette dilemmas

I first had the thought of teaching etiquette classes when I worked for Washington Mutual. My job at the time was managing sponsorships for non-profit events like breakfasts and lunches. Because the company often received a table at these events I had to fill them with willing WaMu employees. Not always an easy job. Inevitably, there would be a few people at the table who would look panicked at the multitude of utensils, plates and glasses. They weren’t sure which bread plate and glasses belonged to them at the crowded tables or which utensil to use first. I always felt badly for them. I knew if they learned a couple of etiquette tips they could feel more confident and would never be panicked again.

Continue reading “Eeek, there’s a bug in my borscht! Answers to common etiquette dilemmas” »

Are you guilty of any of these six speaking sins?

The success of your presentation will be judged not by the knowledge you send but by what the listener receives.

– Lilly Walters

Have you ever sat through a really bad presentation? Maybe the speaker rambled on and on and didn’t seem to have a clear direction. Or perhaps the presenter allowed an audience member to hijack the presentation. It can be really difficult to sit through a bad speech. To keep from being that speaker avoid these six speaking no nos. Continue reading “Are you guilty of any of these six speaking sins?” »

How to recover from a major mistake

Have you ever made a cringe worthy mistake? One that ruins not just your day but the week or weeks following? One where you can’t stop obsessing about your failings? Yes? You’re not alone.

I made a big mistake last year. A mistake that I was so embarrassed about I couldn’t talk about it to anyone except my husband and one friend. I had a huge amount of shame around my blunder. But with time, distance and overcoming my gaffe I’m now ready to talk about it and share the lessons learned. Continue reading “How to recover from a major mistake” »

The year of kindness: Join me on a kindness journey

Kindness is showing love to someone else. I believe that kindness is the cure for violence and hatred around the world.

Lady Gaga

The January 1st Parade magazine edition had an article about making 2017 the year of being kind and included the lovely quote above by Lady Gaga. According to the article, studies have shown that being kind has many benefits not only for the receiver but the giver as well. When you are kind to others it lights up your brain’s reward center. Hospital patients who are treated with kindness and compassion have less pain, anxiety and shorter hospital visits. And conversely, kind doctors are less tired and are more engaged. Neighbors who are social and help each other have tighter knit neighborhoods and are less isolated. Kids who exhibit emotional intelligence, which includes kindness, are shown to have more success in life. Continue reading “The year of kindness: Join me on a kindness journey” »

Online Etiquette: Make Sure Your Child Knows What It Means to be a Cyber Bully

Contribution from Jenny Holt, a freelance writer for several health magazines.

Gone are the days of a single school bully extorting lunch money in the schoolyard. Bullying is no longer confined to school or even physical interactions. Kids have constant access to technology, which has also become a new playground for bullies. Continue reading “Online Etiquette: Make Sure Your Child Knows What It Means to be a Cyber Bully” »

Don’t ask these 8 questions: Conversation dos and don’ts

“Where do you live?” I asked the man sitting at the table at which I was seated. He stated a neighborhood I hadn’t heard of so I said, “Oh, I’ve never heard of that neighborhood. Where is that?” As he revealed where he lived and the entire table listened I realized it was the wrong question to ask. He was obviously embarrassed by the neighborhood he lives in. The event I was attending as the speaker was held at an upscale Seattle club where one’s address is very important. I should have realized this when I asked that seemingly innocuous question. Further proof that this etiquette consultant is not perfect. Continue reading “Don’t ask these 8 questions: Conversation dos and don’ts” »

Going up, going down, going round & round: Elevator, escalator and revolving door etiquette

revolving_doorMy friend got into the revolving door of his office building and was moving forward when, bam, the door suddenly stopped. He hit the glass front with his head and his glasses cut his face. What the heck just happened my friend wondered? Turns out a young man had jumped into the same compartment as my friend and caught his foot on the door causing it to stop suddenly. My friend, in a moment of frustration, sternly stated to the young man, “It’s really not that hard – one person to a compartment!” Continue reading “Going up, going down, going round & round: Elevator, escalator and revolving door etiquette” »

Thanksgiving (and other meals) dos and don’ts

turkeyCan you hear it? It’s the sound of busy hosts shopping, prepping and cooking Thanksgiving dinner. I’m thankful my sister is one of those hosts. She usually hosts Thanksgiving because she has the bigger house and bigger family. The rest of us get to enjoy the gourmet bounty and family gathering in exchange for bringing a dish or two. Lucky us.

Whether you’re hosting or attending the Thanksgiving gathering this year you may be challenged by a few etiquette dilemmas. Let me answer some of the common etiquette dilemmas that apply especially to the holidays but that are also useful for other gatherings. Continue reading “Thanksgiving (and other meals) dos and don’ts” »