Bad Manners of 2015…The Year in Review!

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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.

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  • 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…

Cheers!

Lisa and Demetria

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Co-founders- 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 thankful..here 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

How to Be an Outstanding Host for the Holidays

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Thanksgiving is almost upon us, so we thought we would take some time to talk about being a good host. Have you ever been over someones house and didn’t feel very comfortable? Don’t let that happen to your house guests. Make sure your guests feel at home while in your home, and alleviate stress for everyone. Making people feel at ease and at home or at an event is an art form, but it really is your responsibility as a host to make the experience for your guests the best it can be. Even the most carefree parties demand guests and hosts alike meet certain expectations.

What does that really mean? Do you think you are a good host/hostess? Here are some tips to help you be an ‘Outstanding Host for the Holidays’

  1. Invite clearly. Include necessary information for your guests in the invitation: the date, the time, the place, the occasion, the host(s) and when and how to respond “yes” or “no.” Add any special information such as what to wear or what to bring, say, for a pot-luck.
  2. Guest list…Take care creating your guest list. A great group of people will make any party a success and assist in seating arrangements – Take the guess work out of it for your guests and be strategic when determining who sits where.
  3. Be prepared and anticipate your guest’s needs, particularly if you are hosting someone with a food allergy or a friend from another country.
  4. Be welcoming and attentive. Make sure guests are greeted warmly, then made to feel welcome throughout the party. Look after each Screen Shot 2015-11-16 at 7.10.23 PMguest as much as you can. If you notice a guest with an empty glass or if there’s one person standing alone, take action and remedy the situation.
  5. Don’t fret about the unexpected. Be flexible, as not everything will go as planned. If an unexpected guest arrives or the food is a bit behind, adapt and don’t get spun up…your guests will take on your anxiety.
  6. Be the leader and the spark. It’s your job to run the show and let your guests know when it’s time for dinner, or dessert, or charades. Circulate among your guests, introduce newcomers, and stay with a each group long enough to get a conversation going.
  7. Be appreciative. Thank people for coming as you bid them good-bye. And don’t forget to thank anyone who brought you a gift.

Being a good host is a very doable thing…you just have to be aware of yourself and your guests, maintain balance. So start small…invite a few good friends and try our tips out on them. Let us know how it goes via our the MMI Facebook page.

Thanksgiving Thankful

 

Happy Hosting and Happy Holidays

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

Diner En Blanc…En Pittsburgh

Diner en Blanc Pgh

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A crowd of happy people, all dressed in white, converged on Gateway Center for a chic, pop-up BYO-picnic Friday night. The sole purpose of which was to create a unique evening in the city. There was a heady spirit of community at the fancy picnic, as well as a sense of elegance.

Diner en Blanc began in Paris in 1988 by François Pasquier, who invited a few of his friends one day in June. To find one another in the park, they all wore white. The dinner was such a success that they decided to repeat it the following year and the year after that. Over the years, the number of guests grew to 1,000-plus, and the trend spread to other cities.

Demetria and I jumped at the chance to be a part of this inaugural event, as it is after all, all about etiquette and protocol. Demetria was even asked to be one of the judges and selected the table setting that depicted Pittsburgh the best !

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Ashley and Steven Toth of Level Green PA took home high honors for their re-purposed centerpiece & elegant table setting.

I guess our enthusiasm for this event is layered…

  1. We love the longstanding history of Diner En Blanc, originating in Paris and popping up in major cities all around the globe.
  2. We love the formalness too. In our society where everything is so casual these days, it was fun to do something a bit more elegant.
  3. We love the fact that Pittsburgh was finally selected as a city to host the event !

Plus…

A long-standing Diner en Blanc tradition is the waving of the napkins to show occupation of space and kick off dinner… well Pittsburgh has been practicing that with our Terrible Towels over the years, so the towel waving was purposeful and executed with perfection !

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We had 1000 people this year…I say we try to double that for next year! (You can read more about the event on the Post Gazette.)

If you need any dining tips before then please feel free to contact Mother, May I today.

Thank you Jenny Altman, Crystal Vangura and Trisha Daniel for hosting the event and Bon apetit Pittsburgh!

DEB Pgh

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

 

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.

DinerEnBlanc

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…

How Manners Start From the Ground Up!

 

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In honor of Earth Day this week, I thought I would talk about where good manners started to grow. Some might view proper manners as a scene out of Downton Abbey Manners of Downton Abbey  . Well they actually have a different origin…though etiquette has been known since ancient times, it acquired its classic form in the Middle Ages. Most researchers dealing with history of culture attribute the appearance of etiquette as a regulatory system to those times… the “law” you might say, that was put in place to keep order. Etiquette had the character of the law and had a very strong influence on the high society. Violation of the rules of etiquette was regarded as a crime.

So fast forward to today…bad manners won’t land you in the stocks, but could deter your opportunities to get into the school you want, or get the job you desire. Learn more about Interview Etiquette here: College and Beyond with MMI

Some, feel manners are a lost art, but we say go to lost and found and find those manners, because good manners and professional behavior will find you avenues you may not have thought existed.

