The Etiquette School of Birmingham

The Etiquette School of Birmingham


Saw you on the news. Great job!
Interview advice. The thought of shaking a male interviewer's hand makes me squeamish. How can I avoid the hand-to-hand contact without coming across as impolite?

The Etiquette School of Birmingham provides adults and children alike with the business etiquette an

Provides adults and children alike with the etiquette skills that can make a difference in lives and careers.

Operating as usual


If you want to teach your children excellent social etiquette skills, consider what you are teaching your children by example. Pay attention to the little things you do; your children certainly do. Here are some examples:

* Refrain from gossiping about other people. Treat people who perform services for you as equals, deserving respect. Greet neighbors and friends you see, expressing real interest in them and their lives. Show compassion. These are wonderful traits to pass on to your young ones.
* Pay attention to how you eat at home. Set a proper table, eat with a fork and knife, never with your fingers. Use a napkin. Make conversation over a meal pleasant. Never say anything that will cause another person indigestion. Avoid answering the phone while eating. Get your family together at the table as often as possible.
* See a bit of trash on the sidewalk? Pick it up. See someone struggling with a heavy load or looking for something particular? Jump in to help! Never hesitate to help another when you can.
* Say "Thank You" and "Please" when appropriate. Don't be afraid to admit guilt when it's called for. "Excuse me" is a nicety we hear far too seldom.
* Use good cell phone etiquette, refraining from talking on your phone when you are talking face-to-face with someone else (including your kids). Never talk on the phone in restaurants, retail locations, restrooms, theaters, etc.
* Dress to impress. We've all gotten a little lax in our dress.
* Show respect to people you don't know well by using their honorific names. (Mrs., Ms, Mr., Dr., Father, Coach, etc.) until you're asked not to. Introduce your children to people you encounter while with your children.
* Be on time. If you'll be late to an appointment, call to let the person expecting you know.
* Hold your temper. You don't like it when your children have a public meltdown; your children don't like it when you do, either. Let them know that it's okay to have a different opinion from others, even you. Try to look at situations from both sides.
* Do the right thing. Always.

These are just a few actions that show respect to others that your children will notice. In a busy world, adults who know how to show respect to others will always be the ones who win friends, get the job, get the promotion and/or get the sale. It won't hurt you, either!


No matter which team your cheer for on this football Saturday, it's important to remember to be a gracious loser and a generous winner.
If your team doesn't win, give credit where credit is due. "Your team just outplayed ours," or, praising an opposing player would be appropriate.
If your team wins, find something good to say about the other team. "Your guys had some awesome moves out there," or "Bet it'll be your guys with the trophy next year" would be thoughtful statements.


I woke this morning to find a message from my nephew many miles away. We've corresponded, but it's been forever since I've seen him. He sent me a brief message that said he'd been thinking about me and, "I sure do love you." It was out of the blue and much appreciated. In fact, it made my day, my week, my year.
Who's day could you brighten by sending a similar message? It doesn't have to be someone far away or even in your family. Letting someone know how much he or she is appreciated is not just kind, it can brighten the day for both of you.


I am delighted to say that we have revamped our website! It has a new look, new information and new communications options. The address is Check it out!


There is no better time to remember the importance of showing respect to friends, neighbors and, especially, family. No matter what political candidate you support, no matter how you feel about face masks and no matter what religion you are, now is the time to support others.


Saw a yard sign a little while ago. It read "Hate doesn't live here." How many of us can make the same claim?


The basis of etiquette is showing respect for others. Treating them the way you wish to be treated. During this pandemic, a basic in showing respect for others (and yourself) is by wearing a mask in public. If you are a fashionista, think of it as the hottest fashion accessory of the year!


So many people out there are performing duties that keep the rest of us safe. It's more important than ever to thank those people. Whether you're in the grocery, pharmacy or getting take-out from a restaurant, please let the person helping you know how much you appreciate them keeping you safe. It only takes a moment and lets others know that they aren't taken for granted.


