Manner Monday®: What’s the best way to enter my supervisor’s office?

During the InternOKC event sponsored by the Oklahoma City Chamber I spoke at recently, an intern asked a great question that I thought would be a good topic for Manner Monday.

Q – At work, what’s the best way to enter my supervisor’s office if I need to ask her something? Should I knock, say hello, or just walk on in if I need to speak to them? – Bridget

A – I would start by suggesting you have a conversation with your supervisor and ask her; does she prefer you interrupt when you have questions, or should you make a list and save questions for a specific time during the day. If they rather not to be interrupted, what do they prefer you do if you’re stuck and need their advice to advance on your task at hand. Should you put that task aside and go to a different one, or interrupt them? Having that conversation to establish ground rules will help you to know how best to proceed.

For other coworkers, it’s a bit more of a challenge as you’re not going to have that same conversation with every person in the office. In the world of business, we are all well aware of different ‘interruptions’ during our day.  They consist of everything from that little email ‘chime’ on our digital device, to telephones ringing (or vibrating), and coworkers stopping by for a chat.

A few years ago, my son was in the middle of some serious Lego construction.  He was humming and singing and having a grand time.  In my efforts to keep everyone ‘on schedule’, I was getting ready to start chatting with him to share what was on our ‘to-do’ list for the rest of the day.  Something stopped me in my tracks and I’m so glad it did… I decided my ‘interruption’ could wait, as it was obvious he was focused on the project in front of him.  He ended up working diligently for about 30 more minutes on his creation.  If I had interrupted him, I doubt the creation would have seen the light of day.

No matter the office environment, it seems when we need something, or just want to chat, it’s a matter of urgency and whatever our peers are working on at the time should take second priority. And most of us have the need to socialize, whether it is for brainstorming or just taking a much-needed break.  So often though, we don’t think about our colleagues and the impact it makes on them:  ‘are we interrupting’, ‘are they on a deadline and we’ve disrupted their thought patterns?’

To help answer Bridget’s question, here are some time-tested tips to keep in mind for treating all working spaces (office, cubicle, reception desk, etc.) with respect, creating a more pleasant working environment for everyone:

  • Eye Contact and Body Language speak volumes.  Did your co-worker make eye contact with you and does their body language say come on in?  Or are they politely sayingDoNotDisturb ‘Do Not Disturb’ by their lack of eye contact or body language.  Less eye contact should mean fewer interruptions.
  • If your colleague does not make eye contact and has their head buried, don’t interrupt.  Make a note of what you wanted to ask and come back later. When you do return,
    don’t immediately barge in with ‘I need’; ask if they finished their project.  And maybe even offer, how can you help them?
  • In office environments with cubicles, ‘prairie dogging’ has taken on a meaning of it’s own.  Don’t pop up and peep over the top of your cubicle wall and continue to carry on a conversation with someone.  Act as if the cubicle is an office with walls, and a ceiling, and treat it as such.

Sometimes interruptions can’t be avoided, and that’s understandable. But if they can be kept to a minimum, we’re doing our part to create an office atmosphere that is enjoyable for everyone.

If you found this post helpful, would you mind sharing it with someone else you think might enjoy it and encourage them to sign up to receive Manner Monday?  I would appreciate it! If you’re new to Manner Monday, I’d love for you to take a minute to learn more about why I started it. You can click here to read my very first post (five years ago – yowzer) that tells all about it.

Do you have a ‘manner’ or questions you would like to see covered on Manner Monday?  Feel free to send me your thoughts, I would love to hear from you.

As always – Thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

Click to Tweet: Did your co-worker make eye contact, or is their body language politely saying ‘Do Not Disturb’? #MannerMonday http://bit.ly/supsoff

 

On another note…

Did you know we have products available?
We have a few of styles and designs of personalized youth stationery available.  We also have darling place mats that help the little ones in your life get a jump-start on their table manners and make dining more fun.  Here is the link to the shop.

Business Etiquette Training Opportunity 
Executive Success Series
Research shows that 85 percent of success in the business world hinges on your soft skills, and only 15 percent on your technical skills. Yet many people do not take the time to invest in the most critical part of their professional training, the crucial social skills that enhance your ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead which helps you build relationships and close deals. Are you ready to invest in your 85 percent?
Click here to register now, space is limited!

