Tips to Improve Your Work Relationships

“Rudeness and bad behavior have grown over the last decades, particularly at work. Insensitive interactions have a way of whittling away at people’s health, performance and souls. Do you act like you have no time to be nice at work? Find out with this article for the New York Times.


Everyone knows that the way we treat each other at work matters… -So then why do Human Resource Directors Spend more than 45% of their time managing bad behavior? Before you answer that question…Let’s take a Quiz on How You Feel About Your Workplace:

Scale of 1 to 5…1 being Always and 5 being Never

  1. People I work with are Disrespectful.
  2. My Colleagues fail to pass along information or resources.
  3. My Co-workers are uncivil in email.
  4. People I work with pay little attention or show little interest in others.
  5. My colleagues neglect saying please or thank-you.

As you answered the questions above, you probably recalled specific incidents that lead to your answer. So, take a moment to think about the last time you were kind at work? Well?…still thinking? Put simply, it takes work! If we all spent a small amount of time to be nicer at work, you would be surprised how your relationships at work will improve (and that improvement might help your paycheck)

Try these easy manners at work:

  1. Share something funny with a colleague that normally you would share with a personal friend. If it makes you laugh, chances are it might make them laugh too, and lighten their mood.
  2. Have some small talk! If you know someone has young children-ask them how they are doing, or if they had a fun weekend with the kids.
  3. Use your mealtime manners, and invite a coworker to lunch.
  4. Coffee at work…Make an extra bit of caffeine work for you by buying coffee for the office or a colleague.
  5. Say thank you when someone gives you a compliment…And be sure to send a compliment back to another colleague in the same day.

Being civil and kind at work has its benefits…One that we really like is it makes people around you happy! So, we hope you can find time to practice MMI’s tips to building better relationships at work…Oh, and the quiz you took. If you answered 1-3 to any of the questions-Your workplace needs MMI Consulting. Give us a call, send us an email so we can chat about how to improve your workplace. We would love to hear from you!


Demetria and Lisa

Etiquette Experts


Is It Mannerly to Be Better Late than Never?

Its the most wonderful time of the year…Right? Well, it so happens that for many of us-this time of the year can be challenging and disappointing. We get caught up with all the invites(or maybe nobody is inviting us because of our bad behavior-we will talk about that later). And we get busy buying for others at the last minute. (BTW-70% of those shoppers are men Hmmm) Also, we are all trying to find that perfect gift for all those on our lists. So, take a deep breathe, Please pause

           Keep Calm and Manner On!

  • Santa-Christmas-LastMinuteBe Merry – Try to listen to all the “good will” news stories-and permit them to help you be grateful and merry.
  • Be Nice – Try to use the “golden rule” when shopping.
  • Be Present – Try to spend more “real” time with family and friends. Do not overload your day, and rush in and out of events
  • Be On Time – Try your best not to be late. It is not mannerly. However, here are some tips from MMI to help you when you do make yourself late…..Christmas and Other relative holidays exist to reminds us to think about others that are less fortunate, and to be thankful for what we have in front of us. So, we encourage you to share your “spirit of intentional goodness: regardless of the delivery deadline .

Include the following comments in your late cards or gifts with sincerity:

  1. I know I am late with this card, yet I want you to know that I am thankful that you are a part of my family.
  2. Please accept my apology for the late delivery.
  3. No excuses. I never intended my delivery of gifts to arrive after the holiday.

On a final note, Mother, May I is grateful for our family, and friends. We want to thank you for your support in 2015-and here is to a New Year-New You in 2016.

Demetria and Lisa

How to Be on Your Best Behavior at your Office “Party”

Hey Boss, Is that Mistletoe?

seamless-office-holiday-party-madmen.jpg (500×380)Before you make grievous errors in judgement at your holiday party and plunge headfirst into the punch bowl, remember you’re still at work. And remember to practice our tips on leaving the best impression on your colleagues in 2015.  40% of coworkers said they have either done or witnessed an inappropriate act at the company’s holiday gathering.  Many of the year’s firings happen after such a gathering.  Let Mother, May I help you not be part of that statistic.