Now is a great time to teach your children the ins and outs of dining etiquette. Make sure they are holding their utensils correctly. Pass to the right...cut meat one piece at a time, eat using utensils from the outside in...chew with your mouth closed...try at least one bite of each food served (unless you're allergic to the food)...thank the chef for the good food...realize that appropriate conversation is an important part of the enjoyment of the food...thank the server for each serving.


Did you know that July is cell phone courtesy month? Now's as good a time as any to review your phone courtesy. Considerate users:
*Turn their cell phones off (or at least on vibrate) in restaurants, medical and other offices and other public places
*Refrain from making or receiving calls in restrooms
*Never call others before 8:30 a.m., during lunch hours or after 9:00 p.m.
*Leave complete messages including who is calling, a call-back number (please leave it twice), the best time to return the call and what the call is about. They remember to speak slowly and distinctly.
*Never carry on phone conversations in restaurants or other public places
*Never answer a ringing phone when they are engaged in a face-to-face conversation with another person unless the call pertains to both
*Keeps their cell phone off the table in restaurants and meetings, letting their voice mail system record the call
*Never texts during meals, in business meetings, or in the presence of others unless it's to find the answer to a question under discussion.


Ever seen a set of old french silverware? You'll note that what we Americans call the back side of the fork is highly decorated. That's because the French dined in the continental style, using their forks tines down as they ate. The top side of the fork was rarely seen. All Americans should know how to dine in both the American and the Continental styles so that they can show respect to the individuals they are dining with.


Why is it important for children to learn dining etiquette? It gives them the rules to follow that make them feel confident and in control.


When you dine out at a restaurant, remember that as soon as your bottom hits the seat, your napkin should hit your lap. And it should stay there as long as you're seated at the table. Even if you linger over a cup of coffee and conversation, keep it in your lap. When you get up to leave, place it on the table where your forks were when you arrive. A used napkin should be left unfolded.


New children's etiquette summer courses have been set. A Class Act course for boys and girls in 2nd through 5th grades will be held M-Sat, June 17-22 at 11 a.m. For older girls and boys: Girls Beginning Etiquette will be M-F, June 17-25 at 1:30 p.m.; Boys Etiquette, same dates but at 3:00 p.m. E-mail me at [email protected] to register your son or daughter.


Gentlemen: Do you know how to tell what size coat you should wear? Measure your waist and add 6. That's your correct size!


Trying to get a youngster to write thank you notes? Purchase their own stationery with their name printed on the top. They won't be able to wait to use it. Correspondence cards (just for thank yous) or fold-over notes (for many uses) are available from many retailers who will be happy to print your child's name or monogram in a typeface you choose. 06/26/2018

When to Write a Thank-You Note – Garden & Gun

Thank you notes may seem like a lost art, but you can help revive this wonderful practice! The wry author and Alabama native shares the Dos and Don'ts


Do you know the proper way to eat asparagus? With a knife and fork or the fingers? Believe it or not, it's with the fingers! But that's only when the stalks are not covered in sauce and cooked lightly so that they don't bend with you pick them up, such as when you find them in a salad. Often we are served asparagus that is very limp or heavily buttered or sauced. In that case, it's proper to use your fork and knife.


Whether it's spring break travel, vacation or a business trip, remember the importance of leaving a tip for the individual who cleans your hotel room. $2 to $4 a day is appropriate, depending upon the location. Leave in an envelope marked "housekeeping." You can leave it at the end of your stay or I prefer daily to ensure that the housekeeping staff member assigned to your room recognizes your appreciation right away.


A correct place setting should always have the forks on the left of the plate, the knives (with blades facing the plate) and spoons on the right. Know an exception to that? The water glass should be placed at the tip of the main course knife. Napkins can go pretty much anywhere in the place setting.


What kind of behavior are you modeling for your children when it comes to good sportsmanship? Learning to be a gracious loser and a generous winner is a skill best learned from those you care about.


When the weather is inclement, please be sure to check on neighbors who are elderly or infirm. We all have a responsibility to look after each other.


It's 2018. I should point out that etiquette is no less important this year than any previous year. If anything, it's more important. Showing respect to others will never cease to be important to our personal and professional lives.


