Etiquette for Hire: Part 2 – Interviews & Resignations

Adrian Fernand – Australia’s most stylish Agony Uncle – takes a look at the world of hiring and firing in Etiquette for Hire. Part 2 answers those all-important questions on interviews, follow-ups and how to resign in style.

The Interview

If you’re fortunate enough to get to the interview stage, view it as meeting your partner’s parents for the first time. Be on your best behaviour and you won’t put a foot wrong. Be warm but not overly informal, don’t sit down without being offered first or asking, show genuine interest even if you’re beyond bored and whatever you do, don’t put your feet on the table. Oh and for God’s sake, iron your shirt beforehand.

One thing to remember is that if you provide references after an interview, always make sure you inform your nominated referees immediately. There’s nothing more awkward for the referee than receiving a call or the employer making the call and one party not knowing about the other. Worse still is nominating a former manager with whom you never had a good relationship who isn’t going to give you a sterling review, or worse, not remember you at all. Now why would you set yourself up for failure?

The Follow-Up

In the old days, in order to show you were interested in a job you would call every alternate day, and sometimes put on muffled voices just to get past the receptionist. Finally when a prospective employer relented and you’d beaten them into submission only then would you be considered for a role. In employment, the hungriest always eat first.

These days, people stare at their phone like it’s a foreign object when it actually rings, but it’s a valuable tool in communicating your interest. If you’re waiting to hear back after a job interview or would like to follow up on your original application, there is nothing to say you can’t pick up the phone and place a polite call. Emails can always be avoided and forgotten, but human resources managers can’t dodge phone calls forever. When you get through, politely introduce yourself and tell them what you’re calling about straightaway. Don’t seem too eager, don’t ask too many questions and know when to pull back. If a police officer is at your front door with a restraining order, you’ve probably overdone it.

The Resignation

If you’re lucky in your endeavours, then finally the time will come for you to say goodbye.

While for some, exits will be tinged with sadness, whereas most of us would prefer to skip out of the joint under the cloak of darkness, potted plant and a drawerful of stolen office supplies firmly secured under our arm.

Whatever the sentiment, ensure that your resignation letter has the right amount of professionalism and appears to be heartfelt, even if you’d prefer to set your former office alight . You should never burn your bridges as you never know when you might encounter a colleague or a former boss further in your career. Or, if you’re going to go down in a blaze of glory, you better make it really good and even YouTube viral sensation-worthy—like this guy:

Video reproduced from YouTube / Joey DeFrancesco
Article originally published on www.idobelieveicamewithahat.com

Chopstick Etiquette

Adrian Fernand – Australia’s most stylish agony uncle and etiquette guru – looks at using chopstick correctly and the different social protocols across certain Asian countries.

More Westerners seem to know the annoying little piano ditty better than how to use chopsticks correctly. Often one’s education is imparted by one’s parents at a first outing to yum cha; the fork confiscated and a hurried hack’s 101 is instructed before any dim sum hit the floor.

For the traveller, trips to Asian countries are often on the itinerary so knowing how to behave at the table is paramount, particularly if you want to be invited back again. They might be simple in design, but not knowing how to operate the two wooden lengths is the equivalent of holding a knife and fork in one’s fists.

Here’s our little guide to getting you using chopsticks like a virtuoso…

The Basics

  • Hold your chopsticks towards their end, not in the middle or close to the tips. Holding chopsticks incorrectly reflects badly on one’s parents, who are charged with the responsibility of instructing their children.
  • Just like flatware, chopsticks are never to be played with unless you wish to be perceived as being vulgar. So all you aspiring drummers out there, use them for their intended purpose.
  • Chopsticks should not never remain in one’s mouth for too long and must certainly never be bitten on. That means no sucking for those with a Freudian oral condition.
  • Never move an object other than food with chopsticks, this means plates, bowls and dishes. Food should not be toyed with, much like pushing around food on plate with a fork.
  • You shouldn’t pierce ever pierce food unless you’re tearing larger items apart in order to share it or make it a more demurely-sized portion. Use both chopsticks and pinch them out to cut the food—this takes some practice. Every attempt should be made to pick up foods that are slippery such as dim sum or cherry tomatoes. Stabbing food is an absolute last resort and is reserved for amateurs.
  • Use a separate set of chopsticks for communal dishes; these are often longer than the diners’ chopsticks. Never use chopsticks to dig around for the food you want—pick whatever’s closest to you.
  • Never pick up  food from a dish on the table and place it directly into your mouth. Food must always be placed in your own bowl or on a plate first.
  • Food should never be transferred from one diner’s chopsticks to another’s. Instead, food that is being shared should be done so on a clean plate or by placing it on the recipient’s plate.
  • When you have finished your meal, leave your chopsticks on top of the bowl horizontally. Placing them on the chopstick holder indicates you haven’t finished, much like crossing your cutlery.
  • Never leave chopsticks standing upright in your bowl as this is considered extremely poor manners and offensive; many Asian cultures believe it’s reminiscent of the incense sticks used in funeral rites and in offerings for deceased relatives. It is also poor manners to use unmatched chopsticks, as this is another funeral rite.

Regional Customs

Like the subtle differences between Western cultures of how to handle cutlery, so too different standards exist between the chopstick-using countries.

China

  • The host always has the longest chopsticks as the host places food on each diner’s plate. Children are offered smaller and shorter chopsticks in accordance with their social status. If your chopstick’s aren’t the same length, don’t eat with them and instead ask the host or the waiter or waitress to exchange them for a matching pair.
  • Never point your rested chopsticks at someone else seated at the table as it is considered very poor manners.
  • Never tap chopsticks on the edge of your bowl as it believed it is the noise made by beggars to attract attention of passers-by.
  • It is acceptable and the status quo to hold one’s bowl up to one’s mouth and use chopsticks to push rice directly into the mouth.
  • It is expected and a sign of respect to pass food to the elderly before commencing the meal. It is also allowed to pass food to closely related family if they are having difficulty gripping the food.
  • Serving chopsticks are often used and are a different colour to the diners’ chopsticks. These are to be returned to the plate after use.

Hong Kong

  • The eldest member of the family holds their chopsticks first as a mark of respect.

Taiwan

  • To use chopsticks like a knife and fork in order to cut soft foods into smaller portions for children is common practice.

Japan

  • When resting between mouthfuls, the pointed ends of the chopsticks should be placed on a chopstick rest. If one is unavailable, one can be made with the paper case that contained the waribashi—disposable chopsticks.
  • It common practice to pick up the rice bowl, but it is never lifted to the mouth as in Chinese culture. It should be held in the left hand with four fingers and with the thumb resting horizontally on the edge.
  • Like vertical chopsticks in the bowl, crossed chopsticks also represent death and should never been done.
  • It is rude to rub wooden chopsticks together after breaking them apart as it is a gesture to the host that the diner thinks they are cheap.
  • When finished the meal, chopsticks should be placed in a right-left direction with the tips on the left. Anything else is considered poor manners.
  • In formal dining, disposable chopsticks should be placed back into their wrapper at the conclusion of a meal.

Korea

  • In Korea, chopsticks are paired with a spoon and there are conventions that govern their use.The spoon is used most often if the food is likely to drip including soups, stews and liquid side dishes, but both a spoon and chopsticks may be used to eat rice.
  • One should never pick up a dish and bring it closer to one’s mouth as it’s considered uncultured.
  • Chopsticks should always be placed to the right of the spoon when laying the table. Chopsticks are only placed on the left when preparing for a funeral rite.
  • It is incredibly rude to use the same hand to hold chopsticks and the spoon simultaneously. Likewise placing the spoon on the table whilst holding one’s chopsticks.

Vietnam

  • The rice bowl is lifted to the mouth as in Chinese culture to eat rice. Chopsticks are used to pick up rice from plates rather than a spoon as Vietnamese rice tends to be sticky.
  • It is proper etiquette to always use two chopsticks at once even when using them to stir liquids.
  • Chopsticks should never be placed in a V shape when finished eating as it is considered a bad omen

Image reproduced from idobelieveicamewithahat.com

Top 10 Tips for Social Climbers

When breaking into a new social scene, it’s easy to be dazzled by the free booze and the canapés. Let’s face it: miniature food is an impressive culinary achievement (Just how small are the chefs who make mini hotdogs?) and a subsidised session towards oblivion is almost too hard to refuse.