First of all, though it’s called a “party,” it’s really a test. Don’t think for a moment that your drunken antics or sheer blouse will be forgotten when your annual review rolls around and you ask for a raise. It is possible to be festive and at your best while staying within the bounds of professionalism. You can pass the holiday test with high marks by reading and applying our advice. Take the following test-answers are at the end of our blog(should we put them on our website)

  1. May I wear the same clothes to the “holiday” party?work-banner_01
  2. Should I bring a gift to the organizer with me?
  3. May I bring a colleague who is looking for a job at my company?
  4. Can I bring some mistletoe and hang it near the beverages?
  5. May I use this setting to ask that girl with the curly hair out?
  6. Can I bring my own beverage of choice?
  7. May I talk about my progress at work with my boss?
  8. Can I make a toast during the “holiday” party?
  9. May I ask to take a “doggie” bag of leftovers?

So, how did you do? Are you ready to be at your best behavior? Here are the answers to help you get ready and gauge your E.Q. (Etiquette Quotient)

  1. May I wear the same clothes to the “holiday” party? Sometimes. Its okay to wear the same work clothes, if the party is during work hours, and is held at your workplace. If the party is outside of work time, and held at a different location-then take some time to wear a “holiday” appropriate outfit that best represents you.
  2. Should I bring a gift to the organizer with me?  Not at the party. The gesture of bringing a gift is nice, however now is not the time. Be sure to send a thank-you note immediately after the party. Your host is going to be busy hosting, and will not have the time to accept your gracious gift.
  3. May I bring a colleague who is looking for a job at my company? It Depends. Unless the RSVP requested bringing your spouse, mother, immediate family member, you may not bring a guest. So, you carpool with someone-have them make other arrangements.
  4. Can I bring some mistletoe and hang it near the beverages? No, you may not bring anything unless a specific request is required-such as a gift to toys for tots, or a potluck dish.
  5. May I use this setting to ask that girl with the curly hair out? Definitely Not, this is not the time to find love. If you’re serious about your job and career, you’ll keep your love life separate from your work life.
  6. Can I bring my own beverage of choice? No, you may not bring your own beverage of choice. Be respectful to your organizer, and enjoy the venue they provided.
  7. May I talk about my progress at work with my boss? No, Leave work at work. Bring a good attitude and smile throughout the party. People will find you approachable.
  8. Can I make a toast during the “holiday” party? No, not necessary. The holiday party is not your platform to be recognized. Mingle amongst everyone and mind your manners when making introductions.
  9. May I ask to take a “doggie” bag of leftovers? No, do not be tempted to take those delicious leftovers. AND DO NOT try to leave with a drink in your hand. Unless, there is a “take” away gift-the last thing to do is thank the host-Say good-bye to your boss, and leave a lasting good impression.

BLG-XXXX_Holiday-DressingPlease enjoy this time of the year by making your best impression and good memories. For more expert advice, be sure to take a look at another blog we’ve written that reached you How to Stand Out at Your Holiday Party. If you have a specific question for us, don’t hesitate to reach out directly, and please email us at We promise to answer quickly as we know those holiday parties are around the corner!

Demetria and Lisa

Etiquette Experts

Mother, May I


What is Most Important This Thanksgiving?

TurkeyDid you know that some of your best memories are made while gathered around a table? Thanksgiving is a wonderful, memory making time of year to be with family. Do you remember what you said you were thankful for at last years Thanksgiving celebration? Be prepared to state what you are Thankful for this year.  Make everyday a little like Thanksgiving by finding what you are thankful for…being grateful everyday makes find you positive part in everyday life. Thankful

This Blog is about being Thankful.

Do you really need a blog to tell you how to be thankful? I doubt it. Yet, it takes some mindful thoughts to help you answer everything that you are thankful for… Where ever you may be gathering this Thanksgiving, whether with family, friends, or solo—try to be thankful for what AND who you have (even if its just YOU). If you need help on how to be are a few tips:

  • Keep a gratitude journal.-This is such an awesome way to make yourself feel better when you need some uplifting words and memories.
  • Use the right words to turn your thinking around. Talking about things with a negative connatation, only leads to negative thinking.
  • Practice mindfulness while you are eating, going on a walk, or in a conversation. I use the word practice, because it takes ‘practice’.
  • Begin to cultivate a healthy lifestyle. Sounds challenging. Yet, if you don’t challenge yourself-you are not going to change.
  • Tell someone you appreciate them. I LOVE this one. It is a great way to start feeling and being Thankful.