At last we have dates for our upcoming spring children's etiquette courses. A Class Act, for students in second through fifth grades, will be Saturday mornings February 3 thru March 10; our teen classes for older students will be held Sunday afternoons January 21 through March 25. Call us at 205-222-0932 to enroll a student.


It seems to me that people have put up their holiday decorations early this year. Perhaps it's my imagination. Perhaps, however, that with the state of affairs in the world today, people just need a little spirit of the holiday season right away.


"Giving Tuesday" reminds me that the holiday season is upon us and this is the perfect time to show those who provide us with services all year with a token of our gratitude. But how much is appropriate? For hair stylists, dog groomers, house cleaners, grass mowers, etc., an amount equal to one service is perfect. If you have a regular delivery service person who appears frequently at your home, be sure to thank them. And don't forget garbage collectors. Our hard-working postal service employees are limited by law by how much they can accept in cash, so why not show how much we appreciate them with a special purchased treat waiting for them in our mailbox?


If you find something on your plate this Thanksgiving that you don't care for, it's polite to take at least one bite unless you have an allergy. Refrain from salting and peppering until you've tasted the food first -- you could offend the chef!


Thanksgiving dinner with the family is a rare opportunity to reconnect with those we care about and to connect with new friends. Remember that good conversation is the dish that complements whatever is served. As at any meal, remember to keep the conversation pleasant, avoiding those topics that are likely to cause indigestion. You know what I mean--politics, religious differences, financial issues and (in some households) even football! Bet you can add to the list.


Thanksgiving is such a special time here in the U.S. to enjoy family members and friends. If you're invited to someone's house for the holiday, be sure to ask if you can bring something. Even if your host says no, don't forget to bring a host/hostess gift. It should be something small, not extravagant. Think a box of chocolates or hard candy, a special cheese and cracker combination or a book. Whatever you bring, it's a gift for the host/hostess to be enjoyed later, not with all the guests. If you want to bring someone who hasn't been specifically invited, ask first. And don't forget the thank you note a day or two later. A phone call or e-mail is nice, but nowhere near as nice as a hand-written note sent in the mail.


Planning to have company over the holidays? Now's the time to start thinking about making your guest's visit the best by preparing the guest bedroom for optimum enjoyment. Freshly washed linens and blankets will smell lovely and welcoming, especially when paired with a small vase of fragrant (but not too fragrant) flowers. (Be sure you have extra blankets for friends who get cold easily.) A decanter and matching glasses for overnight hydration will always be welcome, as will a few snacks, such a packages of crackers, candy and nuts. And don't forget a little reading material--magazines or a book or two with holiday-themed short stories can help with travel insomnia. Don't forget to stock the bathroom with extra toothpaste and brushes, mouthwash, deodorant and extra soap.


Had a great time this morning speaking to the Crescent Junior Study Club at Musgrove County Club in Jasper. The ladies had some great questions! 09/04/2017

Chick-fil-A is beating every competitor by training workers to say 'please' and 'thank you'

Just another example of how ensuring that your employees are trained in proper business etiquette can make all the difference in your bottom line! Chick-fil-A is statistically the most polite chain in the restaurant business.


The Etiquette School of Birmingham


The placement of your knife and fork on your plate is the silent signal to your server that you are just resting or finished with your meal. The correct placement depends on whether you are eating in the American or Continental style of dining. Think of your plate as the face of a clock.
'Resting' for the American style has the knife across the top of the plate, blade facing you and the fork coming off the plate at 4:00 (8:00 if you're left handed). 'Finished' in the American style brings the knife down and the fork up, ending with the handles coming off the plate at 3:15 (or 8:45 for lefties).
'Resting' in the Continental style bring the tips of the fork and knife together at the top of the plate and the handles spread at the bottom. 'Finished' brings the utensils together in the middle of the plate with the handles coming off the plate at 6:30 on the clock face.


Dates have been set for our 2017 fall children's etiquette courses. For boys and girls in 2nd through 5th grades, our Class Act course is set for Saturday mornings 9/23 through 10/28. For teens, our 10-class course will be taught Sunday afternoons 9/24 through 11/19. To enroll a student or get more info, contact us at [email protected].

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4922 Ridge Pass
Hoover, AL

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