So we will start by discussing the “Family Table”…

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What’s that you might say?   Well as the name suggests, it is your family sitting around the table for a meal…consistently. From personal experience, that’s where it was sketched into my head: “Put your napkin on your lap” “Don’t talk with your mouth full!” “What do you say when you leave the table…oh yes…May I be excused?   Well that table talk has lost its priority and has been all but eliminated for lots of reasons:  multiple households, many afterschool activities, forgetting the importance, and the list goes on.

Our suggestion is to find that Family Table…even if it is only once a week! Treat that time as a technology free zone and go through the details of manners at the table with your family. Help create small talk during the meal by having everyone discuss the best part of their day. Hopefully they will say…this meal!

The New York Times just published an article about our up and coming youth Make Way for Generation Z . Preparing kids with the best possible soft skills, like manners, will improve their opportunities as young adults!     Good manners as a kid, turns into a positive impression, which turns into personal and professional SUCCESS throughout their lives!

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Mother May, I has contributed to a podcast on Tuesday, April 21st at 10AM EST.

Please tune in at Mom Talk Podcast Mother, May I and listen to some helpful hints for kids and young adults or click play below!

Let us know how you have created a Family Table. We would love to share your successes with our followers.

Thank you and Happy Earth Day…Grow something good today!

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders Mother, May I – Etiquette Experts

Upgrading Your Manners…It Will Pay Off For You!

 

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So… with the start of Spring (finally!) we thought it might be a good opportunity to conduct some Spring Cleaning in manners department. A refresher on some important modern manners , well it’s perfect timing!

Spring is the time when the Mother Nature rejuvenates herself…so why shouldn’t we?! Let’s start clearing out those closets of misfit manners and Spring into acting and behaving in a more professional and mindful way. In the world of business, it’s not always what you do but how you do it. With one small gesture you can impress, insult, appear cultured and educated, or simply reduce your credibility .

Here are some mannerly actions that will increase your E.Q. (Etiquette Quotient), increasing your confidence and marketability in the world!

Be on time…

Be on time and prepared….what that means in business affairs is 10-15 minutes early and google some pertinent information about the event or speaker. What can happen if you arrive early?

  1. You may get some face time with decision makers, who are typically early.
  2. You can take the time to find the best positioning for you in the meeting space.
  3. You can offer to help – offering assistance may convey your ability to collaborate, which may differentiate you from your peers.

See what this professional hockey player’s lack of timeliness has cost him… Pro Hockey player suspended for lateness

Dining Do’s and Don’ts…

Master the art of dining. It is not about eating with your mouth open or belching at the table…though those infractions are important, there is a much deeper nuance to a business meal, particularly if you want to make the right impression  More than 65% of all business is conducted during a meal of some sort. So sorting out best practices is important. So ask yourself…

  1. When do I RSVP?
  2. Where do I put my napkin when I stand?
  3. How to order or should I order a bottle of wine?
  4. When do I start that business conversation?

Salt and pepper

Learn more about Dining Etiquette with MMI.

 Communication…

Mindful usage of electronic devices/electronic communication. Many an opportunity has been won or lost based on how we communicate. In this 4G world the lines have gotten more challenging to navigate. So knowing how and when to communicate is critical in maximizing success. Do you know how to communicate between the multitudes of generations in the workplace ? Here are some tips:

    1. Learning how a company or client prefers to communicate is the first thing. So ask how you should be communicating, you don’t want to be texting when picking up the phone would be more appropriate .
    2. Knowing when an email has become misinterpreted and knowing what to do about it.
    3. Respecting the people around you when using your electronic devices. It’s rare to talk to a person without your phone buzzing at least once. So who is most important? That person in front of you or your electronic device buzzing in your pocket?  Brain Interrupted   

Personal space in a public place…

Being mindful of your surroundings and personal space. I am amazed the amount of people who actually take phone calls in a public restroom or in a cubicle space amongst 20 other cubicle spaces.

  1. Remember to use your indoor voice when speaking on the phone or with other colleagues in a confined space.
  2. The office refrigerator should not be considered your personal space…it is communal so treat it that way by clearing out your contributions on a daily basis. Don’t take what is not yours or you may get this note in return.

refrig letter

Do you want more advice on how to improve your E.Q.? Contact us… we will make your Etiquette Spring Cleaning a more pleasurable and profitable task!

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders – Mother, May I

Bad Manners of 2014…the year in review!

new-year-hd-clipart   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 get you started on that New Year’s resolution list!

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

  • RSVP…do you know what that means? Well lots of people missed that memo when a company sit down dinner party ended up with 96 extra guests! Read the full RSVP story.
  • Being mindful/considerate of personal space… Ever heard of “Manspreading”? Well it started making news from the inconsiderate practice of men taking up more than one seat on NYC subways. Read the entire Manspreading article.

