From time to time, Public Relations Nation posts a guest blog written by a Hofstra student. Katie Spoleti is a journalism major and a senior in the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication at Hofstra University.
Home for the holidays means getting to spend quality time with family members and friends you haven’t seen in a while. With Christmas break just around the corner, dinner parties, small get-togethers and nights out are inevitably in everyone’s near future. So, now it’s time to avoid those “red-flag” moments when it comes to respectfully interacting with company.
In an era driven around technology, it’s easy to prioritize social media over a social life. One of the first rules to having proper etiquette in any situation is recognizing when it’s appropriate to use your cell phone. Etiquette expert Diane Gottsman says, “We tend to get overly comfortable because of the ease of using our devices.” Since many of us are attached to our phones at all hours, it’s hard to put them away even when we’re sharing time with others. Gottsman recommends putting your smart phone away at the dinner table (especially if you’re out to eat), when listening to someone else speak and especially during any type of interview.
Once the phone is turned off and put away, becoming an engaged member of the conversation is the next step to displaying good manners. If you haven’t seen someone in a while or are meeting them for the first time, it’s important to be an attentive listener. Let the person know that you’re interested by picking up on something they said and asking them a follow up question about it.
Since you may be making a lot of plans over the break, it’s important to RSVP when necessary. Arriving on time to any event is always an etiquette must just as much as leaving at an appropriate hour is. You want to be respectful but also not overstay your welcome. Lastly, if something comes up and you have to reschedule, make sure you tell the other party ahead of time instead of just not showing up.
Even though these tips are reminders for the holidays, they should be followed every day of the year. Is there ever a good enough excuse to not follow these etiquette laws? Your thoughts?