Tips for Building Stronger Teams at Work

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.53.28 AMSo… building a strong team at work seems like a simple task right?

Common Goal…Like-minded people…Perseverance…Same work ethic…Respect

Well it is actually much harder these day based on the complexities of the workplace.  Reliance on technology, smaller workspace, freelance and remote workers, the changing generational make-up of the workforce, more ethnic and gender backgrounds, less respect in general.  It is no wonder many companies call on Mother, May I/MMI Consulting to help get them the right toolsto create a more collaborative, productive team at work.

Since this is January and our theme is “Building” rather than “Resolving” to building more productive workplace here are some measurable tips to become stronger in your work relationships!

 1. Communicate! Communication in any relationship is key, and how the communication is delivered can be equally as important.  Be sure your communication method best serves the message. For example, relaying sensitive information may be best served with a face to face encounter vs an email.

 2. Understanding the best mode of communication is important.  You may be sending a text to a person who doesn’t have text messaging capabilities.  It is perfectlyprofessional to ask the person you will be communicating with what is their preferred communication method.

 3. Companies are excepting the use of social media at work…some encourage it.  But beware, if you are wanting your employees to be your brand ambassadors talk about the appropriate ground rules of engagement and set some limits. 

 4. Be authentic!  Trust can be severed or questioned in a minute if you are not honest and upfront.  Most people want to know the truth even if you don’t think they can handle the truth. (Like A Few Good Men.)

5. Listen!  You have 2 ears and one mouth.  Try using them in that ratio.  Active listening, with eye contact and sincerity goes a long way to improving and building trusting relationships. It is a fact that an empathetic listener is more likely to be trusted and respected. “Being a poor listener is associated with poorer social and emotional sensitivity.” according to a study in Psychology Today.

Screen Shot 2016-01-26 at 11.57.44 AM So as January comes to a close chase the goal of making your workplace more productive and profitable through your most important asset…your team!

Lisa & Demetria

Co-founders Mother, May I

Create a Stronger Team at Work with MMI


Take the  advice of Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts, on how to build “Professionality” in your workplace. Understanding the importance of mindful manners and professional protocol at work will improve your effectiveness and make a difference in your companies’ overall success.

We customize training sessions that address the specific needs of your company and organization. Mother, May I (MMI) has made a difference in the workplace experience of many companies and educational institutions. If you want to improve your company’s productivity through professional and civil behavior, then make the first move to connect with Mother, May I (MMI) on LinkedIn, Google+ or through our Facebook page today!

Here are some of our session topics:


Less Managing, More Mannered Moments: This session concentrates on reducing unprofessional or uncivil behavior in the workplace. More than 45% of a manager’s time is spent resolving conflict resulting from employee’s inappropriate behavior…what would it do your company’s bottom line if you could get 50% of that time back? And what better time to start that than early in the year?

Summer Internship SlouchThe summer internship has become a vital and competitive commodity for both the intern and the employer. Studies have shown the preparedness level of college graduates to move into the workplace, to be at an all-time low.  Mother, May I is here to bridge that gap. Internship programs are the best way to recruit the best full time candidates, so get the most out of the experience by including etiquette and professional protocol training in the internship process.

Holiday Guidelines: Reports have proven that the holiday season is a breeding ground for bad behavior. Adecco reports that 4 in 10 Americans, have either done something inappropriate or have witnessed poor judgment at a holiday office party. We can help by training managers and employees on the best way to navigate the holiday season to not end up with a trip to the HR manager’s office.

All Aboard Training: On boarding new employees is one of the most important tasks to ensure retention and a positive experience for the employee and employer. Including soft skill training like professionalism and civility will not only set you apart from other employers, but will improve the work experience for all involved. These skills easily transfer to client relationships too. So let’s get the train moving with MMI!

Cross Generational Communication: An unprecedented number of companies have 4 generations working under one roof. With that, brings a chasm in communication styles. Inappropriate communication will affect your company’s profitability and productivity. Let MMI help connect those dots, saving you money and time!

Dining Dilemmas: Did you know that more than 65% of all business related subjects are discussed over a meal of some sort. Knowing how to conduct yourself during a business function can be a make or break situation. We can train your team about appropriate behavior, from a causal event to a formal business dinner.a455b2224d56794307911a092456b8a5

Business Travel Abroad: We conduct country specific protocol training for your travelling employees. Being coached on a country’s culture before you travel will make the experience more respectful and productive.