Social climbing has been both the making breaking of many a debutante; the phenomenon of becoming the bright young thing and then a slide to mediocrity, relegated to the discard pile of (im)polite society, both seemingly overnight. Lohan, much? It’s the folly of youth (and some of their elder counterparts) that appearing on guest lists equates to success, though, one thing everyone should recall is that free champagne just doesn’t pay the bills.

While it is possible to survive at least six months on a diet of canapés alone (this was tried and proven in my early twenties when nightclubs were my first home and the place where I paid rent was merely a place to bathe), hobnobbing only pays social dividends. There’s a fine line between being seen and being scene, and it’s one line that should be towed like a Roman sandal. Being the life of the party is admirable, but being the village drunk is only sought by those who reside under bridges.

Here are our top ten tips to social climbing with class.

1. Say ‘no’. Receiving an invitation is exciting when starting out, but at that stage, the ability to discern an event worthy of attendance from a complete fizzer is yet to develop. Product launches can be fun if the product is in the least bit interesting or comical, parties for party’s sake are excellent if they occur towards the end of the week and nightclub openings are always worth checking out if only for the people watching. However, tread carefully. Be selective about which you choose to attend, for you don’t want to become known as someone who would attend the opening of a wound. We all know the serial offenders and no one likes to be that guy.

2. Arrive on time. There’s fashionably late and unfashionably late, but these days, fashionably early is what the party pros are doing. You see, the social photographers—at least those from the publications that matter—are there to do their jobs in the quickest time possible so they can get to their next engagement of the evening before going home and making a cup of tea. Alas, attending parties five nights a week is considered work for some, and when your office is the event circuit, you treat it as you would a job—get the heck out of there as soon as possible.

3. Refuse some photos. You are responsible for your personal brand and being the person in every third photo at a party makes you look like a desperado. If you chase the lens like a crackie does their dealer, you’ll make quite the reputation for yourself as someone not to photograph. Always ask where the image is going to go and pose for a maximum of three shots. If you’re in several photos, it gives the impression that there weren’t many guests at the party, which in turn renders you a loser for attending a dud event. Hello, Z list.

4. Don’t be photographed with a drink or a cigarette in your hand. Like foul language reads more confronting on paper than it does when spoken, booze and fags give the impression that you’re a tasteless lush. Hide your glass or cigarette behind your back when the lens is in front of you, and if an unflattering image is uploaded to social media, untag it immediately.

5. Stick to small food. Cocktail parties are for schmoozing and boozing and shouldn’t be considered a source of a free meal. Canapés stave off supreme drunkenness and should be big enough to pop into your mouth discreetly in one or two bites. While food served in bowls or takeaway boxes might seem appealing, they prove cumbersome when juggling a napkin and a most likely a drink. If you do need something more substantial, find a place to sit and eat like a civilised person, then rejoin the party after your last mouthful, not during.

6. Dress appropriately. They say you can never be too dressed up, though, if an event takes place at 6pm and you’re clothed for a black tie event, it suggests you’re unemployed and have too much free time. Dress smartly for the event and as though you haven’t gone to any effort. And remember: Those who wear a colour other than black are most likely to be snapped by those who matter.

7. Choose your company wisely. After some turns on the party circuit, you’ll soon learn who’s who in the social zoo. Alas, this is by trial and error and you’ll likely encounter a trashbag close-talker with beer breath and projectile food debris. Run away. Of course, breaking into a light jog is frowned upon, but often excusing yourself to use the facilities should suffice. No one likes a Debbie downer.

8. Keep yourself nice. While it’s tempting to hit the open bar with gay abandon, remember that the higher the blood alcohol level the messier you’ll look. Check on yourself in the mirror whenever you make your way to the restroom, have a non-alcoholic drink for every one or two alcoholic beverages and whatever you do, don’t get stoned. People with droopy Snoop Dogg eyes make for hilarious post-event fodder.

9. You can refuse the gift bag. Gift bags often provide wonderful spoils, but taking them can be more troublesome than the contents are worth. Surreptitiously spy what’s contained within when others more gauche pull them apart publicly, and if it looks like a bag of advertising material and dodgy haircare, give it a sidestep. If you’re planning on heading out after, think about how you’ll have to transport and if it’s a too-hard case, politely decline.

10. Leave early. Most events that matter take place on school nights, so you must remind yourself of this when you take your fifteenth glass off a waiter’s tray. There’s always a bunch of trashbags who have to have it pointed out to them that everyone else has gone home, so make sure you’re not one of them. When a round of bottled water is distributed, that should be your cue to leave if you haven’t already. Remember: There are plenty of other bars with liquor, you just might have to put your hand into your own pocket to continue. Quelle horreur!

Article and image reproduced from idobelieveicamewithahat.com

Grammar 101: Compliment vs. Complement

Adrian Fernand – Australia’s most stylish Agony Uncle and commentator on etiquette and social protocol – continues his tongue-firmly-in-cheek Grammar 101 series to help those finding it difficult to distinguish between paying something a compliment and what suits it…

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Keeping favour and being favourable mightn’t seem all that different from each other, but it’s just one letter that separates both. Something might suit another thing, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you should tell it so. Confused? In today’s Grammar 101, we clear up the difference between politesse and accompaniment in a handy and easy-to-remember diagram.

Click here to leave a comment on his blog or to like this post to alert your haphazard friends to their erroneous ways and see an end to silly mistakes.

Adrian Fernand welcomes you to nominate words requiring clarification or ask a question for the Agony Uncle. Click here to ask your question.

Etiquette for Hire: Part 1 – Job Applications

Adrian Fernand – Australia’s most stylish Agony Uncle – takes a look at the world of hiring and firing in Etiquette for Hire. Part 1 answers those all-important questions on job applications and preparing for interviews.

There comes a time in life when one just has to move on, and I’m not talking about skinny jeans and the axing of The Real Housewives of New York. When seeking a new job, the process can be a little daunting; what with the cover letters, Curriculum Vitae and the constant stream of indifferent recruiters.

The whole affair can make you want to throw the towel in and retire to a Buddhist temple, where orange robes and mung beans are always de rigeuer. If you’re not quite prepared to trade your polished brogues or court shoes for toe-proud sandals, then don’t despair, take the lead from the monks’ greatest virtue: patience.

Of course, having sheer talent is also helpful when seeking alternative employment, but having the skills to sell yourself long on paper will get you ahead. There was once a time when written correspondence was an indispensable attribute of any lady or gentleman, but that went out when you could have a pizza or sexual liaison delivered with just one SMS. Nowadays, if you ask someone to write you a letter with full block text and correct salutations, you’ll be lucky if you receive a torn piece of paper with illegible scrawl about paperclips.

So in an age of fast communication, correct correspondence will make your application stand out in a rather large lake of mediocrity. By following the basic rules of etiquette, not only can you be assertive, but you can always be perceived as being polite and thus, employable.

The Application

Chances are that a bunch of old crones like those on the left are going to be the ones examining your application, so if you can appeal to their old-fashioned sensibilities, it’s likely it will give you a leading edge.

Whether you’re applying online or by mail, the rules are still the same: be polite, succinct and most of all, confident.

Try and find out the name of the person handling the applications of the particular role you’re applying for and address them by their title and their surname; for example, ‘Dear Mr Smith’, rather than ‘Dear John’. Salutations like ‘Dear Sir’ or ‘Dear Madam’ are somewhat antiquated and should be reserved for situations when you don’t know their surname or formal occasions. You should always sign your letter with ‘Yours sincerely,’ and your name in this particular situation.