Youth Programs
Registration is under way for our 5-12th grade programs that start soon.  Don’t miss out – register today!

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

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Business Etiquette, Etiquette, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Business ‘Thank-You Note’ Blueprint

Thank you so much for all of the kind words and encouragement after last weeks post on #30ThanksIn30Days! I can’t wait to check in with everyone who chimed ‘I’m in’ and see how you’re doing. I dug in one day and caught up on my list and now I’m having fun thinking of notes to send ‘just because’ – what a great feeling! Let’s see if I can keep the momentum going!

The post also prompted a great question from an emerging young professional that I thought was something others might enjoy as well…

Q – I saw your post about writing 30 thank you notes in 30 days and I have a few people I want to send notes to this week. I met a few new people at a networking event and would like to send a thank you note to follow up with them. I want to leave a good impression because I would like to work at their business upon graduation or possibly intern. ‬ ‪Do you have a couple of sample thank you notes that you have done in the past that you would not mind sharing? I am a student and heard you speak at an event last Spring. My goal is to get better at writing thank you letters and having a couple quality examples would help. I admire what you are doing and I am an advocate for a good hand written letter. ‬‪Thank You, ‬Danielle ‬

A – Yeah!!! I’m looking for the applause and party horn emojis from my phone to insert here! (I know they’re not for use in a professional environment, but I’m excited about her question and how she’s taking initiative!) I wrote a post a few years ago, when I was trying to come up with a fun way to encourage the young students I work with to write notes, that may be helpful. You can read it here 4-3-2-1. But let’s dig in a bit more on the topic…

Paper is Important
For starters, make sure you have some professional looking notes. Something plain and simple will do the trick. Save anything too ‘frilly’ for personal notes. The quality of your paper is also important. If you choose something really nice, like Crane, it just feels good in your hands and adds to the receiver’s experience. If you have time, click on this link to learn why Crane paper is so amazing.

Next, grab a good ink pen.
I personally like to use navy ink, and sometimes I even go for gold ink (but ONLY if the situation is right). Some say the blue ink stands out and is more memorable than basic black. Whichever ink color you choose, make sure the ink flows smoothly, doesn’t smudge, and doesn’t skip.

Type it out first.
Now this may sound counterintuitive, but give it a try. We’re used to typing and allowing our thoughts to flow freely. When we immediately start to write out a note – many times we don’t do it because we think, ‘what if I mess up’. By typing out your thoughts, you can cut and paste, reword, and rework your sentences before transferring them by hand to the note. Using this process, I personally get on a roll and end up working on multiple notes in one sitting. Then putting the pen to paper is not so ‘scary’ and it actually turns out to be a fun exercise.

Use their name.
Make sure you use their correct name and write it right. If they go by a nickname or their middle name and you use the wrong name, you’re defeating the purpose of the note, which is to make a connection and build a relationship. Take the time and do your research. If it’s a formal note and you’re addressing a senior executive, I would err on the side of ceremony and address them with the title, Dear Mr. or Ms. Smith. It will show that you value and respect the relationship and the process.

Express the appreciation.
Make sure you write in the present tense. Don’t be wishy-washy and say something like, “I just wanted to write to say that…” Be specific and straightforward. Highlight a point of conversation from the previous encounter, or certain skills you’re thankful the person taught you.

Thank you for taking the time to visit with me during the ABC event and sharing information about your company and career with me. (Adding anything specific they mentioned).

Explain why.
Be specific, don’t exaggerate, and be sincere with any compliments. And don’t bloviate (I love that word)

You can mention how what they shared with you will be beneficial to you moving forward or how you have already researched or applied what they told you. Make sure to maintain your focus on the person you are writing and on their generosity. This isn’t about you.

I researched your company and love the mission statement. I enjoyed reading about how your company has _____________.

Back to The Future
Refer to the past and the future.

I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to seeing you at the next ABC event.

Thank them again and sign off.
I literally end my notes with,

Thanks again.

Sincerely,
Carey Sue

Sometimes, I’ll use something less formal such as ‘cheers’, or ‘regards’. It depends on the person, the situation, and the tone of the note. Pick what feels most comfortable to you.