MMI Consulting – This is an intensive one on one coaching program that can take technically competent employees and make them a professional superstar that will represent your company productivly with appropriateness and grace!

Visit the Mother, May I website or call us at 412.251.0712 so we can discuss your company’s needs. Build a better business one “Thank You” at a time!

[ File # csp6622093, License # 2466229 ] Licensed through in accordance with the End User License Agreement ( (c) Can Stock Photo Inc. / iqoncept

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders: Mother, May I/MMI

Bad Manners of 2015…The Year in Review!


So… we have decked the halls and spun the dreidel and now it is time to look back and reflect on the year gone by…

Here are some manner mis-haps that might help you jumpstart that New Year’s RE-invention list!

Not in any particular order, mind you, but we have hit the highlights or low-lights as you will see…

  • Respect the word integrity…do you know what that means? Webster’s definition: the quality of being honest and fairC.S. Lewis was quoted as saying “Integrity is doing the right thing, even when no one is watching”.  Tell Tom Brady from the New England Patriots that deflate-gate is not great!
  • Being respectful in politics…Clearly we all don’t see eye to eye when it comes to the political arena, but having the improper body language can make an emotionally charge conversation even more explosive. Tell President Obama & Vladimir Putin that.


  • Respect being a “good sport… Swiss plainclothes police entered the annual meeting of FIFA, soccer’s global governing body. FIFA executives accused of bribery and corruption. Now that is not setting a good example for any sport.
  • Respect for one another… Laurence Sternes said “Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guide our manners”. So a Taco Bell executive, Benjamin Golden , 32, was taken into custody after beating up his Uber driver! The video already has half a million views on YouTube
  • Respect your neighbor… Tell that to actor Tom Selleck who is accused of stealing truck-loads of water from a public hydrant and delivering the precious resource to his 60-acre ranch where he is said to grow avocados.
  • Respect in public places…Pop Star Ariana Grande, after video surfaced, appears to show her licking doughnuts at a shop in California. Local police said the 22-year-old singer and a friend appear to “maliciously lick” the doughnuts that a clerk says they did not pay for.

AG doughnuts

Did you know that more than 65% of all business conducted happens during a meal?…Well we are taught to not talk with our mouth full and at this year’s Nathan’s Hot Dog eating contest, there was no time for talking!

Social Media has a loud voice… Your questionable actions, which 5 years ago may have flown under the radar, now have wings thanks to Social Media. Public shaming trend growing on social media is a bad idea. Tell Donald Trump that! #benice!

Donald Trump gestures while addressing the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 10, 2011. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Original Filename: Conservatives Conference.JPEG-052a8.jpg

So as we bid farewall to 2015, we hope that Mother, May I has enlightened you’all on what to do when it comes to professional protocol and mindful manners.

Thank you for engaging and we wish you’all a happy and healthy New Year…


Lisa and Demetria

sample1         demetria2

Co-founders- Mother, May I

Manner RE-Invention with Intention!

Start on January 1

While New Year resolutions are driven by positive qualities of hope and optimism, they can also be related to a belief that the year brings a “fresh slate” to reinvent yourself.  Did you know that only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s resolutions…? So we like to use the term Re-invention instead. The terms mean to invent again or anew, vs resolving on a course of action.

So beside the popular re-inventions like losing weight or saving more money, we think January is a good time to re-invent your professional image and manners.


Intention is a good word too… Dr. Wayne Dyer’s bestselling books, describe intention as a key ingredient in making any change possible and positive.


So Mother, May I suggests reinventing your Professionality through earnest intention. Understanding that the result here will positively impact your professional and personal lives in 2016!

snip improve professioanlity

Some studies say 13 days some say 21, and studies have suggested up to 60 days depending on the change to be made. The time varies based on the person and the need to succeed. So we suggest mapping, physically mapping, out you professional improvements and prioritize, tackling the low hanging fruit first. Prioritizing is the first step to help jump start this Re-invention process.

The other things to keep in mind would be the following:

  • Keep it simple
  • Make it tangible
  • Keep believing you can do it!
  • Communicate your intentions/goals to some like a trusted friend or mentor. If you physically say it out loud, you become subconsciously accountable
  • Then practice, practice ,practice

What are the most important professional habits you can reinvent to get the best results at work?