This thanksgiving take the time before sitting at a table, and celebrate happiness, success, health, and the memories that have grounded you. AND….Be sure to think about those people who you feel you could not live without.

Although Mother, May I believes that good mealtime manners are important, and help you make a great impression, the family time at Thanksgiving are what make good memories. Good memories can be made when you said up about sincere gratitude that answers ‘What you are thankful for…’, and let someone realize you are thankful for them.

We would love to hear your answers..your replies help us recognize whats important to you.

Have A Thankful Thanksgiving Everyday..not just this November.

Oh, and by the way-if you are wondering—What am I, Demetria, thankful for? I am thankful for having infinitely great support from my husband, George. And I am also thankful for having trust in God. (who is never too busy to be present with me-just like George)

Demetria and Lisa

Etiquette Experts-MMI

What Manners Speak Loudest for Veterans?

Image135Let’s Raise the Flag and Our Level of Respect for Veterans with it. 

No other photograph makes me more aware of my freedom. November 11th is the observed holiday that raises our awareness to those who defend our freedom. This historic photograph stands behind the date of February 23, 1945. It’s 70 years old -and still resonates as the most significant and recognizable image of war. What resonates the most for you on Veterans Day?-Hanging your Flag?, Saying Hello to a uniformed soldier?, Calling a friend who served and saying Thank You?… Don’t let this Wednesday pass by without recognizing a veteran.

Historians have the identity of the six men raising our nation’s flag. But, who are the other 19 million faces that have raised their hand to guard our freedom?

Recognizing a veteran might not be all that simple these days. Fortunately, many of them are out of uniform, and unfortunately many of them are homeless.  How can you recognize a veteran?

Everybody can do something. Every American. Every business. Every school… Please let’s all set out a goal to do a mindful manner towards a veteran on 11.11.15. Here are eleven simple tips you might not know:

  1. Properly display your flag
  2. Change one light to green in a visible location-on your porch, in your home, or at your officeScreen Shot 2015-11-09 at 11.38.16 PM
  3. Hire a Veteran.
  4. Help send a care package to a service member. My local mail center is always collecting boxes for our active veterans
  5. Donate online to a supporting qualified charitable organization.
  6. Donate your older car through the service of Veterans of Foreign Wars Foundation.
  7. Take your running to a different level, and run for Homes for Our Troops
  8. Buy a ticket for a Vet to attend a Fun event.
  9. If you own a business, offer a discount service or  something free to anyone identifying themselves as a veteran.
  10. Take the time to tune in on HBO to watch an uplifting and emotional tribute on 11.11.15 at 7pm.
  11. My Favorite—Say Thanks, Look at that veteran, or active military person-and say Thank You…

Stand up and be thankful for your freedom.

Semper fidelis


Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

Can Manners Be Recycled?

Give a hoot and don’t pollute.350px-People_Start_Pollution_-_1971_Ad

With that said, littering or doing anything improperly or inappropriately is not mannerly. Throughout, human history, people have disposed of unwanted materials onto streets, waterways, in small local dumps or often in remote locations. (Wikipedia). It’s no surprise that littering has an effect on your quality of life.

Did you know, that having the right manners can also affect your life. So, since we have all been doing our best to not litter, why is there a shortage on manners?

Our manners being disposed of today is obvious. Nearly, 70% questioned in an Associated Press-Ipsos poll ( said people are ruder today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Do you think that the person who intentionally litters also has bad manners? Interestingly, research by Keep America Beautiful, found that 75% of Americans admitted to littering in the last five years. Well, I guess we can respect the fact that those who are littering are being accountable. However, it’s becoming easier not to litter. There are all kinds of recycling and repurposing containers and laws to help us give a hoot to not pollute.

