The Presidential race is on the tip of everyone’s tongue. Is it appropriate to tell someone who you are voting for?
Yes and no. Choose wisely when broadcasting your position. Think before sharing this information with your co-workers, boss, family or people that you meet socially. Your boss may be a very passionate Democrat for Bernie Sanders and openly telling everyone in the office, but that doesn’t mean that you have to share your political opinions.
Politics are very personal, especially when the views the candidates are sharing are close to a cause you support. With all the name calling and incorrect information the candidates are spewing these days, be prepared by having your facts straight as to why you are voting for a particular person.
In entering a political discussion, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
- Know the facts.
- Be prepared.
- Don’t try to push your opinion on others.
Is it okay to ask someone who they are voting for?
This answer is simple. No. If someone wants to share their political views, they will.
What should you do if a political conversation is heading in a heated direction?
When small talk turns politically aggressive, a bit of diffusing is necessary. Do your best to direct the conversation so it does not lead down a dangerous and argumentative path.
If you are ever put on the spot with an ill-mannered question (You do recognize that he is an idiot?), you can play politician. Most politicians will vaguely state an opinion and start talking about something positive and totally unrelated to the inappropriate question. Some ways to deflect include: discussing common interests, asking open-ended questions, discussing hobbies, using follow-up questions, or sharing life-lessons you have learned.
Before the conversation gets too deep, you have a chance to turn it around. Use the opportunity to keep the peace.
- Stay neutral.
- Do like the Presidential Candidates . . . Deflect, Deflect, Deflect
- Change the subject and steer the conversation toward another current topic.
3. Arrive on time. If punctuality doesn’t come naturally, give yourself an additional 10 minute “emergency gap” to allow for last-minute activities. Create a playlist for your morning routine that is exactly as long as you have to get ready – it’s a fun way to keep yourself on track. But if you know you’re going to be late ahead of time, communicate this to your friends, coworkers, or host through a quick, apologetic call.
6. Improve your communicative style. Listen to others, and pay attention to your communication habits. If you tend to dominate conversation, strive to ask your partner questions about themselves. If you find making small talk difficult, challenge yourself to hold quick chats with strangers during your day-to-day life.
A New Year’s Eve party is a great chance for celebrating, socializing and catching up with old friends. You may need a well-deserved break after this long year, however that doesn’t mean you should check your manners at the door. Here are a few tips that all partygoers should keep in mind . . .
- Answer the invitation within a day or two of receiving it.
- If you would like to bring an uninvited friend or date, check with your host first.
- Drinking and driving is never a good idea, so have a plan for how you will be arriving and getting home after the clock strikes 12.
- Dress appropriately for the occasion. If you are unsure about the attire, ask the host.
- Never arrive a few minutes early. If the invitation states that dinner will be at 7:00 p.m., you have a 10-minute leeway. If the invitation is for a cocktail party/reception from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m., you have 20-45 minutes after the stated 6:00 p.m. time to arrive.
- If you would like to bring a gift to the host, you may do so. This is a nice gesture, but not a must.
- Greet the host upon arrival/departure (no matter how many people are attending or how hard it is to find them).
- Watch your alcohol consumption. Always keep in mind that business and social go hand in hand, so be on your best behavior.
- Introduce yourself to people that you do not know and remember to keep the conversation causal and light.
- Always be aware “when the party is over.” On New Year’s Eve, the festivities usually run into the wee hours. Know when it’s time to call it a night.
- Thank your host when you leave the party. Even though you said thank you, remember to send a hand-written note thanking the host again for a wonderful time.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!
Wearing Inappropriate Attire Office parties are not the place to bring out your most revealing dress or blouse. Vice versa, if there is a theme to your office party then stay festive and keep to that theme – – but don’t overdo it. Follow the dress code outlined for a party. If it is cocktail attire then come dressed appropriately.
Drinking Too Much At the end of the day, you are at a party for… WORK. Even though alcohol beverages are provided at the party, be aware of how much you drink.
Thinking You Can Let Loose Your boss and other employees are still watching you. You don’t want to be the person who gets fired the day after your holiday party because you said or did something you regret.
