When you are an etiquette consultant people love to share their etiquette horror stories or ask for etiquette advice. I love that my friends and business associates want to share their stories and questions with me.
I thought it would be fun to share some of the etiquette faux pas and questions I’ve gotten over the last month or so.
Etiquette faux pas
A business owner discovered he wasn’t going to be able to deliver on a project for a client, so three months after their last communication he sent an email breaking the bad news.
My response: Never ever give bad news to a client over email. Call them. Also, if you value your clients you should get back to them within 24 hours of their email or correspondence. If you don’t have an answer, communicate to them that you will have an answer by x date.
Etiquette faux pas
A group of business people took their client out to lunch and one of the hosts sat in the best chair facing the window leaving the client facing the wall.
My response: The client is always given the best seat. Never seat a client facing a wall, the bathroom or the kitchen.
My friend is hosting a party, is it really necessary for me to bring a host gift since she’s invited so many people? Also, do I need to bring a host gift and send a thank you note?
Answer: You should always bring a gift to the host unless it’s a regular monthly get together. The gift does not need to be expensive or extravagant. Something small like a nice bar of soap, a candle, gourmet chocolates, a bottle of wine, cocktail napkins; are all appropriate gifts.
And yes, you need to write a handwritten thank you note within 48 hours of the party. Keep it short and sweet, just three or four sentences long. Example:
You always throw the best parties! George and I had a fabulous time conversing with your captivating friends and savoring your delicious dinner. Thank you for inviting us.
I look forward to seeing you at yoga class next week.
Best regards, Arden
Etiquette Faux Pas
A business associate shared: “years ago one of my clients put on a big party for employees and company advisors. They had an open bar….....big mistake. One employee got abusive and was canned the next day. Another passed out with his head in his plate of food. Lucky for him he was a manager.”
My response: What is it about office parties that make people think it’s OK to get drunk and do stupid things? This is not the first time I’ve both seen and heard of this happening. See Patti Payne’s column quoting me about office holiday party blunders in the December 11 Puget Sound Business Journal edition.
Open bar or not, restrict yourself to two drinks maximum at an office party, networking event or anywhere you should be a professional; which is really just about everywhere except your home.
My associate above wrote “…lucky for him he was a manager.” But I don’t quite understand why a manager would be forgiven for passing out with his head in a plate of food. Seems to me that a manager should be held to even higher standards as he or she is supposed to be a role model.Well, that’s it for this post. If you’d like to share your etiquette horror stories and questions, please email me at email@example.com. I promise to protect the guilty.
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