We narrowed the list into some broad attributes that resonate in almost all professions. First on our habit trail would be:

  • Timeliness –Being on time is a critical component to your professional success. This goes not only for showing up to meetings and appointments but also in the timeliness of projects and responsibilities. Tardiness “costs U.S. businesses more than $3 billion each year in lost productivity. The effect on the bottom line of the average business is significant
  • Preparedness –Being late exhibits that you’re not prepared and again will give off an air to others that their time doesn’t matter. Unacceptable and very fixable!
    • Give a realistic time frame for completing all the tasks on your list. If they involve collaboration, make sure you place and communicate deadlines and allow for a little more time.
    • Always have paper and a pen on-hand. Do not show up empty handed to a meeting. We suggest to have a small notepad and pen at the ready. This gives off the impression that you are ready for the task at hand.
    • As for being prepared for a networking function or last minute meetings/event, use search engines like Google or Bing, to have at least a few factoids in your mental pocket to communicate at the appropriate moment.
  • Active Listening – We always say that you have 2 ears and one mouth and you should try to use them in that ratio. Listening with authentic intent creates a more productive exchange of information, and offers the speaker or your boss the impression that you, the listener, are more trustworthy and competent.
  • Reinvent your “digital” impression – Be an active and diligent participant in managing it! You control your destiny as it relates to your social media impression. Review all platforms on a bi-weekly basis and untag pictures and block or unfriend people who are posting inappropriate things. Most HR executives will check your social media before hiring a candidate…70% of candidates never even get to the interview phase based on what is found on social media.

You can end the year by making the right impression with people you count on…


Please let us know your New Year’s RE-inventions and let us know the difference it is making for you at work.

Happy New Year!

Lisa and Demetria

Co-founders- Mother, May I

Mannerly Holiday Tipping…


You have occasion to tip throughout the year right? The reason why we tip is to show respect to the service provider…so why should December tipping be any different? Well, I guess it is because December is the final month of the year and it gives us all cause for pause to remember the people who help us to get through our lives.

But why do we really tip? Take a look at’s Survey Statistics on Tipping.
Holiday Tipping statistic

The survey showed that 17% of people tip because of expectation, compared to 73% who do it to say thank you. About 6% tip out of fear they won’t get good service next year if they’re stingy. Fear should never be a factor in gifting.

So…knowing who you should tip, how much and when is important as you are making a positive impression on someone when you do. While gifting is a choice, not giving anything may leave an impression also…so be mindful of the message you may send.

Make your holiday tipping easy by following Mother, May I’s guide to who and how:

  1. First…Make your very own “Nice” list with those people who assist you on a regular basis. What is regular? If you find yourself calling for their assistance more than once a month—put them on your regular list.
  2. Sticking to a holiday tipping budget, and allocating cash or gifts starting with those closest to you, is the best way to handle a longer list
  3. Make sure you give that “Holiday Thanks” tip in a timely manner. Don’t give your holiday thank you tip at Valentine’s Day.
  4. Try to give the gift in person and be sure its presentation is perfect. Don’t stuff a crumply old green-back in the pocket of your handyman. Hand them the gift in a nice envelope or money card with a handwritten note.be_nice_santas_watching_tip_jar_stickers-ra2eb65ab312f4dbbb49962c2f74f66d7_v9waf_8byvr_324

This all may sound daunting so being prepared will help ease your anxiety. Having the list of people you are thankful for by Thanksgiving, will smooth out the delivery of your thankful tipping before the end of the year.

th (10)Lists that offer guidelines for tipping should be regarded as suggestions and not rules. So how much is appropriate? Make sure you don’t forget a universal rule-“location, location, location”… Some cities or service areas might have higher tipping amounts.

Property Manager-$20.00 or a gift card to Home Depot

Doorman or that person you say Hello to every morning on your way to work – $15 to $100. This one really depends on how often that person helps you beyond opening the door for you.

Housekeeper – Up to the cost of one visit

Mail Carrier – A small gift or a gift card up to $20.00

Hair and Nail Techs – up to 1 appointment cost.

Personal Trainer – $15-$25

Dog Groomer-Up to the cost of one session…Dog walker – 1 weeks’ pay

Sanitation Worker-$10.00 up to $20 each

Kids instructors or coaches – A small gift selected by the child

Favorite Neighbor-A thoughtful plant or gift card to their favorite shop

Even if a cash tip isn’t possible, send a hand-written note or a homemade food item. Pinterest is a good resource for some great holiday treats!

