How to Build Strong Relationships at Work

Lesson 1/4 - Class Introduction


How to Build Strong Relationships at Work


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

Hello everyone, welcome. It is my pleasure to be here with you today for our manners at work course. We're gonna start today. Our first session is all about how to build relationships. Now, this is the beginning of what I hope will be a deconstructing of the whole idea of etiquette. I have a little conceit that I wanna share with you about how this course functions, and I wanna enlist your aid, you're gonna be my allies in achieving this goal today, and my objective is to start to break down the idea of etiquette a little bit and to make it a topic that feels approachable and relevant and more than that, important. And the way that I like to do that is to talk about etiquette in the context of relationships. It's really important for me that when we think about etiquette, our focus is on people and is on the relationships that are frankly probably some of the most important parts of our lives. So, if you think about what you do every day, if you think about the big picture, what it mea...

ns to be a human in today's world. We're all connected, and the degree to which those connections matter, the degree to which we invest in those connections, the degree to which we prioritize relationships and the quality of our relationships with others is to me of fundamental importance. So, that's the big picture. Now I wanna start to drill in just a little bit, and I think it's really important whenever we're talking about anything to think about how it applies to us, to think about how it applies to our own lives, and how we behave and conduct ourselves. That's another big message that I wanna start to weave into our time together. I wanna start off by welcoming you. It really is my pleasure to be here with you today. I'm so glad that you've made the time, that you've prioritized being here and investing in this material. It is an honor and a privilege to be here with you. I think human attention is a gift, and I appreciate the gift that all of you are giving me today. I also want to honor and respect your intelligence, your integrity and frankly your commitment to this process. I want to share with you an agenda, so that you have some idea about what to expect as far as the time that we're about to spend together. We're gonna talk about Emily Post. We're gonna talk about Emily Post as a historical figure but also as a personality. As we heard in the intro, Emily Post was my great-great-grandmother. The Emily Post Institute is a family business. It's a five generation family business. This is work that I've been doing professionally for about 10 years, but in some ways it's something that's been with me my entire life. One of my favorite things to do is share Emily Post with a contemporary audience. So, please indulge me, we're gonna spend a little bit of time talking about where this tradition originated, and how it's evolved and changed over time, but also the elements of it, the components of it that have stayed remarkably consistent from one generation to another. We're gonna talk a little bit about etiquette in terms of its absence, or the lack of etiquette. We're gonna talk about rudeness. We're gonna have a definition for rudeness. We're gonna talk about what it looks like, what makes it difficult or tricky to identify and combat, and we're gonna look at some particular strategies for confronting rudeness, not so much in others, mostly in ourselves. We're gonna do that through three goals. These are take-away goals, take-away objectives, and if you forget all of the manners material that we're gonna cover in the rest of our time together, if you can remember these three goals, we will have accomplished something. I won't call it a magic wand, I won't call it the lightning bolt, (chuckles) secret to success, but these three goals are critically important for combating rudeness and for promoting civility and in the process promoting that quality of relationship that I think is really important. We're gonna talk about definition of etiquette, a working definition of etiquette that's gonna be useful for us, practical, not outdated, not old-fashioned. We're also gonna look at principles of etiquette. This is a component of that definition of etiquette that's gonna help us resolve difficult relationship situations, and solve problems where we don't know the particular manner that applies. That's gonna help us put etiquette into action. And that's gonna conclude our time in the first part of this course together. So that's a big picture overview. Let's get started, we have a lot of material to cover. First we're gonna talk about what etiquette is. What is etiquette? Well, etiquette, etymology of the word sounds kind of French maybe, it is. But before I color your impression too much, before I offer a definition of etiquette from the perspective of someone who does this work all the time, has been part of a family business that does this work, I wanna ask you, and this is something I do with just about every live audience that I get a chance to work with, if I put the word etiquette up on the board, what's the first thought that pops into your mind? Go ahead, call that out, I will reflect these back to you. First thought, there's no wrong answer. Dining, napkins. Dining, (giggles) napkins, sure. A fork perhaps, right, yeah. Manners. Manners, yep. What else? Someone stole your first thought, go ahead and throw out your second thought. Greetings. Greetings, sure. Introductions, manners from reading people. Presenting yourself. Presenting yourself, how you present, yep. What else? There's no wrong answer, keep 'em coming, think of it as a brainstorming session. Your personal brands like yourself. Your personal brand, yourself, yeah. Formulating formal standards for how conduct is. Formality, informality, this is one of my favorite themes to start to develop, absolutely. I think personality, for example. Like to talk to the president, let's say. Ah, so diplomatic protocols. How do you talk to the president, how do you negotiate those more formal interactions or encounters in life? We're starting to tiptoe up to some territory that I think is really interesting. Did anyone have a negative thought? I did, bad manners popped into my head. Bad manners, okay, so rudeness, incivility, bad manners. Particular examples of bad manners? Well, just the idea that like you not wanting to have it, just being raised and being aware of, oh, don't have bad manners, that's a bad thing. Sure. Or the nitpicking nature of manners policing. Ah, now we're starting (man laughing) to get somewhere. Or the nitpicking nature of manners policing. Yeah, yeah. Strictness. Strictness, yeah. Let me help you out. I've done this many times with many audiences, outdated, old-fashioned, stuffy, arbitrary, put-on, irrelevant, elitist, classist, judgemental, overly strict. I really like that outdated, old-fashioned. Isn't this something from my grandmother or great-great-grandmother's age? The Emily Post Institute, the backbone of what we do is publishing. We did a brand study in cooperation with our publisher a number of years ago, where we looked at the word etiquette, and they charted people's responses to this word, and they used a bullseye graph to chart people's responses to the word etiquette, and they got a really interesting and for them unique distribution in terms of their responses to the word etiquette. The center of that bullseye represented responses that had a positive connotation, and the periphery of that bullseye represented people's associations with the word that were negative or had a negative connotation or association, and the distribution of responses that they saw to the word etiquette, people's first reaction, instantaneous impression was either a tight cluster right in the center or a very broad distribution all around the periphery. So this was a brand analysis, and they really don't know how to advice you how to approach this word because people have very strong positive associations and very strong negative associations with the word. Some people think about things like manners, they think about a person that was important to them, a mother or a grandmother or a mentor who taught them something important in their life. Other people think about being judged, being excluded. People think about a code of conduct that really doesn't apply to them or their lives.

Class Description

Why is proper etiquette so important? Simple. Because when we misbehave or exhibit poor judgment, we alienate people. But when we act in appropriate, socially acceptable ways, we develop strong bonds.

Healthy, positive relationships are critical to every aspect of our lives, including the world of work. This course teaches the fundamentals of good professional etiquette and offers three goals that will improve your relationships, raise your self-esteem and help you avoid the most common personal mistakes people make.

In this class, you’ll learn how to:

  • Understand the principles of good etiquette.
  • Define etiquette according to the writings of Emily Post.
  • Utilize the three essential goals that will improve your relationships.
  • See things from other people's perspective.
  • Avoid common sense blunders.


Angela Sanchez

A clear course on basics of etiquette everybody should know so we can live in a better world. Recommended!