You wouldn't know it by the temperature outside, but it's already time for fall. Here at The American School of Protocol we are excited about the opportunities and new advances we have made this year.

As we get ready for crisper weather, we'd like to reflect on what we've accomplished and what the remaining part of the year will hold.

Congratulations are in order for the graduates of our February and July 2018 Children's and Corporate Etiquette Certification Training. Our worldwide graduates are transforming the lives of children and adults through The American School of Protocol's educational training and curriculum.

When looking for Etiquette Certification Training, we know that you have choices, online, one-on-one, and other companies who may or may not have multiple staff members. Graduating from The American School of Protocol means that you have received in-depth, hands-on training and will have access to resources and full-time support at no charge. 

Our training and educational curriculum, paired with our passion to provide the very best, has helped our graduates reach their goals and touch the lives of so many. We continually update our certification manuals and curriculum, and strive to provide a transformational experience. 

We look forward to meeting our new trainees and future graduates at the upcoming October Certification. Certification Cost $5,495.  Click here to learn more about our October 2018 Certification Sessions

Thanks are also in order to the ASP Team's commitment to expanding program offerings that are relevant, marketable and transformative.

This year we introduced a new training program, Cultivating Character, a 1-Day Conference that offers opportunities for educators and entrepreneurs who would like to add a Character Education component to their educational services.

Our first Cultivating Character conference was held, August 17th in Atlanta, Georgia. The conference received high praise and reviews from attendees. This recognition affirms our commitment to always provide the highest caliber of training and teaching materials. Cultivating Character Cost $1,495. Next Cultivating Character Conference will be held September 14. Click Here to Learn More

Power, Presence & Style our 1-Day Business Etiquette Seminar continues to help business professionals gain confidence and increase their competitive edge.

The hands-on training day educates participants and provides them with useful and relevant information that will impact their daily communications. Cost $995. Next Class will be held October 22. Click Here to learn more

As we continue to build momentum and reach new goals, we invite you to join us in Atlanta to discover what it means to be a part of The American School of Protocol.

Together, we can transform lives and cultivate life-changing outcomes.

With school shootings, cyber bullying and teen suicide on the rise around our country, our youth need help. 

The “do unto others” foundation of former generations seems to be lacking in today’s youth who have no focus on core ethical values. 

Children should be learning these skills sets in school, but often times they are not.  With many schools limiting character building classes and activities due to academic pressure paired with more working  parents, who is responsible for these teachings?

Children spend more time at school and extracurricular activities than ever before.  The lack of  instruction is now becoming more apparent with schools coming under heavy scrutiny concerning the well-being and education of our children.  

“In the long run, I’m not sure that it matters if a student learns algebra, but I know that it matters if a student learns right from wrong,” says George Booz, former principal at South Carroll High School in Sykesville, Maryland, a school nationally recognized for its character education program.

“I know that it matters if a person learns that in this world we have to help each other. I don’t see how we get around that.”

Character Education is a process of teaching children the importance of core ethical values, such as tolerance, respect and compassion. 

Character Education has been shown to provide a 23% increase in social and emotional skills, an 11% improvement on achievement test scores, a 9% reduction in problem behaviors and a 52% increase in graduation rate. 

Effective programs engage children in hands-on activities where good character is emphasized throughout the school environment as well as through the curriculum. 

While studies show 93% of teachers support Character Education in schools, these teachings are most effective when they start in our homes.

Whether you are a parent, educator, friend or family member, each and every one of us who comes in contact with a child plays an important role in their development. 

It’s time to stop asking who is responsible. We are all responsible for helping to guide today’s children into compassionate, kind and confident young adults of tomorrow.

With time ticking and the need growing, The American School of Protocol® has created a new 1-Day Training Conference, Cultivating Character™ to help combat this crisis.

A Pre-K through High School series, Cultivating Character™ provides excellent benefits to anyone working closely with children.  Participants in Cultivating Character™ will receive the education and materials needed to become an influential instructor. 

