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Are You Social Enough?

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Yet another excellent blog topic from a reader!

She writes:

My husband and I recently attended a professional dinner where we were assigned seating at a table of eight. When I arrived at the table, two couples were already seated.  I introduced myself and my husband. All four of them pretty much ignored us. The one woman mustered up, “I’m with him,” but never provided her name. Thank God the final couple arrived a bit late, but turned out to have manners and knew how to carry on a conversation. The evening was saved thanks to their civility.
I see this more and more. It’s getting so that I don’t ever want to attend a networking luncheon or a business dinner function for this very reason.

Readers:  time for a little self-reflection!

Think back to the last time you were at a business dinner, wedding reception, conference or fundraising event.

Did you make an attempt to be cordial and engaging with those at the same table as you? Even if they were strangers? I’m not talking about BFF’s by the end of the meal before you hit the dance floor. I’m talking about the pleasant conversation that we should expect of one another when sharing a table.

Often you are an invited guest. As such , please remember your personal responsibility (bestowed to you by the host) to enhance an event by interacting with others. No one likes the anti-social person who hangs out in the corner or barely makes eye contact with individuals at the table.

If you are being grudgingly dragged along to one of these events by your hair – oops – I mean your spouse – put on your Big Girl or Big Boy pants and choose to sparkle for a few hours!  You may actually surprise yourself and have fun!  If you’re stuck with how to make a connection or start a conversation, check out this blog post on how not be a bore.  A simple and warm smile, self introduction and handshake is critical in those first few minutes. For pointers on making a positive first impression, click here.

It’s fun to go to an event – professional or personal – where you are seated with those you know. More often than not, you are seated with individuals you may only know peripherally or not at all.  Mentally prepare yourself for conversations with those seated with you.  Here’s a beginning: “How are you affiliated with (host/charity/business/bride & groom)?” Sorry, I  offer  no sympathy  for the grown-ups who simply act rude by ignoring those seated around them.

I truly enjoy going to events where I don’t know everyone.  I LOVE to meet new people, hear their stories, learn from them and possibly even make a new friend.  We live in one interesting world and it’s exciting what we can learn from each other when…..

…we take the time to connect.

Mind Your Manners,

Kelly

4 Comments
  1. Hi Kelly,

    How are you?

    Interesting observation, I think of that to even just being out in public, no interaction in store lines or anything, people look straight ahead or at their phones.

    Hope all is well
    Gary

    • Kelly

      Hi Gary! Thank you for you excellent observation in terms of our lack of connecting in ALL public areas. Ironic that those who have their phones in hand in public are probably “connecting” in a different manner. You can never can have too many friendly smiles and “hello”s – regardless of knowing the person or not.

  2. Wow, Kelly. I’ve been in this exact situation, too. I love your suggestion that making the connection (the smile, the introduction) in those critical first moments is so important. The longer you wait, the more awkward it becomes. And it shows that you are receptive to engage. But sometimes others just don’t have the tools. At the very least, you can model some good etiquette by asking questions (everyone likes to talk about themselves!) and listening.

  3. Kelly

    I bet you have been in the exact situation Jean! I think so many people have – including me! Questions always work wonders for getting the conversation started..and listening to their answers will provide you with more topics for discussion.Thank you for reading and commenting!

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Nothing's Finer Than A Fine Young Diner

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Use these table manners tips to turn your child into a delightful diner!  Read Kelly’s article as featured in Eastern Home and Travel Magazine.

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Pack Your Manners

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Traveling with kids? Read Kelly’s article as published in Eastern Home & Travel

Networking Etiquette: What Do You Know?

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Thank you to Team Network for having me as their guest speaker at their Netfast in Rockville, MD. Click on the link to watch our netiquette discussion.

Team Network Netfast

Manners Schmanners! Read Kelly’s Interview in FindIt Frederick!

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