Certified Etiquette Consultant Melissa Leonard

In a manner of speaking.

What’s the most egregious breach of etiquette you’ve observed among adults dining?
The rudest would be using  tech devices at the table—BlackBerries, iPods, answering the phone, texting, or wearing a Bluetooth flashing like a beacon in the air.

Thank-you notes after a job interview: still a good idea?
Always. Email is fine but a handwritten letter is better, because how many people are going to take the time to handwrite a thank-you note?

What point of etiquette could many businesspeople use instruction in?
How to properly shake hands. You should have web—the fleshy part of the hand—to web contact, a firm grip, even if you are a woman, two or three pumps, and a shake from the elbow as opposed to wrist or shoulder. You should smile, make eye contact, and say a nice greeting like, ‘Hi, it’s great to see you again.’ You want to be open and friendly; you never know if that person is going to be your future wife, in-law, or boss.

What should you do or say when your little one yells out, ‘Mommy, that lady is fat’?
Don’t get flustered and don’t try to make too many excuses—simply look at the person and offer a sincere apology such as, ‘I am so sorry about that.’ Then, in private, turn to your child and say something like, ‘It’s not nice to point out things about other people; we’ll talk more about this when we get home.’

What would you have advised Taylor Swift to do when Kanye West grabbed the mike away and interrupted her at the Video Music Awards?
To do just what she did—nothing. Let him be the wreck. You say one thing and then you’re dragged into the muck and mire.

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