Being Ungrateful Yes, you have worked a long day and now you are suppose to go mingle with all your colleagues. It can be exhausting, but remember, your company is not required to do anything during the holidays. Businesses give parties because they want to show their appreciation, you in return should be happy that your company is being so generous.
Voicing Your Opinion About Company Issues Keep the conversation topics about positive subjects. Don’t discuss other employees or problems you have with company policy. Avoid conversations that focus heavily on business, especially if clients are in attendance.
Unprepared to Network If you were planning to only mingle with your small office circle, think again. Holiday events are a great opportunity to network and meet new colleagues, especially if you work for a large corporation. Before you attend the event, think about your ten questions that you can use as conversation starters when meeting new people. It is always better to be prepared than to have nothing to say.
Not Saying Thank you to the Host As an employee, don’t forget to show your appreciation to the management and party planning committee. Thank people for hosting the occasion and providing food and drinks for everyone.
Not Showing Up If your company is hosting a holiday event, attend and show your appreciation. You never know what opportunities or new friends you may make at the party unless you participate. Company social events will also give you additional information about the people that you work with everyday.
While business holiday events serve the purpose of allowing employees to kick back and relax don’t forget that even though this is a party, you still need to maintain a professional image. It is much harder to build up your reputation once some inappropriate action has taken place.
Take time to reflect and enjoy this season. Use your office party to spread holiday cheer amongst fellow employees and don’t forget to be thankful for your job and all the blessings that you have.
We tallied our favorites and have them here for you in “countdown” fashion.
The Top Ten Dining Mistakes To Avoid:
10. Pushing away the plate or bowl when finished.
9. Noisy eating – slurping, burping and gulping.
8. Not using a napkin.
7. Licking your fingers.
6. Hovering over your plate and elbows on the table.
4. Beginning to eat before others at the table have received their food.
3. Inhaling your food.
2. Talking with food in your mouth and chewing with your mouth open.
1. Holding your utensils incorrectly.
The department stores are already decorated for Christmas. The exciting holiday events and family gatherings seem to come and go so quickly for most of us, but for others it is a very lonely time.
Many people are blessed with family and friends and have lots of events to participate in and enjoy together. I am encouraging everyone to think past themselves and bring joy and happiness to others by doing something thoughtful for someone less fortunate.
Kindness is the language that speaks to all.
President and Founder
It is always better to give than receive.
For many people the holidays are very lonely. This holiday, give a gift of your time or open your heart to the less fortunate. That is better than any gift you could buy.
We are so rushed during this time of year and it is easy to get carried away with everything besides the true spirit of the season. Shopping and parties seem to dominate the holidays, which often leaves little time to think about the less fortunate.
Take the challenge this season and find one way that you can give back. If you are looking for ideas, below we have listed places, organizations and ways to get involved.
Extend an invitation to your holiday meal. Anyone from a co-worker without family or a neighbor who can’t travel, they would most likely be delighted to join you.
Soup kitchens and shelters always need extra hands. Call churches, local shelters and soup kitchens to see where help is needed.
Retirement homes are likely to have at least some residents who won’t be able to see their families. Others may have no families. Older people are more prone to social isolation and loneliness. This would be an excellent time to plan a visit.
Volunteer at a Hospital
If celebrating Christmas is not your holiday, volunteer at a hospital so that those who do celebrate Christmas will have time off. Hospitals are always open and never get a break. Call your local hospital to find out if it will accept volunteers for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The hospitals will always be happy to assign a job to you that will help out.
If you would like to donate to a food bank, find one that is local to you and get a list of the items they need. Food pantries also supply non-edible items such as toothbrushes and diapers. There is always a desperate need for these items.
Search for organizations that are looking for volunteers to help military families. If a family member is deployed, that creates sadness and stress for the entire family.
If you are unable to get away and donate your time, you can do your part and donate online. Visit www.feedingamerica.org. and see where your donation is needed.
Support Your Local Animal Shelter
As an etiquette consulting company, we spend a lot of time encouraging people to be kind and attentive to others around us. But when we extend this courtesy to more than just the people around us, and include animals, and Mother Earth, we create an entirely new (and larger) level of respect.
Around 8 million animals find their way to a shelter each year. Find out how you can volunteer at your local animal shelter. PetFinder.com is a great resource if you want to learn how to volunteer with – or donate to – animal shelters. It even offers information on how to foster needy animals.