So why can’t Americans be more intentional on behaving properly and acting appropriately?  Do you think that as we take the time to not litter, we decided to put our manners to the curb?

Our society has managed to make a difference in their environment by recognizing the importance of recycling. Why have we not managed to behave better as well towards each other. From road rage in the morning commute to the high-decibel cell-phone conversations that ruin our dining, men and women behaving badly has become the hallmark of a hurry-up world. How can we convince each other that manners matter more today than before? Using your manners everyday make as much a difference in your life as much as recycling your water bottle.

Let’s try to put the same effort into recycling into making manners matter. Be a good scout and  help us work our recycling efforts into our daily manners- here are 7 tips to accomplish each day of the week. 

  • Sunday-While addressing the needs of your property such as leaf blowing, trash collecting, ask your neighbor if they need any help around their home.
  • Monday-Getting the trash ready for the week pick-up, be sure to ask your housemates if they need any debris collected as well.
  • Tuesday-Take some time to learn the new recycling labels. And share your knowledge with others.
  • Wednesday-If you see something, say something. Alerting others to their publicly displayed bad behavior may be a challenge, yet if you can offer some polite interference-you might have made a difference in the outcome of their day.
  • Thursday-Drink your daily allowance of water out of a recycled container, and offer a stranger a kind gesture.
  • Friday-Reuse those leftovers in your fridge by creating a different dinner. Invite a few friends over for a “Pop-Up” Leftover Picnic.
  • Saturday-Send out a note to someone, on recycled paper.

What matters most when it comes to littering is the same when it comes to manners. Respecting each other and respecting our environment go hand in hand. It takes one good deed a day to impact someone’s life. It takes one recycling can to carry reusable containers to the right place. So, as long as we agree to be kind and mindful to each other-our efforts will be recycled into a kinder society for years to come.

So, lets’ think twice, and just be nice…

Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts



What Do You Wear to Work?

First things first: Transparency belongs in the workplace in your communication skills, not in your clothing choices.

Every morning you spend time (valuable time) dressing yourself.  Some mornings you might find yourself spending way too much time getting ready, which in turn may make you late and unprepared for your day. We want to inspire you to change your work performance by changing your clothes. It’s a challenge that we know you can accomplish.  Knowing how to dress yourself well will give you an advantage over your peers. How to Simplify Dressing Business Casual Daily.

bad-work-clothesYour clothing creates your individual identity. Although you should never judge a book by its cover, if you’re in a big office with a lot of employees, then it’s possible the only impression your boss really has of you is how you present yourself. Business dress has undergone such radical shifts in the past ten years that people simply no longer know what is appropriate anymore. However, some things never change-And the following tips are all you need to make a clothing change which will make a change in your professional success:So, let’s start at the top:

  • Your hair. Spend some time with a hairstylist that can help you with a style that is easy to create, and easy on the eyes. Save your updo’s for a wedding or a date-And the amount of makeup you wear should enhance your beauty, not create it. Going to work looking like an avatar will lessen your credibility.
  • Make sure you are always dressed appropriately for work with clean clothes …clean means clean. Soiled clothes speak more of slovenliness and poor personal habits than of rebellion and “cool”. Forget about finding a “hot spot” and take time to inspect your clothes for spots.
  • Smart clothes…mean that they don’t have a special pocket for your smart phone. It means to wear clothes that are practical and permit you to move comfortably in and out of your chair or cubicle.
  • Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Use your own style, as we suggest above, but match your dress style to your company’s’ level of formality.
  • Dress for the time of day…with the holidays approaching, many of us will be attending parties after work. Bring in your after-work attire and change your outfit after the official workday is done. NO Exceptions.
  • Keep it understated…allowing your clothes to speak without shouting. That is the hallmark of the well-dressed.
  • Reality is that you represent your company. Whenever you deal with people from the outside, your clothes reflect your company. Always be prepared to look your best.
  • Don’t be a fashion victim. Your work clothes are an investment into your success. Don’t let “what’s in or what’s cheap” be your guide. Keep your personal style in check with your company’s culture.
  • Finally, most of our presentations, our client wants us to address the issue on clothes that reveal too much. The smart business dresser knows that transparency belongs in their work communication and projects. Keeping your colleagues, bosses, and clients focus on your work not your body will move you up that corporate ladder without missing a step.

