I need me some good manners: an Introduction to Etiquette

The Cambridge English Dictionary describes the word Etiquette as “the set of rules or customs that control accepted behaviour in particular social groups or social situations.”
Etiquette varies across cultures, geographical locations and generations. For example what was considered good manners to ones great grandparents may not augur well with one today. What may be considered the expected norm in a given country may differ when one moves to a different part of the world. Even within our own unique countries good behaviour differs from culture to culture, from generation to generation and different social classes.

Etiquette is also circumstantial depending on the different situations that one finds themselves in. Consider the following different types of etiquette that present to people from time to time.
Social etiquette: How one interacts with people.

Corporate etiquette: How one behaves when interacting with colleagues at a work set up.
Bathroom etiquette:  This mainly has to do with how one uses toilet and bathroom facilities when helping oneself.
Wedding etiquette: Across different cultures the bridal party and invited guests to a wedding are expected to behave in a certain way.
Meeting etiquette: How one interacts with others in a meeting set up.
Eating etiquette: How one carries and handles oneself when eating.
Telephone etiquette: This has to do with how one engages with people on phone.
Business etiquette: Expected norms when carrying out business interactions.
Online etiquette: This is in respect to online and digital interactions with others.

Despite all these vagaries on etiquette, one thing is for sure, etiquette is very important for seamless human interactions.

Etiquette offers the following benefits:

  • Provides personal security as people know how to behave in certain situations.
  • Protects the feelings of others.
  • Makes communication clear.
  • Enhances ones status at work as one is seen to be more capable, more professional and even more intelligent.
  • Provides good first impressions. Remember that no one has a second chance of making a first impression.
  • Fosters cross cultural awareness.
  • Fosters self confidence and self esteem.
  • Provides a competitive edge for job seekers.
  • Enhances ones profile amongst industry peers.
  • Promotes dignity at the work place.
  • Provides a positive impact in the work place.
  • It upgrades ones image and social engagement skills.

A word of caution though; etiquette is meant to be a guideline and not a strict set of rules for one to follow. This ensures that ones interactions with others are as authentic and as natural as possible. Here is to good etiquette in enhancing our relationships with others.

“Wacha niKwambie”
June 2018 – I am beautiful.
Focus on Personal Etiquette and Grooming

© Kwambie Nyambane,
June 2018.

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