And here is one last tip…

As you end the year make the right impression with the people you count on…

Please let us know where your mindful tipping made a difference for those you count on.

Happy Holidays

Lisa and Demetria

Co-founders- Mother, May I

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


Succeed this Holiday Season with Proper Gifting Etiquette

Aggressive Santa Claus biting a gift box

Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza …oh my. This time of year is filled with joy, friends, family, fun and STRESS!  Coping with holiday stress is important… that includes mindful gift-giving.


Do I give gifts to my co-workers? To my boss? To my staff? Can I re-gift?

Well there are many questions… so let’s start unwrapping the answers…


Gift exchange at work?

Trying to find the right gift for people you really know can be tough let alone people you just work with. So we have several mindful suggestions when it comes to gift exchanges at work.

  • First off find out if your office is gift exchange friendly. The rules tend to be workplace specific. Some aren’t for ethics considerations.
  • Stick with professional but personalized items… so stay away from Victoria Secret and stick with something from Target, Brookstone or Harry and David’s
  • Understand and stick to the spending criterion. The worst thing you can do is to go over the spending limit while others have not.
  • There are other fun ways to exchange, like a grab bag or a White Elephant exchange.

A gift for the Boss or not? That is the question…

If you are considering adding your boss to your gift giving list year tread carefully. It isn’t all that common and if you want to give your boss a gift you need to think about the consequences. The risk is that your boss might see it as trying to twist the relationship and get an advantage.

Here are some tips if you decide to give:

  • Do your homework…research the history of gift giving in your office. Do other employees give gifts to the boss? If so what kind?
  • Be sincere… The best reason to give your boss a gift is to thank them for a specific act of kindness.
  • Don’t get personal… The worst gifts to give are either expensive or personal. Rule of thumb – Don’t give something that touches the body.
  • Buy a group gift… Agree on a budget, get consensus from the group and voila…everyone is happy.

Gifts to my staff?

Some companies don’t allow gift giving, so check the employee policy guide before you get your credit card out.

  • Make things equitable for all employees at the same job level…everyone should get the same monetary value gift.
  • Know your employees…Muslims don’t typically drink wine, vegetarians probably don’t really want that ham at Christmas and giving a diabetic a whole tin of Mrs. Fields cookies, will leave the recipient feeling that they have been treated impersonally.
  • But keep in mind, most people would rather get a financial bonus or a paid day off than whatever gift a company chooses for them.


And what about re-gifting? There was a stigma surrounding this practice but today it has taken on a new purpose…a re-purpose! But you need to be mindful, so here are some Mother, May I tips to help your re-gift is the perfect gift!

  • Re-gift with a thoughtful purpose, making sure the gift is meant for that particular person. The gift needs to be new and unopened.
  • Be sure to unwrap the gift and rewrap it for the new recipient. Do not embarrass yourself by leaving a card addressed to the original recipient inside the packaging.
  • Avoid re-gifting where social worlds might collide. If there are 6 degrees of separation, then be sure a misguided repurposed gift may not bring that separation closer.
  • It is green to re-gift. Better for that gift to land in a worthy persons’ hands than in a landfill somewhere. Can’t think of the perfect recipient? Donate it before tossing it in the trash!

Check out Mother, May I with KDKA (CBS) on the topic:

KDKA Article: Local Manners Expert: Re-Gifting Gets A Bad Rap


Another option for all of these gift giving scenarios is a donation to a co-workers favorite charity on their behalf…this is always a good deed.

Show your professsionality this holiday through mindful giftgiving… share some of your best or worst workplace gifts on our facebook page or respond to this blog.

Happy Holidays from Mother, May I

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders – Mother, May I






Another option for all of these gift giving scenarios is a donation to a co-workers favorite charity on their behalf…this is always a good deed.


Who is Affected by Your Ongoing Tardiness?



So….when is fashionably late a good thing?   Well from someone who claims to have been born 10 minutes late and who typically starts a conversation with “Sorry I’m late”, I may not be the right person to ask. But studies and fact based research emphatically says “No” to the notion that being late is an acceptable behavior. Not only will this problem put you in a perpetual state of chaos and haste, but you may convey a message to friends and coworkers that you do not value their time.    If this description sounds accurate, take note as we begin to explore being tardy…a sign of disrespect!

With the onslaught of cell phones, it has given people some sense of false security that notifying others of your perpetual tardiness is “ok”.


