FLORIDA, November 5, 2012 — For some reason, lately many of our fellow Americans have come to disfavor proper etiquette.
Could this be a consequence of the Information Age? Or, rather, might it be because there is a lack of formal education regarding just how important personal image is?
In any case, is there a chance that the ideas of good manners and being on one’s best behavior can return to prominence?
Gloria Starr is one of the world’s most renowned image consultants. In this second part of a candid interview, she shares her views about all of the above and more.
Joseph F. Cotto: Many Americans shun proper etiquette as being too conformist, or perhaps even pretentious. What is your view on this popular perception?
Gloria Starr: Popular is or can be of the lowest standard. Television has had a huge negative effect on people with the violence, slang, swearing, and clothing worn by the stars and professional athletes. Leaders don’t conform or fit. Leaders Lead. It took me years to understand why I did not fit.
My destiny was leadership. Proper etiquette is making others feel comfortable, knowing what to say and do in each and every situation. There is the correct way of doing everything: yacht clubs, private clubs, golf etiquette, bathroom etiquette, airplane etiquette, and funeral etiquette.
The more you know about each and every etiquette situation, the better prepared you will be and the less stressed you will feel because of knowingness. Knowing what to say and do in each and every situation leads to confidence and the look of leadership.
Cotto: In your opinion, has the Information Age allowed many to neglect the values of etiquette?
Starr: Rather than neglecting the values of etiquette in the information age, we have all been given an opportunity to increase our knowledge base and become masterful in the information age. No excuses.
Cotto: Do you believe that most people should have some sort of formal education in etiquette? Or is such a thing only necessary for dignitaries and select professionals?
Starr: Average, everyday people can benefit greatly from proper etiquette training. I offer the Modern Day Finishing School for men and women, the Princess Finishing School, the Professional Athletes Finishing School and the Executive Finishing School.
Think grace and charm under pressure. You park your car in the garage or company parking lot and walk in to the office or the event with the look of success in your clothing and manners; etiquette and the social graces will be opportunities for upgrades on a flight, a better table in a restaurant, a better partner, and a better life.
I almost always get an upgrade on a flight as I am dressed to make conversations stop and heads turn in a beautiful skirted suit and a showing stopping fascinator hat! This gets you in the winner’s circle. Manners and etiquette keep you in the winner’s circle.
Cotto: During the years ahead, might proper etiquette become prevalent once again?
Starr: Etiquette and the social graces will become fashionably in vogue again. Fashion magazines are showing gloves, Jackie O classic styled dresses, lace, gowns and exquisite shirts, and ties for men. Elegant weddings are being planned and manners are essential. As people/the younger generation dress up, go to fine restaurants and live in lovely homes, they will want to showcase all of the signs of success.
Women will want the fine china and crystal glasses to entertain with in their homes, and etiquette and manners are the next step for them. As men reach a new level in their business success and are ready to be groomed for the C Suite, etiquette, manners, and the social graces will also be in their training. Many companies are already investing in this type of training.
In my 28 years in this wonderful business of manners and etiquette NOW is the easiest time to get up, dress up and show up with a level of excellence and commitment.
Cotto: Now that our discussion is at its end, many readers are probably wondering how it was that you came to be an authority on etiquette. Tell us a bit about your life and career.
Starr: A modest beginning as a floral designer, interior design and photography training, then took a few classes in impression management, clothing styles, etiquette, and manners with the result of enhanced confidence and self-esteem. These classes were life changing, and I changed careers as I blossomed professionally and personally with this knowledge and began my career as an image, etiquette and communication coach. Constant and never ending learning led to the honor of receiving the Communication Guru Award of Excellence and being ranked in the top 30 communication experts in the world.
Life is simply grand when I have an opportunity each and every day to make the world a better place and add value with my knowledge and commitment to excellence!
Ms. Starr is the author of nine books, one in the White House (“Modern Day Princess Finishing School,” dedicated to the Obama Daughters), recognized by the United States government, and ranked in the top 5% of consultants, worldwide. Clients include Members of the Royal Families of Dubai, Qatar, Bahrain and Saudi, Presidents of Fortune 500 companies, and everyday people looking for their competitive edge.
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