For more information on Cultivating Character™ and how you can help click here

See how current your Etiquette IQ is with our True/False Questions Below

1. Elbows are sometimes permitted on the table.

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]TRUE[/toggle]

2. Proposing a toast can be done anytime during the meal.

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]FALSE[/toggle]

3. Political discussions should always be avoided during a meal.

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]FALSE[/toggle]

4. At a buffet, start eating as soon as half of the people have returned to the table. 

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]TRUE[/toggle]

5. If you are eating a messy meal (ex: spare ribs), it is perfectly all right to tuck your napkin under your chin. 

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]FALSE[/toggle]

6. When introducing two people of the same age but different sex, it really doesn’t matter whose name is stated first. 

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]FALSE[/toggle]

7. In business or social situations, it is always correct for a woman to shake hands.

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]TRUE[/toggle]

8. The nature of e-mailing is informal, but business e-mails should still be communicated formally. 

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]TRUE[/toggle]

9. Fold-over note cards are used by men and women. 

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]FALSE[/toggle]

10. It is acceptable for a “thank-you” text message to replace a handwritten thank-you note.

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]FALSE[/toggle]

11. There are exceptions, but one usually doesn’t give out his/her business card unless another asks for it.

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]TRUE[/toggle]

12. One who overlooks etiquette rarely has it called to his/ her attention.

[toggle title="Answer" variation=""]TRUE[/toggle]

While some customs from long ago have remained fixtures in our modern society, there are many that have faded into obscurity and for good reason. We have uncovered the explanations behind some of today’s common and strange customs that managed to stick around.

The Handshake

Dating back to Ancient Greece – a source of many modern Western customs – this greeting was a sign of equality and mutual respect.

Shaking hands replaced bows and curtsies, while also serving as proof that both parties came unarmed.

In medieval Europe, the handshake became a powerful symbol of the bond between husband and wife. It was the final gesture of wedding ceremonies.

Today, a hand shake can symbolize multiple things but mainly it is used to say hello, goodbye, congratulations, and to seal the deal.

“Achoooo. . . . God Bless you!”

It’s almost as much of a reflex as sneezing itself.  Here in the United States, when someone sneezes, “God Bless you” will often be heard immediately after.

But why? We don’t acknowledge any other bodily functions in such a way. So how did this response originate? 

Some point to the Greeks and Romans for starting this fascination with sneezing. They viewed it as a sign of wellness – a means of expelling bad spirits from the body – and would routinely offer blessings unto the sneezer.

Centuries later, widespread fears brought on by the outbreak of the bubonic plague cast suspicion on the sneeze. Pope Gregory VII called on the people of Europe to utter a short prayer, “Bless you”, after every sneeze to protect against the sickness.

Upon reflection, it is a very strange custom - - -that doesn't appear to be fading anytime soon.

Dining Styles - Continental or American Style Dining?

As all of The American School of Protocol’s Certified Graduates know, there is a stark difference in dining styles once you cross the Atlantic.

In the United States, “Zig-Zag” is used, while our European neighbors predominantly eat “Continental.”

It is very surprising to learn that the traditional European method was in fact originally the American style. The "dining style divide" resulted when British colonists sailed across the Atlantic, bringing their multi-step cutting method to the New World.

The colonists retained this dining style, but back in Europe, the Industrial Revolution brought a faster pace of life that left little room for the niceties and courtesies of the previous era, leading to the more streamlined Continental style.

Clinking glasses

After a toast, it is tradition to clink glasses with fellow diners. This iconic act of celebration comes from a dark past.

Clinking glasses originally started with the intention of spilling a little of the other person’s drink into your own to demonstrate that neither party had poisoned the other’s glass. The clink was a sign of good will, a feeling that has endured to today.

Elbows off!

“Don’t put your elbows on the table!” The origin of this classic motherly saying dates back to medieval times.

Feasts were held in great halls and hundreds of people would eat together at long wooden tables. While the food was often plentiful, space was not.

Furthermore, when dining in the presence of the lords and ladies of the realm, it was deemed “peasant-like” to hunch over one’s plate, guarding the food from others. The act gave off an aura of distrust, and has since become a commonly repeated rule.