Well it is “ok” if you are detained because of an accident on the highway or a delayed flight…but many feel just by making the effort to call makes lateness ok. Well just because we can doesn’t mean that we should…and what it could mean, is that you don’t get “the job” or “the client”.

So what is the cause?

A study of 225 people with San Francisco State University, giving personality tests to determine what causes chronic lateness. As it turned out, “the late scored higher in several areas, including anxiety and distractibility, while placing somewhat below the timely in the areas of self-esteem and self-discipline.” So being perpetually late ends up becoming a cycle of anxiety and low self-esteem.

And how about the Millennials in the workplace… 60 Minutes and  Forbes Magazine  have done articles and segments and have determined, “They (millennials) have climbed Mount Everest. They’ve been down to Machu Picchu to help excavate it. But they’ve never punched a time clock. They have no idea what it’s like to actually be in an office at nine o’clock, with people handing them work,” “74% of them require a work/life balance”.

So where does punctuality fit in? And what is the effect?

  • Employees who choose to be late are showing blatant disrespect for the manager or administration. This can have damaging effects on the rest of the team.
  • Habitually late person is not only illustrating his own dissatisfaction with his workplace, but also affects the work habits and morale of others… If one or two people are consistently late for no reason other than they seem to think it’s not a problem, then the rest of the staff may start to have a problem.
  • If you are late you end up paying for it…literally! According to Diana DeLonzor, the author of  “Never be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged,”  tardiness “costs U.S. businesses more than $3 billion each year in lost productivity. The effect on the bottom line of the average business is significant: An employee who is late 10 minutes each day has, by the end of the year, taken the equivalent of a week’s paid vacation.”

ClockBut, interestingly, 44% of the hiring managers surveyed, via Career Builder, said they didn’t care if their employees were late as long as the work was completed on time and with good quality.

The bottom line…

If you have a flexible boss, who values your worth as an employee, then 5 minutes late here and there may not be an issue. It is when it effects other’s ability to get their work done is where employers have to draw the line.

Respectfully… Mother, May I  says make being early, work for you.  By being 10-15 minutes early to a business event or meeting can make a big difference in what you get out of it. It shows to savvy observers that you are prepared, and you may get a chance to make an impression on the key note speaker or the president of the company.

So now a days… I set my clocks fast, set reminders in my phone and use Starbucks locations as my early holding spot before a meeting. These work for me…

Tell us what types of things do you do to get yourself to be on time?


Thanks for reading,

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

How to Get the Most Out of a Networking Event


So….many people today feel that networking is the best way to find business opportunities.

But what is business networking anyway?  Well based on the book, Oxford Dictionary, the word is defined as:

Network (noun) 1 An arrangement of intersecting horizontal and vertical lines… 2 A group or system of interconnected people or things… (verb) 1 Connect or operate with a network… 2 (often as noun networking) Interact with others to exchange information and develop professional or social contacts.

…But it’s more than showing up and shaking hands; it’s about being prepared and proactive. Business networking offers a way to reach decision-makers which might otherwise be very difficult to engage with using conventional advertising methods. In addition, business networking brings with it the added advantage of recommendation and personal introduction, which are always very helpful for developing business opportunities.

So how can you make an impression on an individual at a networking event in a short amount of time?

  • Make a Good First Impression.
  • Do Your Research.
  • Know Their Industry.
  • Know Current News
  • Have Something Interesting to Say About It.
  • Keep the Conversation Going – Instead of making generic statements -keep things interesting and lead from one subject to another -the more you practice this, the better you become at it.

Knowledge is power – in networking, too! Research the people and companies present at the networking events you attend, read books about subjects you don’t know, and never stop learning –to help strengthen your networking skills, and yourself!

Natl book foundation

Did you know that October is National Book Month? Books are a wealth of information and used to be the only real resource we had to familiarize ourselves with topics and businesses. Now we have Google and other search engines that actually make finding out information about businesses or keynote speakers easy and fast. Well even if you are a bit of a wall flower, it is simple to Google 2 or 3 factoids or create a few soundbites based on what you learned. This will allow you to start a conversation, which could lead to an opportunity that may not have existed if you came in cold.

So with that in mind, here is a short list of efforts you can make to make your networking …work for you!


