Who are the enemies of etiquette today? Well, they are lurking everywhere and screaming for your attention.

We have compiled a list of our top “Enemies of Etiquette” as we like to call them so that you can be on the lookout.

The Enemy: Technology

Children and parents alike are glued to their devices. Seeing a family of four all staring at their iPhones during a dinner out is a common occurrence. With these distractions at our finger tips, communication and socialization are diminishing.

Advice: Actively be aware of how much time you spend staring at the screen.  Take back your precious time.

The Enemy: Social Media

Not only do we communicate more and with larger audiences, we do so at lightning speed, using emojis, status updates and 140 character announcements. Immediate updates, cute dog videos, personal information about friends and acquaintances along with new or fake news updates is constantly being thrown our way.

Advice: Limit time using social media, be aware of what you are reading and absorbing and always think before you post on any social site.

The Enemy: The Race

You’re in a hurry, I’m in a hurry, were all in a hurry! There is never enough time - - and especially not enough time for manners or courtesy.

Advice: Slow down, you’re not the only one whose time is important.  There is always time to show respect for others.

The Enemy: Trolls

People say things online that they would never dream of uttering out loud. The amount of hate and irresponsibility on social sites and in comment sections is unbelievable. Words have power and what we say online has just as much weight as what we say in person.

Advice: Don’t get involved with trolls – don’t read their remarks – ban and block those individuals. If you think you are being one – stop it immediately!

The Enemy: Time

Over-scheduled, rushed, too busy to sit down and eat together – this is typical. The Harris Poll states that 59% of people claim their family has fewer dinners together than they did growing up. This is cause for concern since the family dinner is the cornerstone of conversation skills and consideration for others.

Advice: Make time to have meals together.  This is an important sharing time – not only for families with children, but for everyone.  Sharing your day and listening to someone else is one of the best things we can do to eradicate the enemies of etiquette.

The “enemies of etiquette” all have one goal - To divide us. We must stay vigilant and continue fighting the battle in the hopes of preserving courtesy and respect. 

Whoever said “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me” didn’t have a clue. 

Words can hurt. Words can destroy. Words can be annoying.

A lot of words that we say, text, and tweet just aren’t necessary and can get us into a lot of trouble – Just ask Roseanne Barr.

There are some sayings that have made their way into our daily habits that often spill out of our mouths without much thought. 

These annoying and often times offensive comments have become so customary, that pulling together a list wasn’t even that hard.

Here are 12 phrases that are never appreciated:

1. Just Calm Down

This phrase has never helped anyone calm down.

2. Are You Sick? You Look Tired

What you are basically saying is you look terrible.

3. Please, Don’t Take this Offensively

Something offensive is about to be said.

4. When Are You Going to Get married?

Rudest question ever.

5. When Are You Going to Have Children?

Add to the list of rude and insensitive questions.

6. Those People

Immediately stop referring to any group or person as “those people”

7. I’m Just Saying

What are you just saying?

8. I’m Fine

Its passive aggressive and typically the person asking how you are is doing so genuinely.

9. You Look Skinny

You may have meant it as a compliment, but it doesn’t come out that way.

10. Are You Going to Eat All of That?

Just stop it.

11. It Is What It Is

And what is that exactly?

12. My Bad

Did you mean to say you're sorry?

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]

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." 

  1. They make eye contact and greet others with a warm hello and goodbye.
  2. They treat everyone they meet with the same respect.
  3. Before entering and exiting a building they always look in front and behind to see if there is anyone that could use a helping hand.
  4. They are mindful and think before they speak.
  5. They accept and value differences in people.
  6. They use their fork, knife and napkin when dining.
  7. They dress for the occasion.
  8. They say please and thank you regularly - not just when they need to get their way.
  9. They let other cars merge.
  10. They avoid boasting, bragging, and gossiping.
  11. They do not push their opinions or pry by asking personal questions.
  12. They put others at ease.

With the current climate in our world and the recent breaking news stories of inappropriate sexual behavior in all industries across the nation, you would think that we live in a world without rules, respect, manners or morals. 

Reading through the headlines it is truly evident that respect and manners have been pushed to the side. It is only when horrible behavior is brought to the mass media do we have the opportunity to see something we are aware of on a small scale in high definition, morning and night and on every platform.

Is our culture so unattached and disconnected that we have forgotten about moral upbringing or human decency? What has happened?

Certain components of our modern existence threaten the development and enforcement of these rules which have helped hold our communities together. As we have evolved it is understandable that so has the perception of what is considered “acceptable behavior”.