If you’re unable to find out the name of the person handling applications or if a general email address is supplied, then opt for ‘To Whom It May Concern:’, which is always followed by a colon and not a comma. When signing off, you should always use ‘Yours faithfully,’ which is easily remembered by thinking, “I’ve no idea who I’m sending this to and I’m putting faith in the Universe that it will be delivered where it’s meant to go even though I haven’t a hope in Hades in retrieving it should it go awry.” Easy, no?

Mr Agony Uncle
Etiquette Hatquarters

RE: Manservant Application

Dear Mr Uncle

I wish to apply for the above-mentioned position of Manservant. I believe I’m an ideal candidate as I am capable of washing, drying and folding an entire rugby team’s guernseys in forty-seven minutes and thirty-two seconds.

I trust you will consider my application.

Yours sincerely,

Pedro Wilson

Before the Interview

We live in a digital age, which thankfully makes job applications simpler to cut and paste, however, it presents a whole other smattering of issues. If you love the Internet, particularly sharing on the Internet, you need to perform an audit on your social media activity and see just what mightn’t appeal to a prospective employer. Google yourself if you haven’t already and see just what turns up. Now just might be the time to shut down that Neo-Nazi Facebook group and lock your pro-ana Twitter profile.

That said, it’s a good time to unlock your LinkedIn profile and bolster your credentials. Although, before you make any dramatic changes, review your privacy and profile update publishing settings—when someone suddenly updates their LinkedIn profile it usually means they’re looking for a new job; so take control and keep things mum, particularly if you’re connected to your boss.

Lastly, but possibly most importantly, make sure you have working voicemail on your mobile phone. Recruiters and prospective employers will always call during business hours and often from private numbers, so ensure that you have a professional-sounding outgoing message that can take the messages of wonderful job offers and heavy breathing of asthmatic perverts.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of Etiquette for Hire where Adrian Fernand will explore the world of interviews, follow-ups and resignations.

Article originally published on www.idobelieveicamewithahat.com

Top 5 Tips for Harmonious House Sharing

City Connect brings you another informative yet fun article from Adrian Fernand – Australia’s most stylish agony uncle and etiquette guru. This time he has advice for those leaving home for the first time and shares his top 5 tips for harmonious house sharing.

So you’re finally cutting the apron strings or mother bird has shoved you from the nest after tolerating teenage (or middle-aged) angst and skid-marked loads of washing for a little too long?

It doesn’t matter whether you’re nineteen, twenty-nine, or forty-nine (I’m looking at you, Norman Bates) when the time will come for you to pack your worldly possessions into a some semblance of order, throw them over your shoulder in a handkerchief attached to a switch of your choosing.

When leaving the parents behind to do whatever they do on household appliances when you’re not there comes a new sense of freedom but also responsibility. In most cases, one’s first out-of-home venture is usually one they share with others of greater or lesser experience. You might have found a spare bedroom in an established household or you might be setting up one with a friend, lover or stranger; either way, chances are you’ll need a little prod and some guidance to ensure that your new domestic life is one of champions. Here are our top five tips to make you a domestic god(dess).

1. Pay your rent on time. It might seem elementary but you’re an adult now, no matter your age. Don’t forget that you’re not the only one on the lease and others’ rental records and future accommodation depends on their being the perfect tenant.

2. Be seen as considerate but not as a doormat. If there are dishes in the sink and you’re washing up, take initiative and do them for your housemates. Likewise cleaning such as bathrooms and other shared areas, but if you find that your cohabitants are taking advantage of your generosity, redress the balance.

3. Respect others’ property. Not everyone purchases their possessions from charity shops so understand that some people have nice things that require respect. Don’t put your feet on the furniture, be careful with others’ glassware and always ascertain that something is microwave or dishwasher-safe before putting it in the respective appliance. If you break something, tell them straight away and offer to replace it. More often that not it will not be something of value, but if it is, accept responsibility.

4. Do not use metal objects on non-stick surfaces. Unsure of what’s non-stick? It’s any pot, pan or baking dish that has a charcoal grey or black coating on the inside, then chances are it’s not a fan of metal. It might seem trivial but when someone’s Scanpan is irreparably damaged, it makes for a lethal weapon.

5. Announce when you’re going to take a shower and this gives your housemates the opportunity to dash in ahead of you if you have a combined shower/bathroom/toilet. It might sound like an overshare but it will preclude any desperate improvisations in the kitchen sink!

Image reproduced from diabetes.org.uk
Article originally published on http://idobelieveicamewithahat.com/

Dating Etiquette – Keeping Your Man

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about dating etiquette. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

Now you have got your man, the next important step is to keep him which means traversing the potential minefields such as meeting his friends, going on your first mini-break, meeting the parents and behaviour in public.

Meeting His Friends

Although many of us are delighted to reach the stage where our man wants to show us off to his friends, once the euphoria has worn off we realise that the first meeting is akin to being thrown into shark-infested water – worse still – without a life jacket! This is an important time for you as while being flattered you can also use this time to scope out your new beau and judge him by the company that he keeps. The first thing to remember is that males are generally guarded with their pack so any invitation shows that you’ve already made it to the next stage.

If his group is mainly male your chat will require slight adaptation minimising all talk of girlie pinks and purples and leaving feelings and emotions at home. Men in general when they are not fire gazing and communicating with a series of grunts tend to banter in an effort to display their wits and their ego. If you try to compete on their level, your one-liners will seem slightly ambitious therefore it is important to be yourself along with a charming smile and a demeanour that you’re easy to be with.

The best tactic is to remain your beau’s shadow every now and again disarming his friends with an indirect complement. They are unlikely to be used to this and they will begin to start a rapport with you.

Remember his friends are not as interested in you as your girlfriends would be in him. Men are far more direct and their humour may even make you the butt of their jokes. The best way to navigate this situation is to not over-think it, respond always in humour and take nothing personally. In addition when meeting his friends, spend more time mingling with them than hanging off his arm like a lost puppy dog. If there is a female friend in his group, suppress any territorial urges you may have and whatever you do don’t compare yourself to her or criticise her to him. The female friend appears to wield much power so often people advise to get them on side, however the best tactic is to treat them like one of the boys and genuinely not notice their gender or let them influence your behaviour thus keeping the power at all times.

Men often criticise and jest their friends, do not be drawn into this trap by joining in with the banter, as the outsider it is possible to cause offence even if you are only agreeing with what others say.

Make sure you meet his friends before he meets yours. It is imperative that you have confidence in your relationship and that there are no cracks that niggle as your girlfriends will pick up on these as quick as a duck takes to water.

As for where and when, if possible choose to meet for drinks as this is less pressured than dinner.

The Mini-Break

Once you’ve made it past meeting the friends it won’t be long before he pops the question – not the proposal – but “do you want to go away for the weekend?”.

Just like the Scouts motto “Be Prepared”, the mini-break is a test drive to whether you can spend 24/7 together in close proximity so it is important to be fully organised enabling you to look good at all times. The trick here is to travel light as you are only equipped with one weekend bag so some location research and weather checks are the order of the day. Make sure you implement an underwear and grooming session before your weekend away and pack a book or local guide-book so you busy yourself up for when and if as most men do he needs some space.

It is traditional for the men to choose the destination of the mini-break and take control. If you are expecting Cannes but end up getting Brighton remember that it is only polite to express the same amount of excitement and enthusiasm as your beau will have put careful thought into your mini-break. Although as in the first part of this series we explain that etiquette dictates that you are not a girl who is easy to get, once you’ve got your man you should now become a woman who is easy to be around. Wherever you go, take in the local culture, restaurants and nightlife and be sure to supply many indirect compliments to his choice of venue and attractions. It is during this period that the focus is entirely on the two of you and rather than falling into the trap of being the perfect housewife and making your man happy, this is an important time to ask yourself whether you enjoy his company, whether he makes you happy, and whether you have just gift wrapped this relationship or is it the real thing.

As for money, in this modern day and age people find it acceptable to go Dutch. Etiquette still dictates that the person who invited the other on a mini-break should pay however as the guest it is only polite to offer to pay for a round of drinks here and there, a pub lunch and maybe a cab ride or two back to the hotel. If you are unequally matched financially then it is perfectly acceptable to have a conversation about who will pay for what before you embark on the trip.

