Friday, May 30, 2014

Fun dining!

Imagine: children and adults sitting down to a dining tutorial with a rush of rush (So many forks!) and anxiety (I can't learn all this!)

We know about teaching dining manners—that's part of what we do with our 4,000 Perfectly Polished students each year, and that's part of what we teach the wonderful graduates of The Etiquette & Leadership Institute's Training Certificate Program.

So we feel confidant in saying...check out these fantastic napkins.

These napkins, made by Etsy seller Betsygrace, are an answer to setting a fun and elegant atmosphere. You don't even need to directly address these rules because the students will talk about them at the table. It's a great idea for families and etiquette consultants alike.

We are now preparing for our next round of training, held June 23-27. Come train with us and you'll learn how to use such props in teaching the skills of navigating both professional and social life. If you'd like to attend, please contact us!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Congratulations, graduates!

Congratulations to all graduates, from pre-school to college! 

Graduates: you've probably already sent out your announcements, so remember to keep track of any gifts you receive from family and friends! Thank-you notes are a must, and getting a handwritten card in the mail is a real treat these days. Even the very youngest graduates can send a thank-you note, and if they are unable to write it themselves, perhaps they could draw a picture (parents, feel free to translate).

If you want to give a graduate a present but find yourself economically strapped like so many of us, be sure to give this a read first, and remember it's the thought that counts!

Throwing or attending a graduation party? Have a quick refresher on good RSVP manners before your send out your invites or respond to one!

Just remember the two most important words to get you through the rush of graduation and the celebrations that follow: Thank You. And that goes beyond presents and party hosts—thanks go out to all the teachers for their dedication and commitment; families for supporting their children as they grow; and the community that proves it takes a village.

And thank yourselves and your brilliant minds—you did a lot of work to graduate! Congratulations!

Friday, May 16, 2014

NEW Day 5: Interact!

Happy Day 5 of National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! So far, we’ve covered getting a passport, learning a language, the importance of traveling itself, and respect

We’ll wrap up NEW with one word:


We’ve talked a lot about how to act while traveling abroad, but did you know that you can still be a citizen diplomat even if you never leave the U.S.?

Yes! You can welcome other travelers who are visiting the U.S. Perhaps you could host an international student for a meal…or a year of school. Student exchange programs are plentiful throughout the U.S. Or you could check into your state’s international visitors organizations, which matches adults with international colleagues in their common professions. What do all of these visitors want when they visit the U.S.? Real interactions with real Americans. You can provide these interactions—and make them great ones, leaving your visitors with a positive impression of both you and your country. That’s the power of a good citizen diplomat!

We hope you take the spirit of National Etiquette Week with you throughout the year!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

NEW Day 4: Respect!

Happy Day 4 of National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! We’ve already talked about getting a passport, learning a language, and the fundamental importance of traveling itself…Today, we’re going to talk about…


We encourage you to research your travel destination before you hop on that plane or boat. However, you may not be able to know every custom, etiquette rule, or accepted manners in another country, and that’s OK.

What IS absolutely essential is the respect, curiosity, engagement, and thirst for learning that you bring with you when you travel. Kindness, friendliness, and being interested in others will help transcend any etiquette mistakes or confusion in cultural differences.

So, instead of loudness, self-centeredness, not listening  or watching…we suggest you aim for quiet observance, a willingness to learn from others, and respect. It’s the difference of communicating negative versus positive standards—it’s you being a good citizen diplomat!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

NEW Day 3: Travel!

Happy Day 3 of National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! We’ve already talked about getting a passport and learning a language…Today, we strongly suggest you do one thing.


We especially encourage this of teenagers and young adults. There are many organizations designed to help young people plan international trips; some of them are through religious organizations, and many are through college study abroad programs. You might be able to find scholarship, sponsorship or other financial aid—find a way!

Traveling is a phenomenal and eye-opening education. It will fundamentally enrich your worldview and how you move in the world, both in your hometown and in other countries, now and in your future!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

NEW Day 2: Learn a language!

Happy Day 2 of National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! We’ve already talked about getting a passport…Today, we’re going to encourage you to…

Learn a language.

If you are traveling to another country, make a concerted effort to learn some helpful phrases and make the effort to communicate. It’s true that in most large cities, at least some amount of English is spoken. But what if you travel to a smaller city? Even if you do spend all of your time in an English-speaking space, your effort to learn the local language will speak volumes about your consideration of others, especially while you are a guest.

So, try your best. If you mess up a phrase, just smile and laugh—that’s a language everybody speaks.

Monday, May 12, 2014

NEW Day 1: Passport!

Happy National Etiquette Week: Be a Citizen Diplomat! Let’s kick things off with…

NEW Day 1: Get a Passport

Summer is travel time! Did you know that if you travel, you’re a diplomat by default? That’s right—your actions represent your experiences, values, and hometown. While a public diplomat represents his or her government overseas, being a citizen diplomat simply means that you are engaging in some way with someone outside your own country.

And how do you become a citizen diplomat in the first place? Get a passport! You might think, “Why do that if I don’t have any trips planned?” Well, getting a passport will help you and your family understand a bit about the process of becoming an American citizen. It’s helpful to have a passport on hand for unexpected opportunities. And you’re a lot more likely to make exciting travel plans if you’ve already got your passport!

So, get that passport—and then fill it with stamps from all over the planet.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What's N.E.W. with You?

Next week – May 12-16—is National Etiquette Week! Established in 1997, NEW is an annual event that encourages us to examine the state of civility in the U.S. This year, we look at not just civility here, but also the civility we bring with us when we travel elsewhere…

Because this year’s theme is Be a Citizen Diplomat. 

It’s all about the impact that courtesy, kindness, and good manners have when traveling outside of the U.S. and while interacting with guests visiting our country. (Great timing- May is also Global Civility Awareness Month!)

Check here every day next week, starting Monday, for a new topic that will help you be a fantastic citizen diplomat! In the meantime, we leave you with the following quotes to keep you inspired!

“The work of the citizen diplomacy community is not just a nice thing to do; its repercussions have far-reaching implications. Future global prosperity, peace, and stability are dependent upon increased international cooperation, collaboration, and mutual understanding.”—Jennifer Clinton, President, GlobalTies U.S.

“Civility – though you may live in a different world ideologically, you live in the same world physically.  Play nice.”—ChooseCivility

“I have long believed, as have many before me, that peaceful relations between nations requires understanding and mutual respect between individuals. If only people will get together, then so eventually will nations.”—President Dwight D. Eisenhower

“When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt.”—Henry J. Kaiser

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”—Plato

“Average Americans, in their natural state, are the best ambassadors a country can have.”—Eugene Burdick & William Lederer, authors of The Ugly American
“America’s greatest asset is our citizens. While governmental interventions and assistance are crucial, they leave a lot of room for purposeful citizen diplomats to generate sustainable achievements that result from partnerships built on merit, trust, and mutual interests.”—Benjamin Orbach, Founder & Director, America’sUnofficial Ambassadors

“Be real.  Try to do what you say, say what you mean, and be what you seem.”—Marion Wright Edelman