From an early age, we are taught about the importance of ‘good behaviour’. We’re taught to be polite, to be considerate, to eat properly, walk correctly, talk in a certain way. All of this (and much more) adds up to the complex rules of good etiquette.
When visiting a new country and learning its language, it can be incredibly advantageous to learn what ‘good etiquette’ means in that country. Which is why we have joined up with Teacher and Governess Rachel Malone to create a one-day etiquette course that gives students the skills to appear courteous, confident and comfortable at all times.
But what is etiquette, what is it for and how can it help you learn a language?
What is etiquette?
Put simply etiquette, is the intricate network of rules that govern good behaviour and our social interactions. It reflects a society’s customs, history, ethical codes, and the rules of the various groups we belong to.
In the past etiquette was used by the powerful to remind people of their own status within society and to reinforce certain restrictions on individuals within that society. Thankfully in modern society etiquette is more democratic! Etiquette is less focused on reinforcing power/status and is largely concerned with making people around us feel more at ease.
What are the benefits of using correct etiquette
Using the correct etiquette serves several essential functions:
First impressions count!
Chief among the benefits of using the proper etiquette is that the use of good etiquette makes a good impression. The first 5-7 seconds when you meet someone for the first time are crucial and if you use proper etiquette, that first impression will be a more positive one.
A boost to confidence and self-esteem
Knowing and using the correct etiquette can help with confidence when meeting new people, as you won’t have to worry about whether or not you’re doing or saying the right thing.
Etiquette today is largely based on making people around you feel comfortable. By treating people with kindness, courtesy and respect we make ourselves more likeable and this allows us to build stronger personal friendships and relationships.
Research has also found that being kind to others makes the givers happy and increases their sense of satisfaction, according to a study in the Journal of Social Psychology. One of the study’s authors, Lara Akin, states that there is a “positive feedback loop” between kindness and happiness: One kind deed makes you feel happier, and the happier you feel, the more likely you are to do another kind deed!
Elena Neitlich, an internationally recognised authority on etiquette, suggests that young people who have proper manners and social skills “stand out and have a leg up on their peers.” This is also the view of Tim Askew, CEO of Corporate Rain International who believes that people who have a solid foundation of good manners and etiquette have an immediate advantage over their less polite competition when they enter the workplace.
“There is a reason for manners and courtesy and it is not just to be nice. The purpose of manners is to give us a practical structure to deal with each other.”
Why is etiquette important to learning a language?
It makes communication clearer
By using the correct etiquette we are able to ensure that our communication is truly clear and effective.
It helps learners arrive at a deeper understanding of the local culture
The rules of etiquette vary from country to country and are often culturally sensitive. Learning a new language is strengthened by understanding these rules and the cultural context that these rules come from.
It avoids misunderstanding and offence!
Learning the correct etiquette means that you avoid unintentionally offending or insulting anyone! Etiquette enhances communication by breaking down barriers, not erecting them.
Learning etiquette is fun!
Learning about etiquette is much more than just knowing which fork to use and it needn’t be dull and boring! It’s a fascinating way of understanding all the similarities and differences between your country and another’s; a powerful way of boosting your confidence and self esteem; of making others feel more comfortable around you and learning good etiquette can even be an incredibly useful boost to your future career prospects!
Our day long etiquette training course combines role play, presentations, discussion and games. All of which adds up to a fun day that gives our students the skills to appear courteous, confident and comfortable at all times and in all settings!