Make it a Habit.
I find my thank-you note writing goes in stages. I’ll be doing really well, then things get busy and I push it aside for ‘later’. If you make it a habit and schedule the time into your calendar on a regular basis, it will become second nature and will help to build your professional network like no other way!

Is anyone else ‘in’ for #30ThankIn30Days? If so, let me know how it’s going!

Danielle, I hope this helps! I would love to hear an update on the success of your note writing adventure!

If you found this post helpful, would you mind sharing it with someone else you think might enjoy it and encourage them to sign up to receive Manner Monday?  I would appreciate it!  Then leave a comment below with a comment to encourage other young professionals like Danielle about the importance of a hand-written note.

Click to Tweet: Business ‘Thank-you note’ Blueprint: Learn to make a connection and build relationship with your pen. #MannerMonday http://bit.ly/ThkUHow2

As always … Thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

Thank-you-note-300x199.jpg

 

On another note…

Business Etiquette Training Opportunity –
Executive Success Series
Research shows that 85 percent of success in the business world hinges on your soft skills, and only 15 percent on your technical skills. Yet many people do not take the time to invest in the most critical part of their professional training, the crucial social skills that enhance your ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead which helps you build relationships and close deals. Are you ready to invest in your 85 percent?
Click here to register now, space is limited!

Youth Programs – 
Registration is under way for our 5-12th grade programs that start soon.  Don’t miss out – register today!

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

 

No comments | leave a comment
Business Etiquette, Manner Monday

Manner Monday®: Finding Time, #30ThanksIn30Days

During a recent Trade Show Booth training I developed for a company that participates in a wide variety of shows throughout the year; the question arose about ‘finding time’ to write business related thank-you notes which prompted me to ‘take a look in the mirror’!

We’re all busy, I totally get it!  I have a list (a growing list) of thank-you notes to write.  For adults, I really think it boils down to psychology… as children we were expected to write thank you notes for gifts; it was a duty, it was an obligation.  If we could change our thinking and look at the art of the handwritten note as an opportunity to show true gratitude, I think it might help us to change gears and get some momentum going behind writing those notes.  Taking just a few minutes out of our day to share with someone how thankful we are for them; yes, it takes time, but think about how it makes the recipient who receives the note feel.  Aren’t they worth our time?

I’ve written about it here, here, and here, and have even shared 4 easy steps to make writing notes a breeze.  My son even gets it.  But yet, am I great at it?  Nope.  I definitely have room to grow in this category!  After the discussion that took place during the training, I decided I need some motivation myself to get working on that growing list of gratitude I’ve been ‘intending’ to tackle.  So I’m going to set a goal, I’m going to start with 30 notes over the next 30 days.  Are you interested, would you like to join me?  Together, lets figure out how to carve out just a few minutes from our day to put pen to paper and show thanks. Hop over to the Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, Periscope (wherever you want) and put it out there, I’m using the hashtag #30ThanksIn30Days to get the conversation started and to help keep me accountable.  So if you see me over the next 30 days, please don’t hesitate to ask me how it’s going!

Click to Tweet:  Who’s with me? Let’s do this, #30ThanksIn30Days. #ThankYouNotes #MannerMonday http://bit.ly/30ThanksIn30Days

#30ThanksIn30Days

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

 

On another note…

Business Etiquette Training Opportunity –
Executive Success Series
Research shows that 85 percent of success in the business world hinges on your soft skills, and only 15 percent on your technical skills. Yet many people do not take the time to invest in the most critical part of their professional training, the crucial social skills that enhance your ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead which helps you build relationships and close deals. Are you ready to invest in your 85 percent?
Click here to register now, space is limited!

 

Youth Programs – 
Registration is under way for our 5-12th grade programs that start soon.  Don’t miss out – register today!

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

No comments | leave a comment
Business Etiquette, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday: Post Cards

With the Fourth of July fast approaching, many people in the States will be heading out for family vacation.  My friend and fellow Etiquette Expert Mindy Lockard, aka The Gracious Girl, was gracious enough to write a previous post about the Power of Post Cards.  Her words were such an inspiration for us that every time we travel, we try to send a few!

