October 2009 Children's Etiquette Certification graduate, Cindee Huddy, was published recently in Parents Guide of Las Vegas Magazine. Her article, "Teaching Manners, Building Confidence" emphasizes the importance of making a great first impression:
"Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot." - Clarence Thomas.
Recently I bumped into a dear friend at the grocery store, who had her six year old in tow. As her mother and I began to embrace, the little one popped in between us and said, "Hi, I am Hannah" with a big smile on her face. I leaned down, offered her a handshake and introduced myself. She replied, "It's nice to meet you." It was a sweet moment of exchange, but it also made me think of how often we forget to introduce others.
Introductions are one of the best ways to acknowledge one another. It helps everyone feel included in the conversation. This particular social skill builds confidence. The best way for children to learn is by watching their parents.
The four basic rules of introduction:
- When two people of the same age, same sex are introduced, it does not matter whose name is spoken first.
- A female's name is always spoken first when introducing a female and a male.
- When introducing an adult and a young person, the adult should always be introduced first.
- When introducing a very important person (or VIP) to anyone, he or she should be introduced first.
Other important tools include:
- Look the other person in the eye.
It is never too early to teach the importance of good eye contact. Even when speaking to a toddler you can say "Look at Mommy when you are speaking." Once you gain eye contact, smile and say thank you.
- Extend your hand and offer a firm handshake.
As you extend your hand, hold your head high, look the person in the eye, and smile. You should lock thumbs, then close your fingers around the hand while firmly shaking the person's hand once up, once down and then release.
Take time to prep your child for your next outing. A parent should practice eye contact, a firm handshake and introductions. It will dazzle and amaze your friends and family. As people respond to your child with a warm return, they will begin to do it naturally.
"Even the smallest star shines in the darkness." - Finnish Proverb
Cindee Huddy is the owner of SHINE Social Etiquette and Image Development located in Henderson, Nevada.
The American School of Protocol® is so proud of your accomplishments, Cindee! We wish you all the best for a successful 2011.