Manners and Principles


How to Build Strong Relationships at Work


Lesson Info

Manners and Principles

We're gonna leave the three goals behind. I talked about a working definition for the word etiquette. We talk about etiquette at the Emily Post Institute as being a combination of manners and principles. You don't have etiquette without having both of these other components. You need manners and principles to have good etiquette. This is gonna provide a framework for a much larger discussion that we're gonna have about etiquette and its importance. So what are manners? Let's get more specific about manners. Manners are the particular expectations we have of ourselves and others in a given social situation. Those are the behaviors, those are the rules. That's the code of conduct, those are the particular points where we know what to do because we know the situation that we're operating in. Manners are critically important, they tell us what to expect of ourselves and what to expect of the people around us. They're useful, they're an important part of this equation. Manners change, they ...

change over time. That's the part of this equation that's constantly changing and evolving. They change when we move from one cultural context to another. We're gonna talk more about that as we continue this discussion. They change from one country to another, from one business to another, from one household to another. What stays the same, what's the part of this equation that persists? Well, that's the principles. The principles help us figure out how to act when we don't know the manner, when we find ourselves in a new or difficult situation, or how to resolve a relationship problem where we don't know a manner that applies. The principles are timeless and eternal, they persist. Here's your homework assignment, your first homework assignment, think about the calculus equation. We've got a pretty simple addition equation up here. What if it was a calculus equation? What if etiquette equaled manners derived from principles? What would that equation look like? I think it look a little bit like E equal MC squared, etiquette equals a sideways W with maybe some manners derived some principles somewhere. Equation equal manners derived from principles. You can usually figure out the manner or the expected social expectation if you're operating from core principles. So what are the core principles that we use to guide our assessment of manners at the Emily Post Institute? They're pretty simple: consideration, respect, and honesty. Pretty simple, and yet, they're abstract. These are abstract concepts, they're abstract terms and ideas. What is consideration? Let's start to get it just a little bit more concrete. Let's think specifically about what consideration is. I like a working definition for consideration. That's having an awareness of others. We talked about thinking about others, about other people's perspective mattering. If you believe in the idea that other people's perspective matters, maybe you also start to cultivate the quality of empathy in yourself. We talk about those mobile devices that are a challenge to our manners. There's a growing body of research about how those devices are impacting our capacity to empathize with each other, that all this mediated communication that we experience makes it harder to connect emotionally to the people around us. Here's another homework assignment, start practicing your empathy. Walk into a room full of people, and when you find yourself compelled to take out your mobile device, just stop, take that moment to look around, see the other people in the room, and ask yourself how they're feeling. Go even a step further, ask yourself how what you're doing is impacting the way those people are feeling. Just notice. Your capacity to empathize will increase. It's a muscle like any other. If you practice with it, it will get stronger. It's a relatively small step to take that will have tangible and powerful impacts in your life. Practice empathy. Practice it with the people you care about the most, practice it with your family, with your friends. There are incredible rewards to be reaped. Let's talk about respect. Oftentimes, consideration and respect are synonyms for each other. If you look them up in the dictionary, they will oftentimes refer to each other. I like a working definition for respect, that's recognizing the worth or value of others. Recognizing the worth and value of others. It's also important to have respect for yourself and for the things around us. Complex systems theory tells us that once a system reaches a certain level of complexity, if it collapses, it can be almost impossible to recreate. There are incredibly complex systems that support all of us in everything that we do. Having respect for those systems, for those traditions is an important part of having good etiquette. But it's also fundamentally important to have respect for yourself and for the people around you. Respect for others, respect for self, respect for things. What do we mean by respect? Recognizing their worth and their value. So we're just gonna start to parse out, there's gonna start to separate our idea of consideration from our idea of respect. And finally, the concept of honesty, being truthful, but it's also about being sincere, being genuine, being authentic. Some of those negative associations about the word etiquette involve a lack of authenticity, a lack of sincerity or relevance about the material that we're talking about. I think if you're really operating from a principle of honesty, that you're gonna hold to that integrity, that you're gonna have that sincerity and that authenticity as well. So we're getting more concrete, we're starting to get there. But let's get really concrete, let's go from these very abstract concepts and principles and start talking about how we can put them into action so they become recognizable, tangible parts of who we are and how we interact with other people. You being etiquette into action by embracing those three goals that I was talking about. You show your consideration by thinking before you act. So powerful. When I'm talking to business audiences, oftentimes, corporate mission or values statements are built around concepts like consideration, respect, and honesty. Your trusted advisor, an organization you can trust, a respectful member of your community, these are corporate mission and value statements that are built around these abstract concepts, but how do you make them tangible in the way that you do business? How do you make them tangible attributes, things that people can recognize and see in you? Remember, other people aren't gonna see your good intentions. I know you're all considerate, respectful, honest people; but how to people see it in you, identify that is part of who you are? Think before you act, you show consideration. You show respect, big surprise, I've given away my reveal here, by making choices that build or grow relationships. You show that you value other people, that you care about them, that you respect who they are by making choices that show you value them, by growing or fostering those relationships. And finally, you show your honesty, your commitment to truth, through the sincerity of what you do. Well, I don't wanna put please and thank you in too many of my emails 'cause people won't think I'm sincere. Well, if you can't write the word please or thank you and have people take you seriously, we've got some work to do improving your personal brand. It's a really powerful concept for me, that you can take these core principles that I think we can all agree are significant and matter, and make them tangible, explicit parts of how you conduct yourself, how you behave by embracing three simple goals. We still haven't talked about which fork you use. We still haven't talked about how to format a letter for business or for social correspondence. We haven't talked about who you introduce to whom or how you ask someone to dance at a gala event. The things that many people associate most immediately with etiquette. And yet, I think we're starting to combat rudeness. I like to pepper my talks with things that my mother told me. We spent a lot of time talking about consideration and respect, about the perspective of others, recognizing their worth and value. I wanna talk just a little bit about honesty. If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember anything. It's an absolute liberation. If you always tell the truth, you never have to remember anything. It's a powerful, powerful concept. I'm gonna tell you a little story. Growing up, I was a white liar. I liked to exaggerate, and I liked to embellish stories. I didn't practice to deceive, but I liked to tell stories in ways that made an impact. I've limited myself in terms of how I tell that Bruno story. I've stuck to the elements that I know I can identify, that I've heard from other people as true parts of the story. That fish gets a little bigger every time you talk about catching it. You get a little closer to that hole in one, the further that game gets in the past. Show a commitment to truth. Really take a look at yourself. It's a liberation, it's a powerful idea to hold yourself accountable. When I'm working as a consultant for people, when I'm talking to people about making business decisions, oftentimes, the standard that I use to reach the decision that's ultimately most effective is, well, what's the truth here? What's the truth? I don't know how to talk this person about X, Y, or Z. What's the truth, what's the difficulty? What's the thing that you wanna say to them, what's the issue you're trying to resolve? It's a powerful standard. So, those are the three principles of etiquette, three goals to put them in action.

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!