Ten Titillating Etiquette Questions

People often ask me during my business etiquette seminars, “who makes up the rules?” And I often receive a look of surprise when I respond with “you do!” 

No, it’s not my attempt at sarcasm, but rather to place the oneness where it belongs…on each of us! Yes, as part of society, we each, by our very behaviors, are helping to write tomorrow’s rules of etiquette. There isn’t one arbiter of manners dictating the rules of conduct or defining business casual dress. Instead, society embraces and discards with equal aplomb courtesies that we deem either appropriate or outdated. 

For your amusement (and self-assessment), I have listed a few questions I pose in my sessions to see what your answers may hold. 

 Who offers their hand first to initiate a handshake - man, woman, host, or does it matter? And now, post-COVID, will the handshake be optional?

#2 At a cocktail party, how does one handle both a drink and a plate of hors-d’oeuvres? Or do you?

#3 Is an emailed thank you just as acceptable as a mailed handwritten note? 

#4 Should all calls and emails at the office be responded to the same day, or is 24 hours acceptable?

#5 Which foods should you never order when wishing to impress your guest and avoid dining dilemmas?

#6 Is it necessary to take a gift when invited to someone’s home for cocktails and dinner? 

#7 What are the top virtual meeting manners that people need to observe?

#8 What are the best gifts to give a business client during the holiday season? 

#9 Which non-verbal signals will make you appear approachable or unapproachable? 

#10 What is the accepted amount of time to stay when “making only an appearance” at a party?