Today, it is acceptable to have your elbows on the dining table in between courses and when there are no dishes on the table.  Other than that it's a good idea to follow this old rule. 

It is truly interesting to trace our everyday behaviors – many of which we don’t give a second thought.

A recent article posted by The Conversation, an academic content website, listed 10 ways schools, parents, and communities can prevent school shootings now.

Number one on their list to combat this major problem is for schools and communities to teach social and emotional skills.

The article states that decrease in free play time and frequent social media use has reduced children’s opportunities to learn these basic social skills. Children should be learning these skills sets in school, but often times they are not.

As an etiquette and life skills educational company, The American School of Protocol, completely agrees that children need to learn life skills. However, we have found that during the school day is not when the majority of this learning takes place.

Many schools have completely eliminated character building classes and activities due to academic pressure and the need to meet certain benchmarks on state administered exams.

Studies have found that schools only try to implement a character building program, once it is too late or as a buffer to help solve an existing problem.  Children spend more time at school and extracurricular activities than ever before.  The lack of  instruction from parents is now becoming more apparent.

Character Education, Etiquette, and Life Skills are all necessary to help formulate a balanced and socially compassionate child who can conduct themselves with confidence and consideration for others. Eliminating home economics, life skills and character building paired with our new digital era and lifestyle, qualified etiquette teachers are more in demand than ever before, but without instruction in the class room and etiquette teachers in the communities, the outlook for the future of our youth is grim.

After every tragic event our requests, internet searches and calls soar. We also hear from individuals around the world who have the same problem. The American School of Protocol’s goal is for every state and city across the United States to have a knowledgeable etiquette teacher who is offering classes to students of all ages.

We continually find underqualified and inexperienced instructors who want to help, but just aren’t accomplishing their goals. Etiquette is an unregulated industry.  This is why it is so easy for other companies to market and sell certificates and programs that don’t teach the information correctly or address the real issues.

We have developed our 5-Day Certification Training and a complete Character Education Series for teachers who want to make sure they are teaching  high quality, accurate educational materials.

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To parents, educators, entrepreneurs, we need you to step up and bring etiquette to your community. If this has been on the back burner, we encourage you to lay out your goals and make it happen. Now is the time!

We have a huge problem on our hands.  Gun violence, mass murders, opioid crisis, and bullying.  America’s youth are in the front row of this chilling production.  

On February 14th Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida had one of the world’s deadliest school massacres. The students who survived have since decided to take their pain and transform it into something useful that may actually bring about change.

Lorenzo Prado, a Parkland High school shooting survivor said, "To let these victims' lives be taken without any change in return is an act of treason to our great country. What we must do now is enact change because that is what we do to things that fail: We change them."

Even after one and a half months since the shooting, the students continue to stay strong in their protest and demand for change.

Peggy Newfield, President of The American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia believes, “We need to focus on our children and the messages we are sending them.”

Newfield applauds the student’s organization and focus. “With all the skepticism thrown towards the youth and their protesting, many adults have lost sight that youth issues are community issues and community issues are our issues” asserts Newfield.  

Newfield is a strong promoter of empowering America’s youth. She has taught etiquette to over 10,000 students in the Atlanta area.

“Our youth are crying out for answers and begging for a new message. Our children are taking a stand and we need to be supportive” said one of the parent supporters at the March of Our Lives in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, March 24. 

On Sunday, the Pope spoke up and gave a poignant message to those who want to bring about change. “It is up to you not to keep quiet, even if others keep quiet.”

Stronger gun laws, mental health, school laws, bullying, anger management - - - the list goes on of where changes need to be made. Our children need a new message. 

A message of kindness, compassion, safety, and hope for the future.

Both near and far, in massive numbers or individually, tragedy and death often find us unprepared and unsure of how to approach the situation. 

Things You Should Never Say to Someone Who Is Grieving

I know how you feel. Even if you have suffered a similar loss or are currently grieving yourself, every experience is unique, just as every relationship is unique.

Everything happens for a reason. This could not be true according to the griever’s spiritual beliefs.