Most importantly keep the mini-break light, fluffy and full of laughter and although little niggles may crop up along the way it is important to ask yourself if it is important to be right or enjoy your holiday.

Meeting the Parents

This part of the relationship can be the biggest minefield of them all so much so that there is a comedy along the same lines starring Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro and Teri Polo. No doubt your encounter will not be as hair-raising as displayed in this film but to guide you on your way ask your other half for a little information about his parents in advance. Typical questions to ask would include:

  • Are they strict or relaxed?
  • What dress code is expected?
  • Will dinner be cosy in the family room or a more formal dining affair for 20 people?
  • What topics of conversation should be avoided at all costs?
  • What individual subjects are each member of the family interested in?

As for dress code, conservative and elegant wins every time, make sure you are comfortable and ready for any occasion packing both a smart and casual outfit if you are staying over.

On greeting the parents it is important to use their title and surname until they invite you to use their first name. It is also the order of the day to take a present – a decent bottle of wine or a plant is acceptable however the more original and personal you can make the gift the better. If the family includes a grandparent or a sibling, it is also good practice to take a token present for them as well.

There is a fine balance between acting like one of the family by mucking in and stepping on the toes of your boyfriend’s mother. Therefore offer to help with domestic chores but defer to the mother, showing that you know your place and that she is ruler of the domestic household. As your boyfriend may be very relaxed at his parent’s home remember that when following his lead you should always increase the formality by a couple of notches, i.e. just because he drinks a few glasses of wine at dinner doesn’t mean that you should.

Over lunch or dinner, do not be a wallflower and enjoy an interesting debate with reasoning but avoid controversy at all costs. During such debate never complain about the injustices of your life or wax lyrical about those less privileged going through hardships in Third World countries. Likewise do not throw out gushing compliments towards the family as it will appear creepy and insincere.

If the parents house is big enough to accommodate you sleeping in different rooms, although it is common knowledge that you have spent at least a night together before meeting the parents, the accepted protocol is to ask for separate rooms.

On leaving thank each member of the family in turn for a wonderful stay and follow it up with a thank you letter within five days of your visit making sure you mention every member of the family present in your thank you note.

Again make sure you have met his parents before introducing him to yours, and when such time comes make sure you prep him with family oddities and off-limits behaviour so that he too can make a good impression with your parents.

Well done on getting this far in coupledom, however remember that it is easy to lose friends and alienate people by giving up much of your previous life and relying on your boyfriend. Make sure to strike an even balance of maintaining your respective lives, not taking each other for granted, restraining from public displays of affection and respecting each others privacy. At this stage above all trust and honesty is the most important part.

Good luck with your relationship. If you have any further questions or comments please leave them below.

Images reproduced from videojug.com, thebestsexetiquette.wordpress.com and blog.okcupid.com

Dating Etiquette – Getting Your Man

London Life Coach & Relationship Expert Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about finding Mr Right. Follow Sloan Life Coach on Twitter @SloanSW_London and visit www.sloansw.com

In this day and age, dating is often referred to as romantic roulette. It is a careful balancing game of either acting demure yet approachable so that the old-fashioned man can ride in on his metaphorical white horse sweeping the girl off her feet or instead taking charge of the situation living my the philosophy of “she who dares wins” and making the moves herself.

The dating game is not easy however the best outcomes normally occur when you work through the unspoken dating etiquette rules to attract your desired object of affection’s attention.

The first thing to note is that the impulsive female can send most decent boys running scared leaving only the men who want to rack you up as a notch on their bedpost so subtlety is the name of the game; a flirtatious glance, a subtle approach and the exchange of business cards puts the ball firmly in the boy’s court to phone you. Waiting might be hard but even in this day and age calling the guy first is a big no-no.

The best way to become noticed is to choose your company carefully. Preferably downsize the group to just two or three people. Master the art of looking popular yet relaxed, catch the eye of the gentleman you wish to pursue and hold his gaze and smile sweetly. In a perfect world, the guy should approach you but in the modern world so many females approach men that they have become lazy.

If you feel able to approach him directly, strike up a natural conversation and avoid chat up lines at all costs. Keep the conversation short and sweet, make an excuse to leave and if they have not asked for your number then it is perfectly acceptable to say “I’m sorry I have to go and join my friends now. It’ll be fun to meet up some time. Would you like to swap numbers?”. If he takes your number and does not call, chalk this up to experience and move on. If however he gives you his number yet doesn’t take yours, call once leaving a message and leave the rest up to him.

If this goes swimmingly then you should by now have discussed your first date. The correct etiquette is that whoever asked for the date takes care of the booking, the venue, the time and the dress code.

More often than not the man will choose dinner and drinks so make sure you dress appropriately for the restaurant chosen. No matter how fancy the restaurant, power hair-dos and bold make-up are not the order of the day. A girl next door natural look is more appropriate and enchanting. As for dress code, go for elegant and sophisticated showing minimal skin but use textures such as silk or chiffon to bring out your best qualities. Remember to focus on the upper half of your body including accessorising as this will be on display more than the rest of you.

Being five minutes late is acceptable but any more looks pretty arrogant. On arrival, the gentleman should already be there and to lighten the mood go straight in breaking the ice with a peck on the cheek.

Once you are seated and have ordered, keep your conversation nice and fluffy. Avoid talking about marriage, children, work difficulties and the like remembering at all times that he is your date and not your therapist. A successful date will include engaging conversation on art, culture, life and hobbies. Remember men like to advertise their success as a form of status, even if you are a career woman resist the urge to reply in kind again keeping the conversation light. If the conversation feels stilted, use this time to ask the man questions that you know you have in common, do not be put off if he doesn’t return the questions just use this opportunity to give your own point-of-view to avoid the conversation becoming too one-sided.

If you are not interested in your date then going Dutch is the universal sign to keep things in the friends zone. If however you are interested in a second date, the correct etiquette is for the invited to pay the bill. During this moment set up a silent smiling eye look with a genuine thank you followed up by an additional thank you by text or e-mail the next day.

For those of you playing it cool, you should end your first date there however in this modern day and age many dates end up in the one night stand. If you like the guy, etiquette dictates that no matter how attracted you are to him you should at least hold out until the third date. However as a consenting adult if you choose to go back to his place or vice versa, do be prepared that this may be interpreted as a no strings attached encounter.

If a one night stand is what you’ve decided to do, remember that any dark alley gropery is not lady-like and also don’t force taxi drivers to endure any indiscretions. Once home remember it’s never too late to change your mind but if you don’t then reduce your expectations for a long term prospect although never say never.

After the act, it is polite to get to know your conquest under the guise of shedding a little more meaning and memorability to the encounter however if this is obviously not appropriate then steal yourself away, make your excuses, depart with a good reason and hold your head up high as you leave. If he has come back to yours, the polite thing to do is offer him breakfast however, if he declines, let him do the chasing and consider that an end to the encounter.

If however you have made it passed the third date and it is inevitable that both of you wish to take the budding relationship to the next level it is perfectly acceptable after the third date to act on your feelings. Make sure you look amazing for the date, apply some scent to your pulse points and ensure your underwear is stylish and sophisticated. In these modern times it is perfectly acceptable to pack a toothbrush, clean underwear and condoms in your handbag.

Prior to having sex, etiquette dictates that communication is paramount and this means that you should feel free enough to speak about contraception, sexual health, sexual preferences and your feelings.

Remember at all times that it is perfectly acceptable to have a change of heart but if this is not the case keep up the humour quotient and expect that any first time sexual relationship may be clumsy and/or mind-blowing, so manage your expectations.

Also ensure that if you do share your house with a flatmate that you remember that discretion is important. Having already built rapport with your potential boyfriend, any need to do a mad dash in the morning should not be present in either of you however good or bad the previous night went. It is a crucial part of the dating process to spend the first morning after together even if either of you are slightly out of your comfort zones. This can be as simple as relaxing over breakfast and the morning papers or going out to grab an early brunch. Some couples prefer to spend the whole day together however it is also acceptable to manufacture a prior engagement to give yourself some space to decide what you really want. The overall messgae here is to be good company, avoid being clingy and definitely do not overstay your welcome. It is common practice for the man to chase the next day and at all costs do not be the first to contact once you’ve left.

