Etiquette Talk

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Etiquette Talk

Travel Etiquette

by Paula Sobb Pranger on 03/09/15

Springtime is here and with it plans for travel.  Here are some etiquette tips to make travel stress free and enjoyable for everyone. 


1.     The best way to avoid stressful travel situations is to be prepared.  Don’t wait until the last minute to pack and get organized.  Have all your travel information in one place.  When you are organized it makes all aspects of your travel for you, those traveling with you and around you easier and more enjoyable. 

2.     If traveling with a group of friends or family plan ahead and be sure everyone is on the same page with where to stay, meals, events, personal time and how expenses will be covered.  Group trips are fun but everyone enjoys a little free time to themselves. 

3.     Dress comfortably but nicely.  Your personal appearance can affect the level service you receive.  It may not be fair, but it is reality.  If you look like you don’t require or expect good service you probably won’t receive it.  In the event your luggage gets misplaced you may be in your travel outfit longer than expected. 

4.     If it’s been a while since you traveled make sure you understand security requirements for your method of travel so you don’t hold up the lines.

5.     Be considerate of other travelers.  If you see a person needing assistance with his or her overhead bag offer help.  If you see a mom or dad traveling alone with children offer a helping hand to get them settled.  Offer your seat to the elderly, help them with luggage and be patient as they get settled. 

6.     Keep children occupied.  Be sure to bring electronic devices, books, snacks and activities to help pass the time.   Don’t forget headphones for personal devices.  Never change a diaper in a public area or in the seat of a plane.  Use the bathroom. 

7.     Don’t be stinky!  If you must bring food make sure it is low odor cold food, fruit and dry snacks.   Hot foods like your Philly cheese steak with onions and a side of french fries may smell great to you but it is most likely making everyone else around you nauseous!  Keep your shoes on please.

8.     In the event of delays or problems keep your composure.  Yelling and name-calling will get you nowhere fast.   Use considerate communication, be firm in your expectations yet treat others as you would like to be treated. 

9.     Treat your vacation property as it was your own.  Just because there is a staff on hand does not give you permission to be a pig or destructive to the property.  Would you spray sunscreen lotion on at home in your living room or in your bedroom? Would you spill drinks and drop food all over the floor or ground and leave it there at home? 

10. Thank the people that do a good job and make your trip enjoyable.  Let them know when you are satisfied and provide a proper tip.  Here are some guidelines for minimum tipping.  Bellmen should receive a $1-$2 per bag, housekeeping $5 per day, wait staff 20% of bill, taxis 15-20%, activity guides or coordinators 15-20% of total activity cost, babysitters $10-$20 per hour plus tip.   A kind word and acknowledgement of a job well done goes a long way.  

To Reply All or Not?

by Paula Sobb Pranger on 02/12/15

When and How To Properly Use “Reply All” in e-mail. 


This blog is dedicated to my new friends at BBG!  Here you go. 


It’s happened to us all.  Someone in the company sends out a congratulatory e-mail or a well wishes e-mail and includes the entire company.  For the next three days you receive random responses, mostly from people that you do not know, clogging up your in-box!   Worse yet, someone hit “Reply All” thinking they were just replying to the sender and sent an embarrassing note that was not intended for everyone to see…“Bob deserved that promotion like I deserve a hole in my head”…opps…did I just send that via Reply All?! Yikes!

Here are a few tips for using the “Reply All” function without driving others crazy.

1.     Use it as sparingly as possible. 

2.     Effectively narrow down with each e-mail the people that do and do not need to be included as the e-mail progresses.

3.     Pay close attention to which reply button you press.

4.     Only “Reply to All” when you know that everyone on the original email must be included in your reply. 

5.     Never use “Reply All” on a company wide email.  It’s unlikely the entire company needs to hear your response.  Reply directly to the person(s) the note pertains to. 

6.     The same applies to text messaging.  Preferably do not use text messages to communicate to large groups.  No one wants his or her phone to ding for days so you can plan your friend’s birthday celebration.  There are better and more effective ways to plan a party (Evite). 

Do you have an etiquette pet peeve?  Something you always wanted to know about etiquette but did not know who to ask?  Send them to me! I’d love to hear from you.

Romance Etiquette - Are you making cupid proud?

by Paula Sobb Pranger on 02/09/15

Love is in the air…or maybe it’s not.  Regardless of your current relationship status knowing and practicing proper Romance Etiquette is beneficial for everyone when it comes to matters of the heart.  Romance doesn’t just happen, it takes strategizing, consideration, thoughtfulness and sometimes a steel coat of armor.  Let’t take this romantic holiday as an opportunity to brush up on dating and romantic etiquette. 