Time heals all wounds. People who have suffered the loss of a loved one often report that their life is permanently altered.

Be glad for the time you had together. Someone who is grieving will most likely cherish the memories of their loved one and be heartbroken at their loss, all at the same time.  They are not mutually exclusive.

At least he/she is no longer suffering. The fact that terrible physical suffering has ended in the death of their loved one is often not comforting to the bereaved.

Remain strong for others. This suggests that the griever should hide their feelings or try to appear as if they are not suffering.  Neither is a healthy approach to the natural process of grief.

What You Can Do

Open up. Share your thoughts and feelings with a trusted friend or family member to relieve the stress.  Tread carefully when doing so in a professional setting.

Listen to others. Try to empathize with others and allow them to express themselves as needed.  Recognize that processing tragedy is stressful and can cause people to act differently than normal.

Seek joy. Do things that you enjoy, such as cooking, gardening or exercising.  Pick up a new book, attend a sporting event, go to a concert or plan a weekend getaway.

Protect yourself. Limit your exposure to dire reports by avoiding broadcasts on TV or your smartphone. Less is more when the media is focused on gruesome details.

Serve others. Change your focus by getting involved in a community-building event, organizing a service day, or supporting a non-profit fundraiser.

Tragic situations befalling those we know or those being reported on the news can make us uncomfortable and cause stress. Awareness of certain coping techniques and specific phrases to avoid can ease anxiety and allow us to support others in their time of need. Remember to always consider your audience and setting before discussing.  

To learn more on how to explain and discuss the horrific act of gun violence to children and teens Click here . . . 

Some people find Valentine's Day annoying.  And, no, it's not just single people who may feel this way.

Like other holidays, Valentine's Day has become known as a consumer trap.  Some people feel duped into buying a gift to prove their love for someone, or to fit in at the office or with friends they find far too sentimental.

Fear of not measuring up, or of not meeting someone's high expectations, can lead to incredible dread.

There's also the annoyance of politically-charged groups and other organizations urging us to show our love for certain causes on Valentine's Day.  It's this type of spin on a day for celebrating romantic love that can make the whole thing seem pointless.

It's Only One Day

Valentine's Day is just that - one day out of the year.  And if there's no way to escape the company of other people on this day, it may be necessary to equip yourself with some coping skills.

Fortunately, etiquette, emotional clarity, and a little organization, can help you get through it:

Show Some Love

It's okay if Valentine's Day isn't your thing.  It's even okay if you let the people closest to you know this.  After all, you need to be you.

But understand that if your someone special loves Valentine's Day, a little compromise will make him or her feel even more appreciated by you.

And if you're single, there's nothing better than taking this day to show a little love to yourself by indulging in something that will make you feel special.

Written By Candace Smith
Candace Smith is a Dual Certified Graduate of The American School of Protocol's Etiquette Certification Training and the owner of Etiquette for the Business of Life 

A recent article featured in the Guardian by Alex Hern entitled ‘Never get high on your own supply’ delved into why social media bosses don’t use social media. Reading that the very people who invented these social sites and strongly promote them don’t use them might be a surprise to many.

Social media has such a strong presence in our culture today, so it's quite astonishing that the ‘founding fathers’ of social media object to using it. What do they know that we don’t?

#1 social media influences how we feel about ourselves and the world we live in

#2 it is compulsive and addictive

#3 we have no idea what the repercussions of using social will be

The article shares that the people who created these social platforms know all of this and they use it to their advantage.

Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, exclaimed that he is “a conscientious objector” to social media at a conference this past October. Parker  is sounding the alarm to the dangers of social media and the deliberate ways that social networks do everything in their power to keep us coming back, even at the risk of hurting our brains.

The common understanding of what is considered appropriate has been drastically morphed over the years. Just log on to any social media site and you can immediately see the bullying and spewing of disrespectful rhetoric about race, politics, religion and everything in between. Could this transformation have to do with social media?

A recent national survey reported that an astonishing 75 percent of Americans believe that incivility has risen to crisis levels. Many people believe that technology plays a central role in the decline of good manners.

