Etiquette consultant discusses proper behavior and why it's important

By Shannon Deery, Herbert Hoover High School
Source: sundaygazettemail.com

Using table manners, holding a door and turning off cell phones when church services are being held are all elements of etiquette. There are all very different, but they are all very much by other people who may be with or around you.
I recently interviewed certified etiquette consultant Pam Harvit, who graciously took the time to answer my etiquette questions.

Q: What are your three biggest rules of etiquette?
A: "My number one rule is to respect others. Even in times of disagreement, I think it is important to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.
"My number two rule is to always remember to write a thank you note.
"Number three is a tie between practicing good dining skills and cell phone/texting etiquette.

Q: What are the rules for electronics (cell phones, game systems, iPods, etc.) at restaurants, family dinners and other social events?
A: "TURN THEM OFF! Unless you are expecting an emergency, all cell phones should be off at the dinner table regardless if you are at home or at a restaurant.
"If you must bring your phone to the table, make sure that you inform others dining with you that you are expecting an important call and then put the phone on vibrate mode. Do not place it on the table. When the call does occur, make sure that you excuse yourself from the table and take the call to a private area where others do not have to hear your conversation.
"Games systems, iPods, etc. should also be not used during dinner."

Q: Are there any tricks to remember when you're in a formal dining situation?
A: "Yes. When in a formal dining situation and you are not sure which your water glass or bread plate is, just think of BMW, like the car. Starting from the left to right, B stands for Bread plate (located on your left), M stands for Meal (your plate in the center) and W stands for Water (on your right). When you sit down, just think BMW and you won't get confused.

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