Obviously there are many variations of the above model but the take home message is to be easy to be with, fun to talk to, to choose when you’re ready to have sex unrelated to peer pressure and don’t chase the guy.

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to send them to us through the Questions & Answers page and have at http://datingreviewer.org/victoriabrides-review/

 

Happy dating!

Images reproduced from visualphotos.com, blog.badoo.com, thebestsexetiquette.wordpress.com, blog.okcupid.com, fabsugar.com, collegecandy.com

Private Members Club – The Do’s and Dont’s for Your Night Out

London Life Coach & Relationship Coach Sloan Sheridan-Williams talks about private members club etiquette. Follow Sloan on Twitter @SloanSW_London and check out Sloan’s website www.sloansw.com

There is a price to pay for partying in exclusive surroundings, but that price is not always monetary. It is more the case that you are out and about on show in your community within a group of people that have higher expectations than your local pub, bar or restaurant. Below are a few guidelines to help you navigate the world of etiquette in such establishments.

First Impressions and Rapport with the Host

It is good to remember that these clubs are more than a restaurant or bar. Even as a well respected member, it is only polite to always let the Club’s host know when you are dropping by. In these modern times, this can be as simple as a phone call, e-mail and – thanks to technological advancements – a comment on Twitter or LinkedIn. Please, do note that Facebook is not a business porthole and is therefore not appropriate. The announcement should be short and sweet whether it is based on stating that you are looking forward to seeing the host or requesting the entry of guests to the Club.

Such request for attendance should never be in the style of ‘A table for four, please.’ The exclusivity of the Club deserves respect and appreciation that you are a member by invitation should be maintained at all times.

Guest lists are not much more than a marketing tool these days so remember it is still the personal touch that is important. After the evening, just as with any other invitation, one should send a thank you message. Again in such modern times this can be done electronically and is preferable in this medium. In the cases of Twitter or LinkedIn it is more public and therefore also good advertising for the Club. Such acknowledgment should be done within 24 hours where access allows.

Introductions

As always for new introductions a firm handshake is first port of call. Supplement with eye contact and a genuine warm smile. If you know the member or host well and the setting calls for it, social kissing is still heavily prevalent. If you do not like such contact, it is perfectly polite to extend your arm to shake hands. If you are on the receiving end of such a gesture, respect the boundaries of the other person and go with the flow. If you do go for the minefield of the social kiss, bring the recipient closer to you by gently placing your hand on their shoulder and aim for the right cheek first. Some people decide one kiss is enough. If this is your modus operandi then pull back before you get into the more often than not seen dance of ‘one kiss or two!’ If in doubt, or you are unsure of how to greet the person, let the elder take charge.

Behaviour Inside the Club

A public persona must always be assumed as people-watching is an everyday sport nowadays. Poise and grace are as paramount as in the old days but with a touch of relaxed approachability thrown in. Elegant drinking and dining is a must in such establishments and to carry this off well, it is good to monitor one’s alcohol intake.

There is a dividing line between alcohol as a social lubricant immersed with the enjoyment of fine spirits or wines and alcohol as a precursor to outrageous events that are fodder for much speculation about one’s next Priory vacation. Before having that extra glass of alcohol that leaves you dancing on the tables, err on the side of caution and interperse your imbibation with the odd glass of water.

Conversation itself is best when spontaneous with the avoidance of the hot topics: politics, sex, scandal and money. Talk and listen equally. Be interesting – not only for yourself but for those around you - all while keeping your decibel level to that worthy of your table, not the adjacent one.

If there is a conflict, a discreet nod to the Club’s host and a quiet word is much better than tackling a matter head on. In the case of small infringements, a polite smile is all that is necessary, not everyone is versed in the art of etiquette and their behaviour may not have been personal but just a faux pas.

Meeting Celebrities

In private members clubs you often meet two types of celebrity - those seeking media attention and those who prefer to have a quiet night out with friends. Celebrities, unlike our British Royalty, are not obliged to give a welcoming reception to a ‘mere civilian’. Therefore, in such a spotting, it is polite to ignore them and/or if the situation allows treat them as any other individual. Feigning ignorance as to who they are is rarely an acceptable form of address but a simple gesture, if appropriate, would be to introduce yourself and let them return in kind.

Remember you only know their public persona so treat them like any other member at the Club. If they choose to think their station is above you then that is their business and one for the Club’s host to discretely remedy not you. At no point is it acceptable to criticise their work or ask them to perform. You can, if the conversation allows, remark on your appreciation of their work but the truly elegant celebrity would rather be treated as an individual.

At all times discretion is key and lobby rules should be in play. Such rules are based on the code of honour between Members of Parliament and journalists accredited to the lobby of the House of Commons. It is a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ that matters raised or overheard in conversations between members and guests are not to be used for commercial or journalistic purposes. In modern times, this extends to posting on Facebook – and similar – whom you saw, what they were doing and (heaven forbid) tagging them in a photo.  Such courtesy of lobby rules should be extended to all guests and not just celebrities.

My Favourite Members Clubs

London: Luxx, Maddox, Home House and The Club at the Ivy
New York: Supper Club and Soho House
Paris: Palais Maillot
Verbier: Coco Club

Recently, I have heard that Cambridge is now home to a new members club that I look forward to frequenting in the not too distant future. The Club is called 12a and has already developed the mystique and sophistication expected of such an establishment. On the left is a sneak preview of the bar area.

On a lunchtime inspection, I was transported back to the Prohibition Era and allowed to feast my eyes on a delectable drinks menu inserted into an old style book as a bookmark. The drinks menu is old school, not a Blue Hawaiian new age cocktail in site, thank goodness! I believe they are soon bringing out a tasty nibbles and antipasti menu.

I look forward to reporting on my first evening visit.

Etiquette Series: I am often asked to write about the correct behaviour in social situations, be it cultural, social or business.  Although many think I am American, the occasional twang from my Manhattan days, I was born and bred in London.  As a child my local corner shop was Harrods, my usual breakfast haunt Inner Temple and the evenings filled with dinner parties extraordinaire. In circumstances like these as a child you quickly learn that there are expectations and if you exceed them your life will be much simpler. This holds true as you get older but the expectations have developed somewhat in the last three decades. This series is designed to highlight some of the ways in which such old fashioned manners have been updated and how to adapt them to your life. In this series, I will provide you with some handy hints on how to achieve a more positive engagement with people by simply adapting your behaviour. I look forward to your comments, either below or on Twitter. If you wish to be informed of the next instalment of the series, please sign up to the RSS feed in the top right hand corner. I look forward to hearing your views on any of the above mentioned clubs and/or suggestions for others.

Images reproduced from www.homehouse.co.uk, www.libertygalleries.com, www.tressugar.com or supplied by contributors.

Disability Etiquette – Mental Health and Learning Disabilities

This is the fourth part in a series of articles which raises awareness of commonly encountered disabilities and offers advice on how to interact with people with disabilities. We end the series with a look at the disability etiquette surrounding people with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

This series is based on the disability etiquette material published by the United Spinal Association and is an opportunity for City Connect to promote the excellent charity work done by disability charities, in particular Mind and Mencap. City Connect aims to help readers avoid disability discrimination by providing clear guidelines on disability etiquette.

Psychiatric Disabilities (Mental Illness)

People with psychiatric disabilities may at times have difficulty coping with the tasks and interactions of daily life. Their disorder may interfere with their ability to feel, think or relate to others. Most people with psychiatric disabilities are not violent. One of the main obstacles they face is the attitudes that people have about them. Because it is a hidden disability, chances are you will not even realize that the person has a mental health condition.

