Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lesson in Civility in our Multi-Culti, More Secular Society

LTTE, Elle Magazine, Re: November Issue's Letter From The Editor: "Civility Lesson"

Dear Madam Editor,
   Having taught manners to kids since 1998, I commend you for having your son practice chivalrous behaviors that will take him everywhere in life. Do not be disappointed, however, in the reaction of others, although a coffee shop in any of the extremely expensive, exclusive communities in the Hampton's is not actual American reality, not to mention the $4 coffee. Try a local supermarket, hair salon, dry cleaner, or nursing home in Queens or Garden City.
   Regarding the remainder of your civility letter, we now live in a more secular, more dangerous, multi-culti international celebrity society. With celebrities on the covers of magazines since the 1980's (thanks to Anna Wintour), 24 hour Cable entertainment, screaming Cable talk TV, and the Internet with Facebook and Blogs, everyone can be a critic and celebrity in their own increasingly isolated and anonymous self-created eggshell world.
   We have gotten away from 3 generations of families living together and neighbors taking dinner to other neighbors in need. People buzz in and out of busy, luxury coffee shops, but I do not know why and where they are in such a hurry to go, that they cannot bother to thank a kind child trying to do better. Possibly, we all need to pause, and search our souls for where we want to be in life, as opposed to where the media tells us we need to be in life.
   All I know is that good manners will take one everywhere in life. Civility never goes out of fashion, although it might have been left out on the "Red Carpet" or stored in the Vintage shops at the moment.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Impressions. New Skills. New Messages. How Long Do New Skills Take to Sink In?

First impressions. Second impressions General impressions. How long does it take to make an impression? 1 minute? 5 minutes? 10 minutes? Try 5 seconds.

  • You have 5 seconds to make an impression. 
  • You must practice a new skill for 21 days to start a pattern.
  • It will take 100 days for your new skill to become automatic.
  • A new skill is forgotten in 30 days.
  • Practice is necessary because 66% of a message is forgotten in 24 hours.
  • It takes 8 days of constant reminding for 90% of new information to be retained in 30 days.
Little Things
It's the little things we do or say
That make or break the beauty of the average passing day,
Hearts, like doors, will open with ease,
To very, very little keys.
And don't forget that two of these
Are "I thank you," and "If you please."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

America's Sweetheart Was Shirley Temple, Now Our Sweetheart Is Honey Boo Boo...What The Heck Happened?

   This eye popping post popped up on my Facebook "facepage" feed today. After a first laugh, a few seconds later at second glance, the black & white, and color of it all sunk in. I was taken aback. A bit agape. Slightly aghast.
   In 70+ years, or so, we as an American society have gone from watching and "Liking" lovely, dignified, respectful, thoughtful, mannered, lady-like Shirley Temple type role models to watching and liking" undignified, unladylike, and apparently unfiltered type role models such as Honey Boo Boo.   
What the heck happened to us as a society and what type of role models do we now choose? Cynics will say the picture post is just a joke. Calm down. Chill out and don't take this post seriously, but above, or below, the humor, isn't this post a reflection of sorts?
   It is said that 50% of what is said as a joke is considered to be the truth. Those whom we pick as leaders and role models: are they not a reflection of who we admire or want to be?
   We at The Sabot School of Etiquette always say: One does not have to have money to have manners. One must only have self-respect, dignity, determination to be better, and a wherewith all to listen, and learn. Bad manners will take one nowhere in life. Good Manners will take one anywhere and everywhere in life.  

This image is from the Facebook page "Paint The Town Red"
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Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Unspoken, Unwritten Language of the Debate

  Debating is merely trying to solve a problem in an organized, civilized manner and format. The debate is a controlled argument with rules. There are High School and College debate rules, the NDT( National Debate Tournament), the CEDA (Cross-Examination Debate Association). There are 4 types of debates: Parliamentary, Lincoln-Douglas (value), Cross Examination, and Academic. There is proposition and opposition, affirmative burden of proof and negative rebuttal, constructive speeches and rebuttal speeches. Reams of books have been written and courses have been taught on how to debate. One could go on forever explaining debating.
   So, what comes across on camera in a debate beyond the spoken word? What does the audience take away from your words other than your words? The answer is: your demeanor, your mannerisms, body language, command of language, knowledge of the subject of debate, general intelligence, character, temperament, and eventually it is your aura we see on screen. Your upbringing. Your very being. Your soul.

The following are simply a few tips for debate:
  • Walk out on stage deliberately and calmly.
  • Politely make eye contact and firmly shake hands with your opponent.
  • Try to be the first to say to your opponent: "It is very nice to see you" which places you psychologically ahead of your opponent. If they answer with the same phrase, say: "Thank you", which again places you psychologically ahead of your opponent.    
  • Stand up straight and place your hands firmly on each side of the podium.
  • Smile with your eyes from your heart.
  • Look your opponent in the eyes when debating. Look alternately at the moderator as well. Look at the audience during your closing point.
  • Speak a bit slower, louder and clearer than you normally do without sounding condescending.
  • Never say "never." Leave yourself an "out."
  • Avoid saying "always." Again, leave yourself an "out."
  • Try not to repeat yourself and switch up your language, phrases and jargon often.
  • Don't say "um", "and" or "uh." Don't pause for too long. Don't rush either.
  • Pace yourself evenly and relax. Try to enjoy the moment and your time on the podium.  
  • Avoid common colloquialisms as people hear them so often, they tune them out. Then, they tune you out.
  • Do not use the "you" message. Using the "You" message sounds accusatory. 
  • Use the "I" message. Using the "I" message sounds more positive.
  • Truisms are better than colloquialisms.
  • Be pithy, succinct, concise and clear.
  • Study your debate topic. Read books, encyclopedias, newspapers, search the Internet, and interview local college and university professors about your topic.
  • Be determined, passionate and strong with conviction.
  • Back up your opinions with facts. Cite your sources.
  • No risk, no return. Competition has its stresses, then its rewards.
  • Do not use humor, unless it is self deprecating. Laughing at yourself shows you have a sense of humor and humility. Laughing at someone else may risk offending them.
  • Use your logic and wit.
  • Don't talk about "woulda, coulda, shoulda."
  • Talk about facts, numbers, data, and specific plans. Then, cite your sources.
  • Be as open, spontaneous and persuasive as possible without becoming too animated or manic.
  • Remember: Just the facts man. Facts, more facts and still more facts. 
  • Clothing is important. Expensive clothing is not necessary, but clean, fitted clothing is a must. One only needs one outfit. Classic, simple Chanel-style clothing always works. Less is more.    
Be positive, positive, positive, and smile. Try to relax, have some fun and enjoy the moment. Talk facts, specific plans, and numbers. Be brief and simple in your answers. Don't get too complicated in your explanations or into too much detail or you will risk getting into the weeds. Stay on point or you will loose your audience. Again, look your opponent in the eyes and smile. :))