  • Networking is a contact sport…it is like the lottery, you have to play to win. So target the networking events that will benefit your networking goals and make sure you are mentally there as well.
  • Ask yourself what your goals are in participating in networking meetings as you can’t meet everyone. So be prepared with the short list of people you want to connect with and connect.
  • Keep in mind that networking is about being genuine and authentic, building trust and relationships, and seeing how you can help others.
  • Have an elevator speech prepared describing yourself decisively and positively as you may only have a few minutes in the initial exchange.
  • Ask open-ended questions in networking conversations. This means questions that ask who, what, where, when, and how as opposed to those that can be answered with a simple yes or no. This form of questioning opens up the discussion and shows listeners that you are interested in them.
  • Follow through quickly and efficiently on referrals you are given. When people give you referrals, your actions are a reflection on them. Respect and honor that, and your referrals will grow.
  • Call those you meet who may benefit from what you do and vice versa. Express that you enjoyed meeting them, and ask if you could get together and share ideas.
  • Hold volunteer positions in organizations. This is a great way to stay visible and give back to groups that have helped you.

group of business folk / all networking together / to generate cashSo stop thinking there are perks to being a wallflower and get out there and start building those important relationships today… you never know where they might lead.

Mother, May I works with college students and business executives to make networking a productive experience. Let us know how we can help you get the most out of your next networking opportunity.

“It’s the people we hardly know, and not our closest friends, who will improve our lives most dramatically”
Meg Jay  Clinical Psychologist,  Author of The Defining Decade, and speaker at the acclaimed 2013 TED talk.   


Thanks for reading and joining our network! Follow us on LinkedIn to find out about our next blog.

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

Mindful Manners for the Workplace


So….now that Labor Day has come and gone, the festiveness of summer seems like a distant memory. Most folks are back from vacation and the fall intensity is revving up. Not to say we totally slack in the summer, but in many industries, summertime is a bit more of a relaxed workplace. Many companies in Manhattan actually offer ½ day Fridays so that employees can get out of town for the weekend early. Hewitt Associates research over the years has found that compressing workweeks is a way to keep employees happy without spending a lot of money.

workplace reallyI’m not sure why workplace etiquette seems to still be on vacation too. Is office etiquette sadly fading away? Well Mother, May I is here to help correct that trend. To some people, manners seem to be an old-fashioned concept — some stuffy idea from when people were not allowed to wear flip flops to work. If you spend most of your week in an office environment, you probably know that working closely with colleagues can be a productive, rewarding experience. You also know that their quirks, bad habits, and thoughtlessness can slowly drive you insane.

So with that in mind, here is a short list of office pet peeves and reminders of the civil and professional behavior that you can practice in the workplace…

Cubicle clausterphobia

  • Cubicle claustrophobia: Too many people feel like their space is not their space. But even though a person works in an open area, it does not follow that they don’t deserve some privacy and respect.
    • Leave other’s belongings alone
    • Knock before entering another’s cubicle and don’t peer over cubicle walls
    • Use your indoor voice and don’t use your speaker phone unless you are alone or in a closed office space
  • Kitchen confidential: It is funny, as we canvas different employees, shared space maintenance is a common issue. If you put something in the refrigerator, you need to eat it or remove it before it goes bad. Leaving it there afterwards (and sometime long afterwards) is not only wrong, but frankly, gross.

Workplace refrig

    • Respect other people’s food
    • Clean up after yourself
    • Be responsibility for what you use in common spaces
  • Communication: Getting 10 emails when a brief face –to –face or phone call would suffice and solve any confusion
    • Not responding to emails in a timely manner is unprofessional
  •  “People not taking ownership for their actions” continues to be one of the most common pet peeve globally, chosen by 78 percent of total respondents.
    • No one is perfect so being authentic and transparent about an issue at work will save everyone’s time and improve productivity in the end.
  •  Showing up late for meetings: This is the office pet peeve that bothered hiring managers (65 percent) in the U.S. the most according to a LinkedIn survey.
    • Showing up late or ill-prepared gives the impression that your time is more important than others, even your bosses.   
  • Passive-aggressive feuding. This happens when a coworker has a problem, but instead of solving it through open communication, punishes you with a range of undermining tactics. This can include eye rolling, the silent treatment, or excluding you from lunch or happy hour.
    • It’s best to get the issue on the table and discuss it calmly, working together to find an agreeable solution. 

Henry Ford was quoted as saying that “Being likable was more important than the knowledge of the job.” He said, “You can teach someone the job, but teaching them how to work with others is much more difficult.”

Being civil and mindful of others in the workplace is a best practice.

Let us know how turning on the right manners benefited you at work!


Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts