Guest Blog Post by Maura Graber


Today I would like to welcome as a guest blogger my colleague in the international etiquette industry and site moderator for the online Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia, Maura Graber, who writes:

My “business bible” is a book I didn’t know I had bought. It came with my starter kit when I became a Princess House direct sales Crystal Consultant 40 years ago. Etiquette books weren’t big sellers in 1975, so I put it on my bookshelf and forgot all about Amy Vanderbilt’s, Etiquette: The Guide to Gracious Living.

Vanderbilt was the company’s Special Advisor, and a message from Amy for new consultants, along with her photo, came in the book. At the time, it was the most complete book of etiquette written. Mildly impressed, it really didn’t mean much to me until 1990, when it suddenly took on a new dimension in my life and simply demanded the respect it deserves.

I’m glad it’s still with me. It’s a gold mine of information; a look at the past, filled with rules by which polite people attempted to live. However, now, worlds away from 1952, only about half of its tips are usable as written. Much of it needs to be tweaked to be useful in today’s society. With that in mind, I suggest the following modern manners and etiquette tips for gracious living in the 21st Century:

  1. Google Glass/Apple Watch Etiquette: If you own them, congrats! You are now part of an elite group. Before you go out to dine or start a conversation with a new acquaintance, please remove the glasses. It is also a good idea to vow not to “play” with your watch.
  2. E-Cigarette Smoking Etiquette: Consider everywhere a “No Smoking Zone” until you ask others nearby for permission. Ensuring the comfort of those around you will be greatly appreciated by non-smokers. The same applies for cigars, cigarettes and cannabis.
  3. Mobile Etiquette While Driving: In the driver’s seat, you have an obligation to those with you and others on the road. Navigating traffic, while drinking coffee and talking on the phone, is pushing the envelope and illegal in many states and countries. Instead, keep safety in mind by limiting all other activities while driving.
  4. Fax Etiquette: Want to pay postage for junk mail you receive? Footing the bill for junk faxes is just that. If you must solicit business by fax, call in advance and ask for permission. Politeness in business is rarely forgotten. And if you believe fax machines are obsolete, guess again. Fax machines are vital in countries such as Japan, where most resumes/CVs are handwritten and faxed, and job candidates are judged by penmanship.
  5. Social Media Etiquette: Taping or photographing others must be done properly or it will backfire. Politely ask permission. Not everyone wants to be on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc. Never post photos or video of someone to a social media site without their prior permission.

mauraMaura J. Graber ventured into the field of etiquette in 1990, and since then has taught thousands of students of all ages, from all walks of life. Her popular seminars on etiquette, antique dining utensils and dining history, have made Graber a sought-after authority and guest speaker on local, and national, television and radio, offering tips and advice on social skills, dining etiquette, dining history and manners. She is also the site moderator for the online Etiquipedia© Etiquette Encyclopedia.

Thank you, Maura, for sharing your thoughts! -Sharon

Sharon Schweitzer, JD is a cross-cultural consultant, international etiquette expert, and the international award winning author of Access to Asia. Her work has taken her to over 60 countries on seven continents; she speaks French and some Czech. Sharon provides current and future leaders and entrepreneurs with practical techniques to improve global competence, business communication and increase revenue. She has been quoted by the New York Times, Fortune, and numerous international media outlets. Sharon was a 2009 Honoree of a City of Austin program that celebrated the entrepreneurial spirit of Austin women. In 2012 she was part of the team that conducted a series of business preparedness workshops in anticipation of Austin welcoming thousands of international visitors to Formula One’s 2012 launch at the Circuit of the Americas, and she was a Finalist in the 2015 Austin International Business Awards.

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