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

1. Elbows are sometimes permitted on the table.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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." 

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Location  Atlanta, Georgia

2018 DATES

February 11 - 15

June 10 - 14

October 14 - 18

Click here for more information on the Children’s Etiquette Certification Training. 

 You can also contact us with any questions at
404.252.2245 or email team@theamericanschoolofprotocol.com

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Merriam-Webster defines a “calling” as: “…a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.”

But how do you find your calling?

Many will say you don’t “find” your calling, you have to fight for it.

Your Calling

Mark Twain says “The two most important days are the day you are born, and the day you find out why.”

Picasso says, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.”

According to Aristotle, “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross - there lies your calling.”

Life Purpose Peggy Newfield Etiquette

During our June Certification we had this discussion after one of the participants of our training program proclaimed that it was her calling to be an etiquette teacher and educate others about respect and manners.

She had been resisting and putting off attending ASP, but she knew immediately once she walked through the doors that she was doing the right thing.

This statement opened up the conversation about finding our calling in life which prompted this article.

Purpose EtiquetteIf you are searching for your calling here are things you should be doing:

Things you should Stop doing:

According to Dave Isay, winner of the 2015 TED Prize, “People who’ve found their calling have a fire about them. They are the people who are dying to get up in the morning and go do their work.”

If pursued with dedication your calling will enrich your life, your family’s life, and the lives of those around you.

If you are searching, you are on the right path.

When you find your calling you will know it. 

Keep moving forward.

And remember you can’t fulfill your dreams when you are stuck in your comfort zone.

ASP Motto

Congratulations to our most recent graduates on becoming a part of The American School of Protocol.

Children Etiquette Certification Training

Etiquette Certification Training

 Participants came from throughout the United States as well as India and Australia.

As the up and coming ASP Graduates learned and grew together, lasting relationships were established.

At the beginning of the week they started off as strangers sharing a common passion, but by the end of the training they had become part of something much bigger and stronger than just themselves.

Etiquette Training

Etiquette Certification Course

Some participants came to Atlanta to begin learning how to create a successful business. Others wanted to add additional services to their existing business. We also had individuals attend ASP’s certification for their own benefit as well as those who were sent on behalf of a company or an organization.

The American School of Protocol has a strong network of educators, parents, and community leaders who teach etiquette and life skills as a service to their community.  

Our main goal during the five day training program is to make sure each graduate of ASP leaves our training knowing that they are well equipped for the task at hand. We provide all the support they may need as they attempt that task.

Curriculum Etiquette

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ASP Graduates are part of an elite group, an organization committed to encourage and support one another. Integrity, honesty, and a genuine passion to make our world a kinder place is the best way to describe those who attend our program.

As the week progressed, our participants learned how to be a powerful educator and presenter through activities and hands-on instructions. Everyone truly bonded.

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Business Etiquette Course

Etiquette course

Etiquette Certification Certified Instructors

We wish each of our new ASP graduates success. Educating others and teaching life-skills information is so rewarding. Our graduates are not just teaching, they are making a positive difference in the lives of children and adults.

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“Taking a Break” means different things to different people.  The term “taking a break” is often misinterpreted as a setback.  But those who know the power of rest and relaxation realize that it is anything but a setback.

Resting Etiquette

The link between rest and creativity is astonishing. Research supports this concept.

It is a proven fact that our brains need time to solve problems, envision, dream, and create new ideas.

Researchers from the University of York and the University of California state that 40% of our creative ideas come when we take a break.

Lin Manuel Miranda the Tony and Grammy award winner and writer of the Hamilton musical knows the importance of rest.

“It’s no accident that the best idea I’ve ever had in my life — perhaps maybe the best one I’ll ever have in my life — came to me on vacation,” Miranda said.

Steve Jobs, a college dropout and deemed unsuccessful businessman, rediscovered his calling during a time of rest, after being fired from his own company. 

Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Oprah, Albert Einstein . . . the list of people who we hold in high esteem all had major setbacks that threw them into a period of rest, which ultimately led to their success.

The American School of Protocol is the brainchild of a quiet time during Peggy Newfield’s career after the devastating September 11, 2001, attacks. 

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International and domestic travel came to a halt which gave Newfield the time to reevaluate her business plan. During this time she created The American School of Protocol and laid the foundation for Etiquette Certification Training.

 “We are in an era where everything happens at a fast pace. Think Amazon same day delivery and Netflix. This has distorted our perception on how things should happen. We all want results and answers immediately” claims Newfield.

With quick outcomes and fast answers in demand, Newfield openly shares her words of advice with the entrepreneurs who attend ASP’s five day etiquette certification training.

 “The best gift you can give yourself is to take the time to gather your thoughts before making your next move, whether it is business or personal. Set your goals and work hard to create where you want to go with your business. Dream big and never lose sight of your worth and your goal.”

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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.

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

The earliest record of social practices may be found in the 3rd millennium BC in the writings of the Egyptian writer Ptahhote. Then came Confucius and on to King Louis XIV.

While some of the 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 customs that managed to stick around.

Shaking hands

Shaking hands is a common greeting. But do you have any clue who started it or why we continue to do it?

Dating back to Ancient Greece this greeting was a sign of equality and mutual respect.

It 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 the handshake still represents respect and is seen as a welcoming gesture.

We use it in business and social interactions, but not so much in marriages.

Partners finance success sales person shaking hands greeting meeting first time

“Bless you!”

Here in the United States, when someone sneezes, “Bless you” will often be heard immediately after.

It’s almost as much of a reflex as sneezing itself.

It is a rather strange custom if you think about it. We don’t acknowledge any other bodily functions with such dignity.

So how did this response originate?

The Greeks and Romans viewed it as a sign of wellness – a means of expelling bad spirits from the body – and would routinely offer blessings unto the sneezer.

However, centuries later, widespread fears brought on by the outbreak of the bubonic plague in 1330 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.

And there you have it!

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Elbows off!

“Don’t put your elbows on the table!”

The origin of this classic motherly adage 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.

Clinking glasses

Cheers! girls celebrate a bachelorette party of bride.

After a toast, it is tradition to clink glasses with fellow diners.

This iconic act of celebration comes from a morbid past. It was 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.

How We Hold Our Utensils

As all of our ASP grads know, there is a stark difference in dining styles once you cross the Atlantic.

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

It is surprising to learn that the traditional European method was in fact this American style.

The modern dining 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.

Dining Skills

If you enjoyed reading about the history of etiquette, then be sure to check out this article from National Geographic How Table Manners as We Know Them Were a Renaissance Invention. 

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. 

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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.

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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.