Following the above tips is simple – If you value your job, and yourself, taking some time to clear out your closet, and ask Mother, May I for advice is what will help you succeed in dressing well for your career. These days, it’s easy for us to get complacent about our appearance. However, some things will never change; People judge you by your clothes; dressing appropriately at your company is a vital ingredient in making a good impression and maintaining that good image every day.

We want you to put your best foot forward every day!

Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

Pardon the Interruptions-The Pope is Talking

PopeWell, these past few days had many interruptions due to the Papal Visit. And, those interruptions might have been worthwhile-such as, a break from your regular traffic route because you decided to watch the Pope a little longer. That type of interruption was welcoming-We have had our  days  and routines interrupted time to time. But, is it just me, or do I feel like conversations are being interrupted more often these days?

Did you know?

  • We can comprehend and listen at the rate of 600 words per minute?
  • On the average, we speak at the rate of 125-150 words per minute. (No wonder, at an auction all we have to do to respond is raise our hand-did I just interrupt my blog?)

The fact that our society has encouraged a lifestyle that not only makes our minds work at a faster rate, but makes other things happening around us work as fast. This means that our minds are working faster when listening to others. ( No wonder it’s a struggle to keep on topic.

Have interruptions become such a trend that they are now a natural part of conversation? There are times  we don’t realize we are interrupting.  Let’s take a step back and name the reasons why we interrupt:

  1. We need help.
  2. We need attention.
  3. We are bored with the current conversation.
  4. We are wasting our time.
  5. We want to change the topic, for some other reason.
  6. We are arrogant.( Trump – are you reading this?)

Mother, May I wants to help you improve yourself professionally and personally, we believe that interruptions  whether intentional or not can be controlled.

If you don’t want someone to interrupt you, then practice the following in conversation:

  1. Spell out your intentions up front – For example, “Thanks for meeting with me this morning. I’m not sure how to handle this sticky situation at work. Here is what happened-and I value your opinion/advice.”
  2. Your time is valuable – Find what works for you in regards to answering the phone and replying to emails. Interruptions happen while other interruptions are ongoing. Communicating with others about your available time will help others respect your time, and not interrupt you.
  3. Give advice when asked – Unsolicited advice is rarely appreciated. If there is something you want to discuss and it is off-topic, do not interrupt, wait and find a better time to offer advice.

Watching and listening to pieces of  the Popes recent visit was enticing. It was refreshing to stop, pause, listen and reflect on the media coverage, and mainly, listen to the Pope. Did you notice his deliberate moments of silence?  Thousands upon thousands experienced the bliss of silence and reflection during the Pope’s visit. Regular conversation with a person like the Pope will likely never happen. And, if you or I ever had the chance to talk with him, the idea of interrupting him is unfathomable.

So, chances are we won’t have the pleasure of talking with the Pope, yet we can all improve our communication.

Next time you have a conversation with anyone, your parent, a friend, a colleague, try to slow it down a bit. Pay attention to what they say, and don’t be afraid to ponder your answer and pause, before developing a response. You may be able to improve your response and answer the question better. Also, listening  more closely will  make the conversation more enjoyable and enriching for both parties involved.

If you would like to learn more about communication, and take a look at how it reflects on yourself  in the your profession, listen to our latest podcast. We will be sharing it on our social media platforms on Monday, next week on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Listen to Mother, May I with Emery Mulling of Mulling At Work, a segment on Talk of the Town 1160 Radio, and listen to us chat about How to Improve Professionalism in the Modern (often interrupted) Workplace.

Demetria and Lisa

Co-Founders Mother, May I


3 Manners to Leave a Great Impression

What makes a great impression? Today, making a good impression is easy. Saying hello and making eye contact and extending your hand are all simple ways that create a good impression. However, in today’s competitive world, Making and leaving a great impression is a challenge.

