Where do I put my name tag and lapel pin?

conference-organizers-suck-at-name-tagsDear Ms. Corporate Manners,
I wear a lapel pin and then put a name tag on at networking events. I never know which side to wear them. Any advice?
Don’t Have a Clue


Ms.MannersDear Clueless,
Place your name tag above the pocket on the right side of your shirt, blouse or blazer. That way people can make direct eye contact with you and your name will be in their direct line of sight when you shake hands. The theory is the eye travels up the right arm and focuses on the name tag attached to the right shoulder. Wear your lapel pin on the left side of your jacket. According to the United States Flag Code, an American flag pin represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing. Therefore, it is worn near the heart. Happy mingling!
Ms. Corporate Manners

Be tweet

LogoDear readers,
What if your company is hosting a corporate event in one of your nicest conference rooms? All your customers are there and even people who heard about it and are there for liquor or free food. Everyone wants to network. Instead of going around the room having great conversations to build your business, you stand in a corner, avoid looking anyone in the eye, ignore everyone’s presence, and just start talking to yourself – about yourself.

Who would act like that in real life? Don’t be that way with social media either. Be tweet, remember basic etiquette. Social media is not about talking about yourself all the time. It’s about connecting with potential and real customers as well as other friends. And, like in real life, you need to listen twice as much as you talk. As my mother used to say, that’s why we are born with two ears but only one mouth!

Happy tweets,
Ms. Corporate Manners

© Penny Aviotti and Ms.Corporate Manners 2003 – 2018.

Seven secrets for a great handshake

Ms.MannersDear Ms Corporate Manners,
Is it proper for a woman to have a terribly strong handshake? I recently met someone and we shook hands. Boy, did I regret that as soon as it happened. She squeezed my hand so hard that it still hurt even after she left. A few other women in my area met her as well and experienced the same thing. Should I have addressed my concern with the “new friend” or just let it go?
Ouch! Nice to meet you

Dear Ouch,
Some women have weak handshakes, and maybe she accidentally over-compensated, so I would “let it go.” I teach an entire class on how to shake hands because people judge us by our handshakes, and we unconsciously judge others by their handshakes.

Here are seven things to remember when you shake hands:

  1. The person who extends a hand first has the advantage of taking the initiative and establishing control.
  2.  Since you need to leave your right hand free for the shake, in a social situation, it’s a good idea to hold your beverage in your left hand to avoid shaking with a cold right hand.
  3. Stand up straight, smile, and make friendly, direct eye contact.
  4.  Extend your hand with the thumb up and fingers out. Meet the person’s grip web-to-web.
  5. Shake from the elbow, not the wrist or shoulder.
  6. Shake hands crisply, firmly, with two smooth pumps before releasing the hand.
  7. Remember to make sure every meeting, business or social, begins and ends with a handshake.

Ms. Corporate Manners

© Penny Aviotti and Ms.Corporate Manners 2003 – 2018.

The “poop” on texting on the toilet

Ms.MannersDear Ms. Corp. Manners,
It seems that every time I go into the bathroom now, someone in the other stall is texting on a cell phone (or on occasion TALKING!) I find this disturbing and unsanitary, to say the least. Aren’t bathrooms considered part of the workplace environment where cell phones are not allowed?
Potty in Peace 

Dear Potty,
A recent study says that 75 percent of Americans admit to using their smartphones while on the toilet. In a survey of of 1,000 people, the marketing agency 11mark found toilet texting, shopping or surfing the Web is particularly popular among 28 to 35-years-old, with a reported 91 percent of that age group admitting to the habit. Among those 65 and older, however, only 47 percent admitted to using their mobile devices on the toilet.

Yes, toilet texters are incredibly annoying. (Can you imagine being on the other end of THOSE calls?) But we can’t control other people’s behavior, only our own. Mind your own (toilet) manners. Think kind thoughts as you go about your own (toilet) business. And remember, earplugs cover a multitude of sins.
Ms. Corporate Manners

© Penny Aviotti and Ms.Corporate Manners 2003 – 2018.


Do political discussions give you “foot-in-mouth disease?”

Ms.MannersI am both fascinated and appalled by today’s politics. Like watching a train wreck, I am glued to news shows that upset me and political subjects I’ve formerly considered taboo. “Never discuss politics or religion” is great advice, but with today’s upcoming election, that suggestion has gone by the wayside. Talk politics, but keep it polite.

You do want to avoid expressing personal opinions on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. According to a recent Intel Mobile Etiquette study on mobile etiquette and digital sharing, 90 percent of U.S. adults think others share too much information online and 39 percent say they choose not to associate with people with whom they disagree on political opinions.

A polite political discussion is in a respectful, two-way conversation. Let the other person state his or her opinion without interrupting. Ask questions, listen to learn and understand, and you may find yourself actually enjoying another perspective. If the conversation starts to get heated, don’t resort to name calling or shaming. Maintain control by keeping your own voice low and your tone nonthreatening. If all else fails, smile and say, “Well, I enjoy your perspective, but we obviously don’t agree and are not going to change each others’ minds, so let’s change the subject instead.” 

Ms. Politically Incorrect Corporate Manners

Hats Off to Barrie Wurzburg and the Women’s Foundation

Ms.MannersGood things are rarely accomplished alone. Tonight Barrie Wurzburg kicked off the 2016 Modern Day Woman’s Conference at Joseph this evening.  The conference was orchestrated by the Women’s Foundation of Memphis and will continue tomorrow at Baptist Memphis Education Center, Garrett Auditorium. Barrie is a third-generation entrepreneur of a family-owned business that sells designer shoes, handbags and jewelry, and just one of the many women from diverse professional sectors that will share their wisdom on topics ranging from women’s health and wellness to career development and leadership. More importantly, other women like Barrie will share real-world experience with younger women, and hopefully, mentor-mentoee relationships will form. This is just one of many great things going on in Memphis.


Podcast with Career Coach Angela Copeland

My first podcast is now live. You can listen to it on iTunes here (http://bit.ly/jobpodcast) or Stitcher here (Ms.Mannershttp://bit.ly/podstitcher).

The best Thanksgiving gift

Ms.MannersDear Readers,

Why not send someone a thank you note this Thanksgiving?  In the hustle and bustle of the holiday weekend, what better way to reflect and show gratitude than by taking time to hand-write a note to people who make our lives better?

Tell someone how they have influenced your life, how much you love them, and things about them that make you want to laugh – or cry. A thank you note is a wonderful present when it’s warm and heartfelt. Write that thank you note right away, the sooner the better. But if time slips away, better late than never is the rule.

Naturally, you need to write a note anytime you receive a gift, even if you opened it in front of the gift-giver. You should send a thank you note for wedding, bridal or baby shower presents, when you’ve stayed over-night in someone’s home, after attending a dinner party, and, of course, as a follow-up to a job interview.

The best thank you notes are hand-written on wonderful stationery, convey genuine appreciation, and include a description of how good you felt when someone was particularly kind or when you received a gift. You could say how you’ll think of the gift-giver each time you see the gift; thank the hosts of a dinner party by describing how much you enjoyed a particular dish or how interesting you found the conversation.

William A. Ward said, “God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say “thank you?”

With gratitude,
Ms. Corporate Manners

Register for a fall etiquette class

Register for a fall etiquette class.

Register for a fall etiquette class

Ms.MannersGood manners aren’t just for children. If you are interested in brushing up on business etiquette and international protocol skills, sign up for my evening class at the Rhodes College Meeman Center for Adult Learning. I’m teaching three, two-hour sessions from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. starting Wednesday, Oct. 29 and ending Nov. 12. Until then, behave yourself!

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