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  • Respect our military… Several Presidents have been inadvertently inconsiderate when it came to protocol when greeting our military. We have always said multi-tasking is overrated! Read the whole Obama Coffee Salute article.

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  • 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!
  • Respect for one another… Laurence Sternes said “Respect for ourselves guides our morals, respect for others guide our manners”. Tell that to Donald Sterling, Ray Rice and Bill Cosby!
  • Proper dress will lead to success… Fashion faux pas were abundant this year, but one we thought was the most glaring and daring, and for her audience… inappropriate! Find out who here: NewsDay’s Celebrities Behaving Badly
  • 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. Toys R Us and Breaking Bad action figures, seemed like a Bad idea, well most of you thought so too.

 Let us know the biggest infractions that you found newsworthy this year! Share with us on Facebook or Twitter!

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

  • Cheers!

    Lisa and Demetria

    Co-founders- Mother, May I

Holiday Office Par-Tay – Is It Okay To ________ ?

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So…There are many ways to fill in that blank! Is it ok to bring something to the office Holiday gathering? Is it ok for me to bring a guest? Is it ok for me to have 3 adult beverages? Is it ok to just hang out with my current office circle of friends?

Well there are many questions to answer here and these answers, if answered correctly, can give you an opportunity to shine as a memorable guest…in a Nice way, vs. a Naughty way!

We have previously posted a surprising Adecco statistic about office party behavior…40% of Americans have been a part of or have witnessed inappropriate behavior during the annual holiday office gathering. One possible outcome… Pink slips are almost as frequent as red faces. More than 1 in 10 Americans say they know someone who has been fired for their inappropriate behavior at a holiday party. This behavior may include saying something inappropriate to a colleague (7%) or boss (4%), or drinking too much (20%).  Read CBS Philadelphia’s article on ‘Inappropriate Behavior At The Office Holiday Party‘.

So how do you shine at your office party?

  1. A holiday party is a much earned time to unwind and relax, but overdoing cocktails, may tarnish your reputation and could seriously damage your credibility. You know your limit, and if you don’t, stick with the 2 alcoholic beverage rule, hydrating in between cocktails. (You will thank us in the morning!)
  2. Office party attire is typically a bit more relaxed and festive, but please remember that appropriate attire is essential. Not too short, not too low cut and not too tight. Shoes you can’t walk in? How are you going to schmooze with the VP of that department you’ve been dying to break into if you can’t even hang by the punchbowl without a colleague to lean on?
  3. Break away from the folks you see all the time at work…this gives you an opportunity to network with some of your co-workers that you do not regularly interact with. Take the time to mingle, you will never know where it might take you. Have a list of potential topics in mind that will help you get a new conversation going.

 

If your company is planning a Holiday gathering, they may want to include Mother, May I in the planning process… Contact us today to book your pre-party Lunch-n-Learn!


Don’t be the last person to leave. Know your limit and excuse yourself before the inevitable gaffes come from someone else. Make an appearance, keep it professional, thank the host and then depart. In this context, nothing good ever happens after midnight!

tmg-slideshow_xl (2)So Mother, May I says err on the side of caution when attending your Holiday Office Party…or any party for that matter.

 

                                                Don’t be this guy… bad party behavior            Or this girl…5-Holiday-Dress-5

Happy Holidays and have fun, but think…it is more important to be remebered for your knowledge and wit vs. your thoughtless behavior or attire!

Please let us know some bad office party behavior you have witnessed, no names please, on our blog or Facebook.

Happy Holidays from Mother, May I

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders – Mother, May I

How Can I Be the Best Guest When Heading Out This Holiday Season?

So…there is lots of talk about being a “Good Host/Hostess”, but what about the guest? There are definitely some things you can do to become a “Good Guest”, a guest that will be remembered for the good things they did vs. the not-so-good things or even just shear indifference.

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Here are some tips to get your through this holiday season with dining debonair.

  1. RSVP in a timely manner, asking questions during the interaction. What is the attire? May I bring something? May I bring a date or a few friends? These leading questions will help guide you on what to do and not give your Host an unwanted “aha moment”.
  2. Did you know that 4 in 10 Americans, 40%, have either done, or know someone who has done something inappropriate or embarrassing at an office holiday party? Well that is not a good way to impress the boss. No when to say when, when it comes to partaking in Holiday Cheer!      mad-men-holiday-party1
  3. Thank your host/hostess! It takes planning and funding to throw a party or event, so it is mannerly to show your appreciation. Make sure you say “thank you”, if possible, before you depart an event and then follow up with a written note. An email thanks is nice, but sending a real thank you note…well you will be remembered, and the gesture appreciated!

Being a good guest is important to the overall impression you present. You never know who might be dining next to you or who you will bump into at a cocktail party.

You want to be invited back? Let the last impression be a positive one!

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Check out our Dining Dilemmas page in our website for other tips. (link the did you know Dining Dilemmas page)

You are invited to share when you were the Best Guest. Please post with a reply…

 

Lisa and Demetria

Co-Founders – Mother, May I