She says: “We need to collectively work together to make our country stronger and more competitive in business as well as more approachable for foreign investors. Does this mean we are uncouth and unmannered? Not necessarily, however, given the many cultures gathered in our country, it is essential for us all to understand the importance of good etiquette in our daily lives as well as in business; this, in turn, results in good self-esteem, which leads to more self-confidence – and success!
“First impressions are extremely difficult to change as other people’s perceptions of our personalities and abilities are formed in the first few minutes of a meeting; if we are confident in the knowledge we know how to behave and set a good example, it is amazing how doors leading to success open like magic!”
The School of Etiquette teaches individuals the social and people skills to interact comfortably and confidently in any social and business environment.
What are soft skills? Our people skills, our ability to get on with people and being liked by them, as well as the ability to assess a situation and act appropriately.
Courtenay says that we sell ourselves everyday in every meeting with every person we meet. People need to buy into our own personal brand before they can buy into our product. The world is all a stage so we need to ensure we portray the correct image. Within five seconds you have announced your attitude towards people and yourself, your sexual preferences and what you most likely do for a living without having said a word!
Your staff represents your company. Who they are, is essentially who your company is. They are the face and portray the image. A bad first impression takes 8 subsequent meetings to change that opinion – most people don’t get a second chance.
Previously companies accentuated homogenous staff forces because they thought it lead to great efficiency. However, today individualism is encouraged which allows for better workplace satisfaction, relationships and productivity.
If you’re comfortable with yourself, you make others feel comfortable as they feel safe and comfortable, believing they are your equal. Many a staff member is overlooked for management positions, whilst many managers are overlooked for executive positions because of their social ineptitude. As part of their jobs, business executives together with their spouses attend business and dining events, which require social skills. They need to know how to accept invitations, how to enter a room, whom to greet first, how to mingle and what topics of discussion are appropriate.
Studies have proven students with extremely high IQ’s have less success later on in life than students who scored average grades in their IQ tests. This reflects on EQ (emotional intelligence) often proving more successful than high IQs.
A valuable tool for corporate companies wishing to achieve long-term success is to ensure that behaviour and communications complement the team brand as well as the company brand.
Contact the South African School of Etiquette at www.etischool.co.za.