Yes, we have been liberated from appalling laws and useless rules of the past, but now we are faced with the repercussions of our progression.

Without focused cultivation of teaching and enforcing respect and equality within our workplace, schools, homes, and communities, the civility born of etiquette could indeed become a thing of the past.

It is only when enough people stand together and decide that enough is enough and that it is time for a change that something can be done.

Please stand with us in our battle to help instill the traits that make our society kind and compassionate human beings.

While some routinely dine in formal settings and host elegant functions at home, the majority are more likely to display their etiquette skills in an office, a waiting room, check-out lines and on social media.

Knowing how to conduct ourselves in everyday surroundings can be more valuable than correctly identifying a cocktail fork or knowing how to use a finger bowl.

Do you recognize anyone in these everyday etiquette pitfalls?  Let us know any we’ve missed, or your biggest pet peeve.

Your cell phone conversation is not interesting.

NEWSFLASH no one wants to be a captive audience to your spouse’s medical diagnosis, your child’s grades or your beloved aunt’s birthday plans. 

Be cognizant of cell phone usage in places like waiting rooms, elevators and intimate coffee shops.

Woman talking on mobile phone while shopping for clothes

Your personal hygiene is your responsibility. 

Let’s face it: some things in life are simply beyond our control. 

Not so with personal hygiene…take control and make sure you aren’t offensive, ever.

Your tendency toward TMI is a turn-off. 

Social media can be fun, enlightening and informative. It can also be downright cringe-worthy when used as a private journal, therapy session, political platform or attention-getter.

Don’t be that needy, desperate, overbearing ‘friend’ we all love to block.

Your invasion of personal space is uncomfortable.

If you plan to chip in on their grocery bill, by all means join the guy ahead of you at the check-out counter.  Otherwise, back up. 

Same goes for any payment line (think ATMs or the theater kiosks), as well as face-to-face conversations.

Standing in a row. Young people waiting in line to buy something

Your out-of-control child is not cute.

There are playgrounds, and then there are restaurants and places of business. 

Children shouldn’t be allowed to wreak havoc on unsuspecting diners or shoppers.

Little girl is capricious

Your jaw-dropping outfit is better-suited for a night club. 

Any professional setting requires professional dress.  Don’t go for WOW on Wednesday at the staff meeting…you will be the topic of an unflattering conversation.

Good etiquette is so much more than observing acceptable social practices and following a list of tedious rules.

‘Well-mannered’ individuals are those that put others before themselves, and ensure the comfort and well-being of the people around them.  By focusing on kindness, courtesy and consideration, you can avoid the danger of everyday etiquette pitfalls.

Portrait of young attractive handsome brunette man driving car and greeting somebody with hand.

Too often the word ‘etiquette’ is associated with antiquated ideals or customs.  In fact, ‘etiquette’ has far less to do with convention and much more to do with common courtesy. 

An effective etiquette instructor focuses not on what fork to use, but on how decent human beings relate to each other with kindness and respect.  The urgent need for such instruction in our society becomes more evident by the hour.

Certain components of our modern existence threaten the development of effective social skills.  Without focused cultivation of these skills within our schools, our homes, and our communities, the civility born of etiquette could indeed become a thing of the past. 

road rage

The Troll

By virtue of lurking behind a monitor, certain people can justify unleashing vile remarks at will.  Argumentative, belligerent or flat out reprehensible exchanges are the norm.  People are capable of ‘saying’ things online that they would never dream of uttering out loud.  A sense of isolation, anonymity and irresponsibility often festers behind the screen.  Thus the dawn of the internet troll.

The Distance

According to Pew Research Center, both Mom and Dad work full-time in 46% of two-parent households.  The National Center for Health Statistics puts the divorce rate at just under 50%.  Punishing schedules, conflicting obligations and decreased togetherness make it difficult for parents to focus on development of their children’s social skills.  Other factors such as increased time in organized activities and solitary time on devices limit kids’ opportunity for face-to-face interactions.

The Meal

Most American families are over-scheduled and rushed, too busy to sit down and eat together. The Harris Poll states that 59% of people claim their family has fewer dinners together than they did growing up. This is cause for concern since the family dinner is the cornerstone of conversation skills and consideration for others.

Children Eating Breakfast Whilst Playing With Mobile Phone

The Race

The landscape of human interaction has changed and moves at warp speed.  Not only do we communicate more and with larger audiences, we do so lightning fast, using emojis, status updates and 140 character declarations.  Communication-on-the-run all too often fosters misunderstanding and miscommunication.