In case you missed it, click here to catch her guest post.

Postcards

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

 

On another note…

Registration is under way for our 5-12th grade programs that start soon.  Don’t miss out – register today!

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

No comments | leave a comment
Family, Guest Blogger, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Manners and Etiquette, it’s about Hospitality not Formality

I love my job as an Etiquette Expert!  I love almost everything about it.  One of the only things I don’t like are the ‘assumptions’ associated with the title.  After getting to know someone new, they confess how they thought that I’m “Polly Perfect” all of the time.  I’m happy to announce for anyone wondering… I’m not! Just ask any of my friends 😉

I’m on a mission to debunk the notion that Etiquette is about Perfection.  I like to think of Manners and Etiquette more along the lines of Hospitality not Formality.  Yes, there are rules involved, but those rules are in place to make people feel comfortable and confident.  If we’ll start thinking of Manners and Etiquette from a perspective of Hospitality vs. Formality, then we’ll be in a better position to make others feel comfortable vs. uncomfortable.

Knowing the rules of etiquette does not give you a ‘hall pass’ to correct someone else’s mannerly misstep. If anything it arms you with the grace and knowledge to know you don’t point out the mistake and instead, it’s ‘Move along, there’s nothing to see here’.  

When I speak to groups and ask them what they think of when the hear the words ‘Manners’ and ‘Etiquette’, I’m usually met with answers like:

  • ‘snobby’
  • ‘rich’
  • ‘old school’
  • ‘rules’
  • ‘stuck up’

Those are the LAST things I want people thinking of when it comes to manners and etiquette!

I then ask the group to tell me words that come to mind when they hear the term ‘Hospitality’.  And I get answers such as:

  • ‘inviting’
  • ‘generous’
  • ‘warm’
  • ‘welcoming’
  • ‘making people feel comfortable’

Now, we’re talking! By implementing and practicing the rules of manners and etiquette, we end up making others around us feel comfortable. We treat them with respect; we make them feel comfortable. That’s what it’s all about, hospitality not formality!

Just in case you don’t believe me… a ‘picture’s worth a thousand words':

This is the day one of our students dropped something off at our house.  She looked a little shocked when I opened the door in ‘workout gear’.  I guess she thinks I wear heels and pearls around the house all day :-)

normal tennis shoes

Here I am with the ‘Hub’ and ‘Cub’ and a Scouting trip.  Yes, I camped in a tent!!!

normal hiking

Click to Tweet:  Manners and Etiquette; it’s about Hospitality not Formality! #MannerMonday http://bit.ly/HospVSForm

 

Thanks for reading!!!
– Carey Sue

On another note…

Registration is under way for our 5-12th grade programs that start soon.  Don’t miss out – register today!

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

No comments | leave a comment
Classes, Etiquette, Family, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Practice, Practice, Practice… even with Manners

I receive phone calls on a regular basis from moms with young children wanting to know if we offer programs for younger kids (our programs currently start for 5th graders and go all of the way up to grown adults). The callers are always asking for tips on how to get their little ones to sit through dinner and to use their table manners.  I find myself answering time and time again… practice, practice, practice.  As a parent, we have to start somewhere by setting Expectations, providing an opportunity to Practice, and Repeat.

Start off by asking yourself what are your expectations?  Keeping in mind that the expectations need to be in line with our child’s age and social development; if your kiddo is a toddler, what can you truly and reasonable expect of him? Whatever the desired outcome is, it’s not going to happen overnight – but it will happen over a series of many nights, and many meals. Practice.

Think about it in relation to dance or sports.  You would not send your son to his first t-ball game without going to practice first.  You wouldn’t let your daughter participate in a recital without first attending dance class.  Same with table manners, you can’t expect your child to ‘perform’ at Grandma’s house or out to eat at restaurant if you haven’t given them the tools to be successful.

We still have a LONG road ahead of us with our 9 year old.  But I was tickled pink to see him stepping up to the plate and knocking it out of the park during our recent cruise.  When we went to dinner in the dining room, he looked the waiter in the eye when placing his order.

