Manners makyth man

William of Wykeman (1324 -1404)

With the ever increasing pressures of the modern business lifestyle, meeting different social groups can often be an unnecessarily nerve wracking experience. It is easy to forget the importance of respecting different cultures’ various idiosyncrasies, but learning these subtle behaviours can lead to a greater appreciation of potential clients, allowing you and your associates to relax, which in turn will improve your networking and social skills.

It has become the norm to overlook the importance of manners, they are sometimes seen as a weakness, or conveying submission. This however, could not be further from the truth. Behaving courteously expresses an air of confidence, it allows others to relax in your presence and gives you the upper hand when meeting with those who display signs of insecurity, and low self esteem, through bad manners.

Once you begin to introduce a new courteous ethic into your lifestyle, you may begin to reap the benefits straight away. Relationships begin to improve, self worth increases and an ability to understand and analyse thinking patterns of others, through their behaviour, becomes more apparent. Over time, employing good manners and etiquette, will find you garnering more respect, not only from your potential partners and clients in meetings, but in new social circles, from your friends, colleagues and employees. It will not take long before people around you begin to adopt the same principles, as they look to you as a leading figure, as your new found expression of courteousness transforms you into an image of confidence and success.

Over the coming months we will offer everyday British etiquette tips and tricks that we teach in our very own workshop, from what clothes to wear in various situations, how to become the dominant voice in important meetings, to adopting classic etiquette principles, to coerce others into following your line of thinking. These courteous behaviours have been used for generations and were first created by William of Wykeham himself, the father of British Etiquette and good manners, nearly seven centuries ago.

As for this months advise, we will start where we begin with our own teachings at our workshop in London.

Being last.

Now what we mean by this may seem confusing, however when you pause to evaluate, you will understand that it makes sense. We are taught from a young age to be aggressive, to take what you can, to finish competitively first, and this may be an important trait when conducting business against your competitors, however this behaviour does not work in other areas of your life.

When with family, friends, when meeting new people, such as clients or business partners, or trying to gain respect from others, it is important to be, last. By being last you are effectively saying, “I am confident in this situation, I am in control and am in charge of the path that we will take.”

For example, if you are approaching a closed door, hold it open for others to enter first, this does not make you their subordinate, but instead shows leadership. After time, you will normally find that adopting this strategy, will cause others in your company to look to you for guidance, and advice, as they now see you as their leader, you are effectively leading them through the door as if you know the path they should take. They will often enter but wait for your guidance as to the next steps they should take, which allows you to have complete control over the situation. This advice can be used when entering vehicles, or elevators etc, if the door is already open then stand by it with your hands behind your back, it again expresses complete confidence.

Another example of “being last”, is when dining in a restaurant and a waiter is taking your orders, again offer others to order first, it expresses that you are the leading figure, you are the ultimate power, it also gives you time to assess your companies choices, which again can tell you a lot about them. There is weight to the old English adage “fools rush in”.