Etiquette education and life skills training fight these and other enemies by instilling confidence and poise, and by developing character and courtesy.  Such traits are the glue that hold families and communities together.

They are as important now as they were in generations past, ensuring that kindness - and therefore, etiquette - will never go out of style. 

To Learn More About Etiquette and What We Are Doing  Click Here

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If speaking in public or giving a presentation to a group is enough to keep you up at night, don't worry, you are not alone.  More than 80% of people agonize or have some anxiety before speaking in public.

We have compiled 6 smart tips to help you feel more comfortable (and less nervous) the next time you need to command the room.

1.Maintain Eye Contact

While speaking to a group, making eye contact is very important. Eye contact will keep the individual audience members feeling important. By making eye contact and maintaining it, you will come across as more genuine and confident. Keep in mind, if you do not maintain the eye contact, you may come off as nervous. If your eyes linger a little too long, you may make the audience members uncomfortable.

public speaking etiquette advice

2. Instead of  Reading From Notes Use Visual Aids

When you present with visual aids instead reading off note cards or a sheet of paper, it comes across as though you really know your material and that you cared enough to become familiar with it. Whether it is a pamphlet or a powerpoint, visual aids will keep the audience members engaged. Visual aids also provide you, the presenter with an outline and talking points as you move through your presentation.

3. Use Appropriate Body Language

Body Language can help get a point across and keep the audience focused. As opposed to standing still with your hands by your sides, briefly moving about and small gestures will keep all eyes on you. Keep in mind that frequent movement and large gestures can be distracting.  If you do not have a podium and are standing solo in front of an audience, stand straight and tall with arms by your side or let your hands fall around the waist. Never clasp your hands together below your waist.

Public Speaking Etiquette

4. Include Humor

Getting the audience to laugh can make you feel more confident and comfortable. It is also a great way to regain the attention of someone who may not be giving you their full attention. Always try to incorporate a few humorous points into your presentation. It will allow the audience to relax and connect with you while also giving you a boost of confidence.

5. Speak Slowly

When giving a presentation, speak clearly and project. It is very common for people to speak faster than usual during a presentation.  Speaking slowly and clearly will give you time to think and will help the audience follow what you are saying. It is helpful to take brief pauses during transitions.

6. Study

The best way to become an excellent presenter is to watch really good, experienced speakers and model your talks after theirs. Notice not just what they say, but what they do, how they move, how they sound, how they structure their talks. Add those devices to your own repertoire.

Public Speaking

If you have prepared well and know your material, there is no reason to be nervous. If you mess up don’t make a big deal or beat yourself up. Take a moment to pause and think, then continue with your thought. If you are at ease, there is less of a chance that your nerves will take control and cause you to make a mistake.

With our ever changing digital world our attention spans are shrinking and are producing what Howard Rhinegold characterizes as “butterflying from topic to topic.” 

Yes it can be fun to “feel” like we are gaining vast amounts of information as we go from topic to topic on our news feeds and read outrageous comments posted by users, but it just isn’t real; we are selling ourselves short. 

Etiquette Technology

Infographics, 140 character tweets, 500 character YouTube comments, emoji’s that stand in for responses, and the instant gratification we get with clicks are all ways we are short cutting our output and our intake. 

As a society, we have become impatient and easily annoyed when we have to wait.  We expect everything at the speed of lightning.

Lashing out and spewing disrespectful rhetoric about race, politics, religion and sex is so easy and it often gains attention. Many are ready and willing to state their opinions on social platforms no matter what the consequence may be.

It has become easier than ever to insert an emoji and respond quickly instead of having a discussion of differing opinions. Unfortunately this type of shortcut paired with impatience has weakened our ability to have civil conversations in person or online. 

But really, what can we do? The internet is here to stay and information will not slow down because its speed can seem rude. The only thing we can control is how we do or do not respond to things. 

The next time you read something that offends you, stop and ask yourself, “Does this really affect me?”  Be honest and if it is not going to ruin your reputation, your income or love life; let it go. 

After you formulate your digital communication, reread it with the sweetest, most polite tone you can muster.  If it comes off as snide, rude or curt – rewrite it.  This also applies to reading something that seems written with anger or hostility – reread it. You might find a different message altogether.

young asian business person sitting at desk thinking hard.

If you are involved in a conversation and the banter is going downhill, try to steer it back on topic or make a quick exit. 

If you strongly disagree with someone or see that they are making a fool of themselves, reach out to the individuals through private messaging. The person may be totally unaware of how their message is coming across.  

The etiquette of please and thank you is waning in technology today. As you go forward in your daily postings and responses, keep your dignity and your digital footprint in mind.