  1. If your a teenager, asking your BFF to text the boy you like to find out if he “might” be interested in “going with you” is SODP (standard operating dating procedure).  However, from an etiquette standpoint, this approach leaves much to be desired.  I see too many grown and young adults hiding behind technology in an attempt to navigate the road of romance.  Pick up the phone and let your charm shine!  Before you do, have a plan in place to suggest something interesting or fun.  Your more likely to gain their interest and get them excited about going out with you with an engaging conversation rather than an impersonal text.  
  2. Giving advance notice is polite. Planning a date night at least three days in advance does not make you appear over eager or overly desperate for a date.  We all have busy lives and doing anything on short notice can be difficult with work and family schedules to navigate.  
  3. Take into consideration the other person’s interests and hobbies.  Take turns doing things that the other person enjoys.  One date go to a baseball game and the next to the ballet.  Mix it up, get creative and keep it fun!
  4. Try not to change plans or cancel.  Life is hectic, people get sick, work can get in the way but don’t make a habit of canceling plans.  If you must cancel give at least 24 hours notice, have an alternative date to suggest and most importantly cancel via a phone call and not a text.  
  5. Be punctual.  If you know it takes you an hour to get ready than give yourself 45 minutes.  Traffic is always tricky.  Give yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to go. It’s rude to keep someone waiting and your lack of punctuality can cause problems if you have reservations.  
  6. It’s okay to ask the other person how they plan on dressing.  Put some thought, time and effort into your appearance.  How you choose to look, tells the other person the level of importance you place on being with them.  When in doubt, dress up.  No one ever says “wow you look too nice, go change!” 
  7. Be aware of the other persons financial situation.  Either offer to pay for the evening or choose somewhere that you know will fit into both of your budgets.  It’s alway proper to offer to pay your share. If the other person insists on paying, the proper response is “Thank you” and let it go.  No need for drama.  
  8. Don’t complain or be rude.  If something is not going as planned keep a positive attitude and make light of the situation.  You don’t want to be “that person” making a scene.  
  9. Be sure to Thank the other person face to face for a wonderful time.  Give positive feedback to each other throughout the date.  Let them know how much you are enjoying all they are doing for you.     
  10. Think before you act.  Treat other people the way you would like to be treated.  Be a gentleman, be a lady, be honest and be considerate and direct.  No one likes to have their heart toyed with.  

Check Please! Who's Buying?

by Paula Sobb Pranger on 01/27/15

The rule of etiquette is whichever party that stands to benefit the most from the business relationship should pick up the check.  If the greatest benefactor is unclear then the party that extended the invitation should be the first to reach for the bill.  

The arrival of the bill is always the most awkward part of any meal.  The uncomfortable silence while the host is trying to calculate a tip and put their method of payment away seems to last forever.   If you want to outclass everyone else, make arrangements prior to the meal to have the bill paid without it ever coming to the table.   This clears up any awkward situations and makes a powerful impression!  
Lastly, when dinning with colleagues from your own company the rule of etiquette is for the most senior executive to handle payment.  Remember, tips should range from 15% for more casual meals up to 30% for formal meals and great service.  

Etiquette Spoilers To Watch For in 2015

by Paula Sobb Pranger on 01/02/15

Happy New Year!   As we venture into 2015, the challenges to creating a well mannered and considerate community will remain a hurdle for us to jump.  Developing well-mannered, considerate and socialized youth and adults has never been more difficult.  However, it is certainly not impossible.  It takes steadfast coaching, constant reinforcement and leading by example.  Being aware of and prepared for etiquette spoilers will give you an edge to handle them with poise, respond to them appropriately and guide your children through them. 

Etiquette Spoiler Trends to be aware of for 2015:

1.  Instant gratification impatience  

We live in a world of instant everything.  Fast food, on demand, instant downloads, instant messaging; the list goes on and on. Adults and children have begun to expect instant answers; instant service and instant resolution and they get impatient or upset when they do not receive them. You can help reset peoples instant gratification mindset by communicating realistic expectations.  Tell them in advance how long it will take you to accomplish a task.  For example, let people know how often you check email and voice mail by telling them within your email auto response or within your voice message. Tell people how you prefer to use your gadgets and technology to communicate.  Lastly be patient and polite to others when things are delayed.  It happens. 

2.  Inappropriate use of social media 

With the assistance of social media we have become a “look at me!” world.  Children and adults have more forums than ever to post information, pictures and private information online.  However, since the advent of social media children and adults alike have learned difficult lessons. The wrong post can damage reputations, ruin friendships, end a career, destroy a relationship and put your family and home in danger.  Use common sense and best practices when choosing whom to connect with.  Sites like Facebook are right to connect with friends and family while LinkedIn is an appropriate place to connect with colleagues and those you should keep a more formal connection.   Utilize and regularly check your privacy settings.  If your child is under the age of 18 and has their own facebook page you should be monitoring their site daily.  Most importantly practice discretion and tact and remember the written word is permanent. 

3.  Ridiculous and bad behavior from our “role models” 

Our choice of role models these days never ceases to utterly amaze and disappoint me.  Reality television, unethical politicians, pop stars and athletes will continue to show atrocious examples of ridiculous behavior and the media will continue to glamorize them.  With all the technology and media outlets, children are exposed to too much too soon.  Just because it’s available to them does not mean they should be watching it!  Keep your morality bar high and serve as a role model for good manners, civil discourse and smart behavior.  Children are always watching and listening.  They learn from us by example.  Practice the rule of “do as I do” not just do as I say. 

4.  Rudeness while multi-tasking

People will continue to try to do three things at one time. Make an effort to put everything aside (especially gadgets) and give people your undivided attention when you are talking, interacting or in a meeting.  Never bring a cell phone to the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.  If a person can not get through a short meal without taking a call, checking email or texting then they should not sit down to the meal until they can. 

5.  People on edge. 

Tensions are running high.  Our society has been pitted against each other based on our differences.  Despite whatever category you think you fall into, know that all people have personal challenges, not just you.  People are going to vent their frustrations either knowingly or unknowingly.  Try to listen, understand and be fair based on fact, not gossip.  In order to diffuse a flammable situation it is essential to have good communication skills and consideration for others.                                                 

Despite these challenges, everyday I work with and encounter wonderful well mannered people that know and understand the importance of teaching and learning manners and consideration for others.  It is because of those people that I look forward to another remarkable year of teaching manners, socialization, communication and dining skills.  It is my goal to bring these skills back to the forefront of our community and into our homes.  May God bless you and your family in 2015!