Modern Etiquette is Key to Professionalism
Four years ago when I was a committee member of Network Dublin, the organisation for women in business, the arts and the professions, I met a fantastic lady called Claire Crone.
Claire is understated in her approach to life, she is modest, confident, fair, humble and above all poised. After a particularly hard committee meeting, which could have ended up in conflict, I asked Claire how it is that she can have so much respect and consideration for everyone and see both sides’ argument.
She blushed and told me her secret “It’s just etiquette. A little bit of manners goes a long way to hearing what everyone has to say.”
It had been years since I heard the actual word ‘etiquette’, but it’s everything that I believe in myself – it costs nothing to be nice, professional and considerate to others.
In the intervening years, I’ve often thought of Claire and her comment about etiquette. And it was with great delight that I heard she opened her first Finishing School in Dublin, Ireland early this year.
DF: Congratulations on opening The Finishing School. If anyone is consistent with their brand, it’s certainly you. Forget poetry in motion, you are manners and professionalism in motion.
CC: Thanks Denise. I’m really excited.
DF: The Finishing School. It’s not everyday someone goes to Finishing School. I know you attended one when you were younger. Do you think it’s still valid today?
CC: Absolutely. The values, belief and confidence that I got at Bev Livingstone Finishing School set me up for life. I truly mean that. The Finishing School that I set up is all about equipping it’s students with confidence through modern etiquette.
Modern etiquette isn’t a way to pick up cutlery or set a table or hold your hands in your lap when you sit. It’s all about deportment, grooming, manners, understanding people and having consideration for other people.
DF: Well I’ll always say that it costs nothing to be nice (even though I struggle when someone cuts me off in the car!).
Tell me – you mention the students of the Finishing School. Is it just for kids?
CC: Absolutely not. It’s really for everyone. I’ve tailored courses for different age groups.
Take the teenage girls for example. The Finishing School introdues them to the basics of manners and can help refine their existing skills necessary for entering adulthood. Entering adulthood is a tough time for teenagers. The course also teaches them how to protect themselves and behave appropriately. It’s not stuffy by any means and its fun. The first time I gave the course it was to 40 transition year students and they loved it. It’s been really well-received since then.
DF: That’s great as I’m sure teenagers are a tough audience. But I read recently that you did a course for business women and etiquette. Is it difficult to go from teaching teenagers to professional adults?
CC: You’re right, I do give courses to professional women. Good manners defines acceptable and unacceptable behaviour in the office, socially and in school. The basics are the same; as the audience has a different need then the courses are tailored as such.
Professionalism at work is so important. Calling someone ‘Babes‘ or ‘Hun‘ in an office setting can be quite offensive, however intentioned the person saying it is. Etiquette helps women who want to excel – they can reach their goals and attain success through good old-fashioned professionalism.
DF: I know we talked about it before, but parents are good students for the Finishing School too. Have you thought anymore about them? (I have my marketing hat on now)
CC: That hat looks pretty good on you Denise! I have thought about it. By doing the etiquette programme, Mums and Dads can learn from the course and then teach their kids good manners and if the mums do the full course, then they can look good while they are doing it.
DF: You’ve thought of everything. We’ve talked about how parents, working women and teenagers can benefit from a course at The Finishing School. Are you missing any other segment of your target market?
CC: One of my most rewarding audiences are women who lack confidence. I believe that every woman should be confident. Knowing and practicing etiquette removes the unknown and the fear of the unknown so women can gain more confidence with the unknown. With this new found confidence, they will be less afraid, and even relish, taking on new opportunities. I see it all the time – the difference it can make to some women’s lives. It’s uplifting and inspiring. It really warms my heart.
DF: Claire, that is wonderful for you and your students. We need more of that these days. Now I know you’ve got some courses coming up in December. Can you give me the information so I can share with my Irish community? Etiquette courses taught at The Finishing School should be experienced – it’s not fuddy-duddy, it’s modern and fun.
CC: Oh go on! With such a warm offer, how can I not tell you?!
1-Day TFS Etiquette Programme
Saturday 11th Dec 2010, 9.30am to 5.30pm
(Promotional offer 10% discount with an additional 5% discount if you get a friend to sign-up too)
3-Day TFS Complete Course
Saturdays 22nd Jan, 29th Jan & 5th Feb 2011, 9am to 6pm.
Saturday 8th Jan 2011, 9.30am to 5.30pm [During School Holidays – Teens only]
Christmas Special €367/p.p. (must register before Christmas, Voucher can be given as a Christmas gift)
DF: Well Claire, the best of luck with the courses. Thanks for having a chat with me about The Finishing School. Next time, we’ll podcast it so people will get to hear how poised you are. I hope The Finishing School is a huge success for you. These days I think people need an inner appreciation and understanding of what is right. And if anyone can teach poise and gracefulness, it’s certainly you.
CC: Thanks for having me Denise. Always a pleasure to chat with you.
Judy Garland once said “Always be a first-rate version of yourself,
instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”
Take that first step to being that first rate person. Contact Claire & The Finishing School on 086 199 5299.