  • Stress can affect the person’s ability to function. Try to keep the pressure of the situation to a minimum.
  • People who have psychiatric disabilities have varying personalities and different ways of coping with their disability. Some may have trouble picking up on social cues; others may be supersensitive. One person may be very high energy, while someone else may appear sluggish. Treat each person as an individual. Ask what will make him most comfortable and respect his needs to the maximum extent possible.
  • In a crisis, stay calm and be supportive as you would with anyone. Ask how you can help, and find out if there is a support person who can be sent for. If appropriate, you might ask if the person has medication that he needs to take.

 
Developmental Disabilities

People with developmental disabilities learn slowly. They have a hard time using what they have learned and applying it from one setting or situation to another.

  • Speak to the person in clear sentences, using simple words and concrete—rather than abstract—concepts. Help her understand a complex idea by breaking it down into smaller parts.
  • Don’t use baby talk or talk down to people who have developmental disabilities. Gauge the pace, complexity, and vocabulary of your speech according to theirs.
  • Remember that the person is an adult and, unless you are informed otherwise, can make her own decisions.
  • People with developmental disabilities may be anxious to please. During an interview, the person may tell you what she thinks you want to hear. In certain situations, such as law enforcement or a doctor’s examination, it can have grave consequences if your interview technique is not effective. Questions should be phrased in a neutral way to elicit accurate information. Verify responses by repeating each question in a different way.
  • It can be difficult for people with developmental disabilities to make quick decisions. Be patient and allow the person to take their time.
  • Clear signage with pictograms can help a person who has developmental disabilities to find her way around a facility.
  • People with developmental disabilities often rely on routine and on the familiar to manage work and daily living. Be aware that a change in the environment or in a routine may require some attention and a period of adjustment.

People with Learning Disabilities

Learning disabilities are life long disorders that interfere with a person’s ability to receive, express or process information. Although they have certain limitations, most people with learning disabilities have average or above-average intelligence. You may not realize that the person has a learning disability because he functions so well. Or you may be confused about why such a high-functioning person has problems in one aspect of his work.

  • People with dyslexia or other reading disabilities have trouble reading written information. Give them verbal explanations and allow extra time for reading.
  • Don’t be surprised if you tell someone very simple instructions and he requests that you write them down. Because spoken information gets “scrambled” as he listens, a person who has a learning disability such as auditory processing disorder may need information demonstrated or in writing.
  • Ask the person how you can best relay information. Be direct in your communication. A person with a learning disability may have trouble grasping subtleties.
  • It may be easier for the person to function in a quiet environment without distractions, such as a radio playing, people moving around or loudly patterned curtains.

 
People with Traumatic (or Acquired) Brain Injury

People with traumatic brain injury have had damage to the brain usually as the result of trauma, such as an accident or stroke.

  • Some of the factors that affect persons with learning disabilities also apply to persons with traumatic brain injury. People with brain injury may have a loss of muscle control or mobility that is not obvious. For example, a person may not be able to sign her name, even though she can move her hand.
  • A person with a brain injury may have poor impulse control. The person may make inappropriate comments and may not understand social cues or “get” indications that she has offended someone. In her frustration to understand, or to get her own ideas across, she may seem pushy. All of these behaviours arise as a result of the injury.
  • A person with a brain injury may be unable to follow directions due to poor short-term memory or poor directional orientation. She may ask to be accompanied, or she may use a guide dog for orientation, although she does not appear to be mobility impaired.
  • If you are not sure that the person understands you, ask if she would like you to write down what you were saying.
  • The person may have trouble concentrating or organizing her thoughts, especially in an over stimulating environment, like a crowded movie theatre or transportation terminal. Be patient. You might suggest going somewhere with fewer distractions.

The Basics

Ask before you help

Just because someone has a disability, don’t assume she needs help. If the setting is accessible, people with disabilities can usually get around fine. Adults with disabilities want to be treated as independent people. Offer assistance only if the person appears to need it. And if she does want help, ask how before you act.

Be sensitive about physical contact

Some people with disabilities depend on their arms for balance. Grabbing them—even if your intention is to assist—could knock them off balance. Avoid patting a person on the head or touching his wheelchair, scooter or cane. People with disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space.

Think before you speak

Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to his companion, aide or sign language interpreter. Making small talk with a person who has a disability is great; just talk to him as you would with anyone else. Respect his privacy. If you ask about his disability, he may feel like you are treating him as a disability, not as a human being. (However, many people with disabilities are comfortable with children’s natural curiosity and do not mind if a child asks them questions.)

Don’t make assumptions

People with disabilities are the best judge of what they can or cannot do. Don’t make decisions for them about participating in any activity. Depending on the situation, it could be a violation of the law to exclude people because of a presumption about their limitations.

Respond graciously to requests

When people who have a disability ask for an accommodation at your business, it is not a complaint. It shows they feel comfortable enough in your establishment to ask for what they need. And if they get a positive response, they will probably come back again and tell their friends about the good service they received.

Terminology Tips

Say “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person.”
Say “people with disabilities” rather than “the disabled.”
For specific disabilities, saying “person with Tourette syndrome” or “person who has cerebral palsy” is usually a safe bet.
Still, individuals do have their own preferences. If you are not sure what words to use, ask.

Avoid outdated terms like “handicapped” or “crippled.” Be aware that many people with disabilities dislike jargony, euphemistic terms like “physically challenged” and “differently abled.” Say “wheelchair user,” rather than “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound.” The wheelchair is what enables the person to get around and participate in society; it’s liberating, not confining.

With any disability, avoid negative, disempowering words, like “victim” or “sufferer.” Say “person with AIDS” instead of “AIDS victim” or “person who suffers from AIDS.”

It’s okay to use idiomatic expressions when talking to people with disabilities. For example, saying, “It was good to see you,” and “See you later,” to a person who is blind is completely acceptable; they use these expressions themselves all the time!

Many people who are Deaf communicate with sign language and consider themselves to be members of a cultural and linguistic minority group. They refer to themselves as Deaf with a capital “D,” and may be offended by the term “hearing impaired.” Others may not object to the term, but in general it is safest to refer to people who have hearing loss but who communicate in spoken language as “hard of hearing” and to people with profound hearing losses as Deaf or deaf.

Images reproduced from www.topnews.ae and www.disabilityuk.com

Disability Etiquette – Vision Impaired

This is the second part in a series of articles which raises awareness of commonly encountered disabilities and offers advice on how to interact with people with disabilities. We continue the series with a look at the disability etiquette surrounding people who are blind or have low vision.

This series is based on the disability etiquette material published by the United Spinal Association and is an opportunity for City Connect to promote the excellent charity work done by disability charities, in particular the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), Guide Dogs and www.camsight.org.uk. City Connect aims to help readers avoid disability discrimination by providing clear guidelines on disability etiquette.

People who are Blind

People who are blind know how to orient themselves and get around on the street. They are competent to travel unassisted, though they may use a cane or a guide dog. A person may have a visual disability that is not obvious. Below are a few pointers to help you on your way to avoiding a faux pas.

  • Identify yourself before you make physical contact with a person who is blind. Tell him your name and your role if it’s appropriate, such as security guard, usher, case worker, receptionist or fellow student. And be sure to introduce him to others who are in the group, so that he’s not excluded.
  • If a new customer or employee is blind or visually impaired, offer him a tour of your facility.
  • If you have changed your facility (i.e., rearranged the furniture) notify your customers who are blind of the changes.
  • People who are blind need their arms for balance, so offer your arm—don’t take his—if he needs to be guided. (It is however appropriate to guide a blind person’s hand to a banister or the back of a chair to help direct him to a stairway or a seat.)
  • If the person has a guide dog, walk on the side opposite the dog. As you are walking, describe the setting, noting any obstacles, such as stairs (‘up’ or ‘down’) or a big crack in the pavement. Other hazards include: revolving doors, half-opened filing cabinets or doors, and objects protruding from the wall at head level such as hanging plants or lamps. If you are going to give a warning, be specific. Shouting “Look out!” does not tell the person if he should stop, run, duck or jump.
  • If you are giving directions, give specific, nonvisual information. Rather than say, “Go to your right when you reach the office supplies,” which assumes the person knows where the office supplies are, say, “Walk forward to the end of this aisle and make a full right.”
  • If you need to leave a person who is blind, inform him first and let him know where the exit is, then leave him near a wall, table, or some other landmark. The middle of a room will seem like the middle of nowhere to him.
  • Don’t touch the person’s cane or guide dog. The dog is working and needs to concentrate. The cane is part of the individual’s personal space. If the person puts the cane down, don’t move it. Let him know if it’s in the way.
  • Offer to read written information—such as the menu, merchandise labels or bank statements—to customers who are blind. Count out change so that they know which notes and coins are which.
  • If you serve food to a person who is blind, let him know where it is on the plate according to a clock orientation (twelve o’clock is furthest from them, six o’clock is nearest). Remove garnishes and anything that is not edible from the plate. Some customers may ask you to cut their food; this can be done in the restaurant’s kitchen before the meal is served.