Believe Mother, May I when we tell you that people do want to hear about you. When you meet someone, they want to hear about what you do and who you are. Be prepared to have that short “elevator” speech that engages the people you are with. Make yourself present by lighting up your social crowd.

Being an engaging and fun person to be around goes hand-in-hand with having good manners and leaving a good impression. Speaking of which, Pittsburgh will be making an impression this Friday by hosting an amazing event.

I have to share that this weekend Pittsburgh will be on stage for hosting our first Diner En Blanc. Visit the White en Blanc – Pittsburgh website to learn about this amazing social movement that encourages dining with strangers. We will all be dressed in white, and conducting ourselves with the best decorum, elegance , and etiquette, all meeting for a massive “Chic Picnic” in a public space.


So, for those of you attending the White en Blanc event, and also those of you that are constantly meeting new people, professionally and socially…Here are 3 Steps to Help you Succeed in Leaving a good Great Impression:

  1. Looking good and well groomed wherever you may be…I know that in some places, yoga pants have crossed into the workplace for appropriate attire-However, your everyday appearance should always send a strong message about you. You don’t get a second chance…We make a judgement in the first 2 seconds we lay our eyes on you. At the White En Blanc event, dress in all white -for ladies, I would include the shoes as well, while for men, white shoes may be harder to come by and therefore less of a no-no.
  1. Be prepared to talk about yourself in a positive manner. Nobody wants to hear the doom and gloom of your day. Give off a positive energy and find a positive talking piece about yourself that you know makes you smile when you talk about it. Lean forward into the conversation. Know that your body language sends out 65% of what you are really saying. Keep your comments short and clear in communication.
  1. Walk away from that social group with a thank you, and it was nice meeting you. Be sincere. Make people feel good by giving them approval. Make them feel good about themselves. Also, if you can, try to use their names if you remember them, as people like to hear their own name.

Leaving a Great Impression is a wonderful way to kick-start your Fall season. Challenge yourself with some new social setting goals.

For example, you could….

  • Go for a walk just to smile at a stranger.
  • Make a point to help someone at the grocery store.
  • Do something nice for someone at work.

– You will feel good about this small changes that you are making to your daily routine-and will be leaving behind a great impression on someone.

Let us know how someone left you with a great impression. And think about why that person was able to leave that impression on you…

Take Me Out to the Ball Game, I Promise to Play Nice…

I remember going to baseball games with my dad. I remember the pleasure in tasting a hotdog (before I became a pescatarian). I remember wishing to catch a foul ball. I remember people walking out to the bleachers in sleeveless shirts on a sunny afternoon. And I remember passionate fans following their favorite player. I remember people watching the game. Think about that!…Watching the game with no interference except for the promise of catching a foul ball. No one standing up in front of you to capture a selfie with the jumbotron in the background. Or endless photographers by the front row seats.

Today, going to a ballgame is a different experience. Today, you have to be more mindful of your surroundings. Today you must make an effort to be courteous of others attending from parking to tailgating. Here are some things Mother, May I suggests we should all practice when it comes to attending any sporting event:

  • Be mindful of where you park your car. Be sure you are not parking in an illegal spot for any reason.
  • Tailgating is a great opportunity to gear up for the game, but taunting the opposing fans or leaving trash behind shouldn’t be a part of the experience.
  • Helping those in need should always be a priority before getting to your seat. Assist others if they seem dazed and confused. Or if they need serious help, like the fans that helped save a mans life during a recent Pirates game.
  • Attending a stadium is a first time experience for many. Don’t push and shove others just to be the first to see the field.
  • Sit in your ticketed seat.
  • Be courteous to those sitting around you. Offensive language is never in style so refrain form using it, and don’t cross words with a foe.
  • Wait for the play to be over before excusing yourself to grab a hotdog.
  • Exit the stadium with manners, and your left over cups and wrappers.

Manners…just like baseball, are an important part of our heritage. People will follow good behavior, so be a champion of proper behavior!  Children will follow good sportsmanship. So no arguing, no pushing, or yelling…Just a good shout out from the umpire “your safe”!!!

Lets practice our best behavior this summer at all sporting events. Share with us your favorite sports memory on our Facebook page!