This holiday season, instead of making it all about the events, food and shopping – make it about others who are less fortunate. Seek out people and places that need assistance. www. VolunteerMatch.org is a great resource if you’re looking to give back, but not sure where to start. You can search by city and causes that interest you and your family.
For all of you who are parents of small children, teens and adults there is an old saying, “The apple never falls far from the tree.” When you as a parent, set an example of kindness and thoughtfulness to others, hopefully your children will do the same because our actions speaks so much louder than our words.
With the presidential candidates making the top news headlines daily, there’s a good chance that your dinner party could evolve into one big political debate.
A dinner party can be a joyful time with family and friends, or it can seem like you the host, have taken on too many responsibilities as the cook, server, dishwasher and moderator in a stress filled debate with unruly politicians.
People may not remember your dinner party’s menu, but memories are pretty clear when an intriguing conversation leaves a bad taste in someone’s mouth. Whether having dinner with new in-laws, old friends, or close family members there are certain boundaries that should not be crossed.
So how do you encourage conversations that make the meal more enjoyable without political chatter that sends some guests storming out early? Here are some tips –
As the host, you may have to put fires out at the dinner table long after the meal is done. If political rhetoric becomes a nasty side dish at dinner, the host needs to take action. You don’t want to turn political debate moderator, that type of dinner is enough to sour any stomach.
It is proper etiquette to stay away from conversations about sex, religion, or politics. These types of conversations have been known to put a damper on the evening. Do your best to direct the conversations so that they don’t lead down a dangerous path. For instance, if a friend comments that “Donald Trump’s the leader, and Republicans are doing so much better than Democrats” and you see your friend Donna, the Democrat, start to let him have it – change the tone of the conversation by asking if anyone watched Larry David as Bernie Sanders on Saturday Night Live? (he did a great job! You can watch it here). Once you have everyone laughing – then ask who would like more pie?
Have Your 10 Questions Ready To Go
If you are acting as host, it is always a good idea to consider the opposing views of dinner guests and plan a list of appropriate discussion points ahead of time. It is best to stick to topics suitable and appropriate for all audiences. Pick 10 Safe topics and then think of questions to get the conversation going – include the weather, pets, movies, books, travel and so on. Pay attention to local and national news so that you are well informed about things going on around you.
Be the Leader
Most guest will follow the host’s lead. Your mood is critical to set the tone of the dinner. Always remain positive and keep a smile on your face. Your attitude can put any guests at ease. If you stayed up all night cooking and cleaning, never allow your guests to know you are tired or stressed. It is always best to plan ahead and make sure you are refreshed and ready for any small emergencies your guests may require.
Be Quick To Change the Subject
If someone starts a conversation by asking an inappropriate question, you can change the subject. You may respond by saying that the question is interesting and asking for time to consider the topic. It is always good etiquette to keep the response positive and find something complimentary to say about the guest or topic and move on. If a conversation is headed in a bad direction change the topic by linking to something said in a previous conversation and continue talking. If more outgoing guests are dominating the conversations, turn the tables and look for opportunities to encourage guests who appear to be more reserved to speak.
Deflect, Deflect, Deflect
If you are ever put on the spot with an ill-mannered question, you can play politician. Most politicians will vaguely state an opinion and start talking about something positive and totally unrelated to the inappropriate question. Some ways to deflect include: discussing common interests, asking open-ended questions, discussing hobbies, using follow-up questions, or sharing life-lessons you’ve learned.
Genuine compliments can also be used to change any bad attitude and calm a disruptive guest. Saying “I like your tie” can go a long way to fostering a dinner peace treaty, but always be genuine and truthful with your compliments.
As a rule of thumb, it is never a good idea to force your ideas or opinions on others during a dinner. Also, try not to take sides. Make your guests comfortable by trying to listen to different points of view. The relationships between guests in your home are far more important than anyone being right or feeling superior.
Being a great host takes planning and patience. Good conversation is as important as good food, wine and flowers to ensure that everyone will have a great time. Incorporate these tactics the next time you host a dinner party and you will be sure to get the most votes for “best dinner host”.