People With Low Vision

  • A person who has low vision may need written material in large print. A clear font with appropriate spacing is just as important as the type size. Labels and signs should be clearly lettered in contrasting colours. It is easiest for most people with low vision impairments to read bold white letters on black background. Avoid using all uppercase letters because it is more difficult for people with low vision to distinguish the end of a sentence.
  • Good lighting is important, but it shouldn’t be too bright. In fact, very shiny paper or walls can produce a glare that disturbs people’s eyes.
  • Keep walkways clear of obstructions. If people with low vision regularly use your facility as customers or employees, inform them about any physical changes, such as rearranged furniture, equipment or other items that have been moved.

The Basics

Ask before you help

Just because someone has a disability, don’t assume she needs help. If the setting is accessible, people with disabilities can usually get around fine. Adults with disabilities want to be treated as independent people. Offer assistance only if the person appears to need it. And if she does want help, ask how before you act.

Be sensitive about physical contact

Some people with disabilities depend on their arms for balance. Grabbing them—even if your intention is to assist—could knock them off balance. Avoid patting a person on the head or touching his wheelchair, scooter or cane. People with disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space.

Think before you speak

Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to his companion, aide or sign language interpreter. Making small talk with a person who has a disability is great; just talk to him as you would with anyone else. Respect his privacy. If you ask about his disability, he may feel like you are treating him as a disability, not as a human being. (However, many people with disabilities are comfortable with children’s natural curiosity and do not mind if a child asks them questions.)

Don’t make assumptions

People with disabilities are the best judge of what they can or cannot do. Don’t make decisions for them about participating in any activity. Depending on the situation, it could be a violation of the law to exclude people because of a presumption about their limitations.

Respond graciously to requests

When people who have a disability ask for an accommodation at your business, it is not a complaint. It shows they feel comfortable enough in your establishment to ask for what they need. And if they get a positive response, they will probably come back again and tell their friends about the good service they received.

Terminology Tips

Say “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person.”
Say “people with disabilities” rather than “the disabled.”
For specific disabilities, saying “person with Tourette syndrome” or “person who has cerebral palsy” is usually a safe bet.
Still, individuals do have their own preferences. If you are not sure what words to use, ask.

Avoid outdated terms like “handicapped” or “crippled.” Be aware that many people with disabilities dislike jargony, euphemistic terms like “physically challenged” and “differently abled.” Say “wheelchair user,” rather than “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound.” The wheelchair is what enables the person to get around and participate in society; it’s liberating, not confining.

With any disability, avoid negative, disempowering words, like “victim” or “sufferer.” Say “person with AIDS” instead of “AIDS victim” or “person who suffers from AIDS.”

It’s okay to use idiomatic expressions when talking to people with disabilities. For example, saying, “It was good to see you,” and “See you later,” to a person who is blind is completely acceptable; they use these expressions themselves all the time!

Many people who are Deaf communicate with sign language and consider themselves to be members of a cultural and linguistic minority group. They refer to themselves as Deaf with a capital “D,” and may be offended by the term “hearing impaired.” Others may not object to the term, but in general it is safest to refer to people who have hearing loss but who communicate in spoken language as “hard of hearing” and to people with profound hearing losses as Deaf or deaf.

Images reproduced from www.trainingjournal.com and www.disabilityuk.com

Disability Etiquette – Hearing Impaired

This is the third part in a series of articles which raises awareness of commonly encountered disabilities and offers advice on how to interact with people with disabilities. We continue the series with a look at the disability etiquette surrounding those who are Deaf or hearing impaired.

This series is based on the disability etiquette material published by the United Spinal Association and is an opportunity for City Connect to promote the excellent charity work done by disability charities, in particular the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID) and the National Deaf Children’s Society (NDCS). City Connect aims to help readers avoid disability discrimination by providing clear guidelines on disability etiquette.

People Who Are Deaf or Have a Hearing Loss

Sign Language is an entirely different language from English, with a syntax all its own. Speech reading (lip reading) is difficult for people who are Deaf if their first language is sign language because the majority of sounds in English are formed inside the mouth, and it’s hard to speech read a second language. People who are hard of hearing, however, communicate in English. They use some hearing but may rely on amplification and/or seeing the speaker’s lips to communicate effectively.

There is a range of communication preferences and styles among people with hearing loss that cannot be explained in this brief space. It is helpful to note that the majority of late deafened adults do not communicate with sign language do use English and may be candidates for writing and assistive listening devices to help improve communication. People with cochlear implants, like other people with hearing loss, will usually inform you what works best for them. Below are a few pointers that will help you avoid a faux pas.

  • When the exchange of information is complex—such as during a job interview or doctor’s visit or when reporting a crime—the most effective way to communicate with a native signer is through a qualified sign language interpreter. For a simple interaction—such as ordering in a restaurant or registering for a hotel room—writing back and forth is usually okay.
  • Follow the person’s cues to find out if she prefers sign language, gesturing, writing or speaking. If you have trouble understanding the speech of a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, let her know.
  • When using a sign-language interpreter, look directly at the person who is deaf, and maintain eye contact to be polite. Talk directly to the person (‘What would you like?’), rather than to the interpreter (‘Ask her what she’d like.’).
  • People who are deaf need to be included in the decision-making process for issues that affect them; don’t decide for them.
  • Before speaking to a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, make sure that you get her attention. Depending on the situation, you can extend your arm and wave your hand, tap her on the shoulder or flicker the lights.
  • Rephrase, rather than repeat, sentences that the person doesn’t understand.
  • When talking, face the person. A quiet, well-lit room is most conducive to effective communication. If you are in front of the light source—such as a window—with your back to it, the glare may obscure your face and make it difficult for the person who is hard of hearing to speech read.
  • Speak clearly. Most people who are hard of hearing count on watching people’s lips as they speak to help them understand. Avoid chewing gum, smoking or obscuring your mouth with your hand while speaking.
  • There is no need to shout at a person who is deaf or hard of hearing. If the person uses a hearing aid, it will be calibrated to normal voice levels; your shout will just sound distorted.

People With Speech Disabilities

  •  A person who has had a stroke, is severely hard of hearing, uses a voice prosthesis or has a stammer or other type of speech disability may be difficult to understand.
  • Give the person your full attention. Don’t interrupt or finish the person’s sentences. If you have trouble understanding, don’t nod. Just ask him to repeat. In most cases the person won’t mind and will appreciate your effort to hear what he has to say.
  • If you are not sure whether you have understood, you can repeat for verification.

 

The Basics

Ask before you help

Just because someone has a disability, don’t assume she needs help. If the setting is accessible, people with disabilities can usually get around fine. Adults with disabilities want to be treated as independent people. Offer assistance only if the person appears to need it. And if she does want help, ask how before you act.

Be sensitive about physical contact

Some people with disabilities depend on their arms for balance. Grabbing them—even if your intention is to assist—could knock them off balance. Avoid patting a person on the head or touching his wheelchair, scooter or cane. People with disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space.

Think before you speak

Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to his companion, aide or sign language interpreter. Making small talk with a person who has a disability is great; just talk to him as you would with anyone else. Respect his privacy. If you ask about his disability, he may feel like you are treating him as a disability, not as a human being. (However, many people with disabilities are comfortable with children’s natural curiosity and do not mind if a child asks them questions.)