Stories of individuals being fired and even arrested for things they have said on social media sites have amounted to the thousands.  In late 2007, The American School of Protocol was asked to write the 'Dos and Don'ts of Using Technology and Social Media' into our Etiquette Certification curriculum because social media classes were in high demand. 

Technology and social media have reshaped the understanding and awareness of etiquette. Personal interaction is now being replaced with screen time, texts, online classes, dms, snapchats, and so on. And we are only just beginning to see the effects this has on our society. 

Apple’s chief executive, Tim Cook, said “Technology by itself doesn’t want to be good and it doesn’t want to be bad either. It takes humans to make sure that the things that you do with it are good.”

Since including our initial 'Dos and Don'ts of Using Technology and Social Media'' into our syllabus, we have written extensively on this topic to help educate others.  New content has been added every year and we ultimately had to give 'Technology and Communication' its own section in our training manual. 

"We are doing our best to combat the problem, but it would be easier if we had more support", says The American School of Protocol Founder, Peggy Newfield. Her words to those who want to listen,"Be aware of what you post, how you respond, and what you read. Social media already takes up much of our time and energy, don't let it take your dignity." 

The centuries old pattern of ‘going into retirement at a certain age’ is fading away - - - and it’s for a good reason. Doctors around the world are now saying that instead of heading into retirement, you are better off staying in work to keep physically and mentally active.

Instead of facing retirement without a plan, many are embarking on this new chapter of their lives by reinventing themselves. Searching for a new career path, starting a business, making your hobby profitable, these are challenges that ex-retirees are finding exciting and purposeful.

After retirement many succumb to loneliness, isolation and health deterioration. With all the recent studies we know that going into auto-pilot, drifting without purpose only gets you one place fast.

The AARP Bulletin recently searched out ordinary people who have done extraordinary things with their second careers.  They discovered that 40 percent of people working at age 62 had changed careers since they turned 55. We found this article to align with many of the individuals who attend The American School of Protocol’s Etiquette Certification Training.

President and Founder of The American School of Protocol, Peggy Newfield says, “Seventy percent of the trainees who attend our program are planning for their second career. They are utilizing their new found freedom after retirement as a way to not only keep themselves busy, but also an avenue to give back.”

Peggy Newfield speaking to trainees during the 5-Day Etiquette Certification Training

According to Newfield, “With over 800 certified graduates, I have found that careers can take off at any age. There is only one ingredient that has to be there: PASSION.”

During The American School of Protocol’s five day training program trainees learn how to set up an etiquette consulting and teaching business. Through hands-on tutorials, small sessions, and class discussion each graduate leaves feeling empowered and ready to set out on their new career path.

“ASP’s proven outline and ongoing support is the roadmap to success” says Martha Berge who graduated from the program in 2015. After retiring Berge found herself bored and in need of stimulating work. 

“After working as a marketing executive for 35 years I was not ready to just lounge around. I needed a purpose.”

Berge is now using the skill set she learned during Etiquette Certification Training to reach out to her community. She is a keynote speaker once a month at rotary meetings and has a set evening every week where she answers etiquette questions at her local country club. 

With 15 grandchildren Berge also makes it a point to personally teach her grandchildren. “They find my sessions to be fun and truly look forward to it.”

Berge says the experience and skill set that she gained during the 5-Day Certification training has empowered her.  She now feels more connected to her family and community than ever before. 

“My children and grandchildren call me to ask etiquette questions. I have been asked to attend a local high school job fair and speak to the students about interview skills and how to land the job. The opportunities seems endless.” 

Newfield, who founded The American School of Protocol in 1980 strongly believes that those heading into retirement need to plan for this new chapter of their lives.

“Keeping your mind busy improves your chances of staying healthier longer. It’s a fact. Instead of focusing on ‘retirement’ we need to start thinking about what to do next.” 

Newfield strongly states, "You are still here and have something to offer. Don’t sit around and waste your time lunching and shopping.  Make yourself useful and do something you will be proud of."

To Learn more about The American School of Protocol’s Certification Training that is helping to launch second careers all over the world click here.