Don’t make assumptions

People with disabilities are the best judge of what they can or cannot do. Don’t make decisions for them about participating in any activity. Depending on the situation, it could be a violation of the law to exclude people because of a presumption about their limitations.

Respond graciously to requests

When people who have a disability ask for an accommodation at your business, it is not a complaint. It shows they feel comfortable enough in your establishment to ask for what they need. And if they get a positive response, they will probably come back again and tell their friends about the good service they received.

Terminology Tips

Say “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person.”

  • Say “people with disabilities” rather than “the disabled.”
  • For specific disabilities, saying “person with Tourette syndrome” or “person who has cerebral palsy” is usually a safe bet.

Still, individuals do have their own preferences. If you are not sure what words to use, ask.

Avoid outdated terms like “handicapped” or “crippled.” Be aware that many people with disabilities dislike jargony, euphemistic terms like “physically challenged” and “differently abled.” Say “wheelchair user,” rather than “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound.” The wheelchair is what enables the person to get around and participate in society; it’s liberating, not confining.

With any disability, avoid negative, disempowering words, like “victim” or “sufferer.” Say “person with AIDS” instead of “AIDS victim” or “person who suffers from AIDS.”

It’s okay to use idiomatic expressions when talking to people with disabilities. For example, saying, “It was good to see you,” and “See you later,” to a person who is blind is completely acceptable; they use these expressions themselves all the time!

Many people who are Deaf communicate with sign language and consider themselves to be members of a cultural and linguistic minority group. They refer to themselves as Deaf with a capital “D,” and may be offended by the term “hearing impaired.” Others may not object to the term, but in general it is safest to refer to people who have hearing loss but who communicate in spoken language as “hard of hearing” and to people with profound hearing losses as Deaf or deaf.

Images reproduced from www.people.howstuffworks.com and www.disabilityuk.com

Disability Etiquette – Wheelchair Users and Impaired Mobility

This is the first part in a series of articles which raises awareness of commonly encountered disabilities and offers advice on how to interact with people with disabilities. We open the series looking at the disability etiquette surrounding wheelchair users and those with impaired mobility.

This series is based on the disability etiquette material published by the United Spinal Association and is an opportunity for City Connect to promote the excellent charity work done by disability charities, in particular Scope, Whizz Kidz and www.wheelchairfoundation.org.uk. City Connect aims to help readers avoid disability discrimination by providing clear guidelines on disability etiquette.

People who use wheelchairs have different disabilities and varying abilities. Some can use their arms and hands. Some can get out of their wheelchairs and even walk for short distances. Taking this into consideration and the points below should help you avoid a faux pas.

  • Wheelchair users are people, not equipment. Don’t lean over someone in a wheelchair to shake another person’s hand or ask a wheelchair user to hold coats. Setting your drink on the desktop attached to someone’s wheelchair is a definite no-no.
  • Don’t push or touch a person’s wheelchair; it’s part of her personal space. If you help someone down a curb without waiting for instructions, you may dump her out of the chair. You may detach the chair’s parts if you lift it by the handles or the footrest.
  • Keep the ramps and wheelchair-accessible doors to your building unlocked and unblocked. Be respectful of their space, displays should not be in front of entrances, wastebaskets should not be in the middle of aisles and boxes should not be stored on ramps.
  • Be aware of wheelchair users’ reach limits. Place as many items as possible within their grasp. And make sure that there is a clear path of travel to shelves and display racks. When talking to a wheelchair user, grab your own chair and sit at her level. If that’s not possible, stand at a slight distance, so that she isn’t straining her neck to make eye contact with you.
  • If the service counter at your place of business is too high for a wheelchair user to see over, step around it to provide service. Have a clipboard handy if filling in forms or providing signatures is expected.
  • If your building has different routes through it, be sure that signs direct wheelchair users to the most accessible ways around the facility. People who walk with a cane or crutches also need to know the easiest way to get around a place, but stairs may be easier for them than a ramp. Ensure that security guards and receptionists can answer questions about the most accessible way around the building and grounds.
  • If the nearest public toilet is not accessible or is located on an inaccessible floor, allow the person in a wheelchair to use a private or employees’ accessible toilet.
  • People who use canes or crutches need their arms to balance themselves, so never grab them. People who have limited mobility may lean on a door for support as they open it. Pushing the door open from behind or unexpectedly opening the door may cause them to fall. Even pulling out or pushing in a chair may present a problem. Always ask before offering help.
  • If you offer a seat to a person who has limited mobility, keep in mind that chairs with arms or with higher seats are easier for some people to use.
  • Falls are a big problem for people who have limited mobility. Be sure to set out adequate warning signs after washing floors. Also put out mats on rainy or snowy days to keep the floors as dry as possible. (Make sure they don’t bunch up and make the floor impassable for wheelchair users.)
  • People who do not have a visible disability may have needs related to their mobility. For example, a person with a respiratory or heart condition may have trouble walking long distances or walking quickly. Be sure that your museum, hotel or department store has ample benches for people to sit and rest on.
  • Some people have limited use of their hands, wrists or arms. Be prepared to offer assistance with reaching for, grasping or lifting objects, opening doors and display cases, and operating vending machines and other equipment.

The Basics

Ask before you help
Just because someone has a disability, don’t assume she needs help. If the setting is accessible, people with disabilities can usually get around fine. Adults with disabilities want to be treated as independent people. Offer assistance only if the person appears to need it. And if she does want help, ask how before you act.

Be sensitive about physical contact
Some people with disabilities depend on their arms for balance. Grabbing them—even if your intention is to assist—could knock them off balance. Avoid patting a person on the head or touching his wheelchair, scooter or cane. People with disabilities consider their equipment part of their personal space.

Think before you speak
Always speak directly to the person with a disability, not to his companion, aide or sign language interpreter. Making small talk with a person who has a disability is great; just talk to him as you would with anyone else. Respect his privacy. If you ask about his disability, he may feel like you are treating him as a disability, not as a human being. (However, many people with disabilities are comfortable with children’s natural curiosity and do not mind if a child asks them questions.)

Don’t make assumptions
People with disabilities are the best judge of what they can or cannot do. Don’t make decisions for them about participating in any activity. Depending on the situation, it could be a violation of the law to exclude people because of a presumption about their limitations.

Respond graciously to requests
When people who have a disability ask for an accommodation at your business, it is not a complaint. It shows they feel comfortable enough in your establishment to ask for what they need. And if they get a positive response, they will probably come back again and tell their friends about the good service they received.

Terminology Tips

Say “person with a disability” rather than “disabled person.”
Say “people with disabilities” rather than “the disabled.”
For specific disabilities, saying “person with Tourette syndrome” or “person who has cerebral palsy” is usually a safe bet.
Still, individuals do have their own preferences. If you are not sure what words to use, ask.

Avoid outdated terms like “handicapped” or “crippled.” Be aware that many people with disabilities dislike jargony, euphemistic terms like “physically challenged” and “differently abled.” Say “wheelchair user,” rather than “confined to a wheelchair” or “wheelchair bound.” The wheelchair is what enables the person to get around and participate in society; it’s liberating, not confining.

With any disability, avoid negative, disempowering words, like “victim” or “sufferer.” Say “person with AIDS” instead of “AIDS victim” or “person who suffers from AIDS.”

It’s okay to use idiomatic expressions when talking to people with disabilities. For example, saying, “It was good to see you,” and “See you later,” to a person who is blind is completely acceptable; they use these expressions themselves all the time!

Many people who are Deaf communicate with sign language and consider themselves to be members of a cultural and linguistic minority group. They refer to themselves as Deaf with a capital “D,” and may be offended by the term “hearing impaired.” Others may not object to the term, but in general it is safest to refer to people who have hearing loss but who communicate in spoken language as “hard of hearing” and to people with profound hearing losses as Deaf or deaf.

Images reproduced from guardian.co.uk and disabilityuk.com