BV ordering

He stayed seated (what!?!?!?)… at home I keep threatening super glue for his seat to keep him in his chair at dinner time.  He said ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the waiter and other crew members. And, he used his silverware like a little human.

BV cutting food

Was he perfect?  Absolutely not.  Did he meet the age-appropriate expectations, pretty darn close!  I’m not going to lie… super proud mom moments!

Something we find tremendously helpful is having conversations prior to ‘performance’.  During these conversations we talk about our expectations and ask questions; we talk about what’s getting ready to take place. We’re setting him up for success by giving him a preview, kind of like a dress rehearsal, or practice. Do we still have to prompt him? … Yes. But for the most part, it works! Here’s a picture of the process working.  One night we were lucky enough to enjoy dinner with our friend, Tommy, we used to work with on cruise ships years ago.  Before the dinner, we explained to our son that there might be times during the conversation that he may get bored; and if that happened, what could he do to entertain himself. So we put pen and paper in my purse, and he knew he could help himself to it.  And he did!  We also let him head off to the kids club after he finished his meal.  For us, sitting and chatting for an hour and half is fun.  For a kid – that’s painful.

Dinner with Captain Tommy

And just in case we were feeling a bit too ‘proud’… we were brought back to reality when we returned home and he commenced to standing up while eating and randomly walking around the table… it’s a constant learning process; Practice, practice, practice!!!

I’d love to hear – what are your favorite tips to set your kiddo up for success when it comes to table manners?

Click to Tweet:  You can’t expect your child to ‘perform’ good manners if you haven’t armed them with tools for success. bit.ly/TblMnnrs #MannerMonday

And always… thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue


On another note…

Have you seen our end of the season video yet?  Thank you to one of our Student Ambassadors, Presley Rhea, for creating the video this year!

And if you’re curious as to why I was verklempt at the end of the video, you can visit this link to read the story: http://bit.ly/SrSpotCT

The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog at www.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

No comments | leave a comment
Cruise Ships, Etiquette, Family, Family Dinner, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: More Senior Spotlights

If you missed Manner Monday last week, we’ve been on a cruise and are just returning to the ‘real world. Here’s the post where I shared some fun tips, Packing for a Cruise with Julie and Gopher.   I’ll be sharing updates about our trip soon, but in the meantime, I thought you might enjoy some of the recent Senior Spotlights that have been posted to the blog.

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue


On another note… Don’t forget to register by June 15 to save money (links below)!

Have you seen our end of the season video yet?  Thank you to one of our Student Ambassadors, Presley Rhea, for creating the video this year!

And if you’re curious as to why I was verklempt at the end of the video, you can visit this link to read the story: http://bit.ly/SrSpotCT

The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog at www.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

 

No comments | leave a comment
Classes, Manner Monday, Senior Spotlight

Manner Monday®: Packing for a Cruise with Julie and Gopher

Happy Memorial Day from the M/S Norwegian Getaway!   We are SOOOO excited to be on a ship again!  It’s been 15 years since Ricardo and I worked for NCL, so we thought it was about time to enjoy cruising as a passenger (not as a crew member).

We are having so much fun showing our son, Billy, what we used to do for years before moving to ‘land’ and starting our family.  For those of you who may be new to Manner Monday and don’t know our story yet, I worked for Norwegian Cruise Line for 10 years.  Starting as a Youth Coordinator and working my way up to Cruise Director (yes, think Julie McCoy).  Ricardo worked for the company starting at the Front Desk (the front line of customer service) and worked his way up to Hotel Director (yep, he was Gopher!)  He had been with the company for over 7 years when we met as crew members on a ship that sailed out of Houston, Texas in the late 90’s (cue the Love Boat theme song).  After dating for a couple of years and working on different ships – it was when he was on a ship in Hawaii, and I was on another ship in Egypt – we decided we needed to move to land and ‘get a life’.  So, we decided to ‘drop anchor’ (pun intended – I can’ t resist) in Oklahoma City during 2000.  That year, not only did we get married, but we bought cars, got ‘jobs’, and started figuring out what the real world was like as far as insurance, utility bills, grocery shopping, and everything that comes with being home owners.  It was overwhelming to say the least.  But we are really glad we decided to land in Oklahoma City, we love it here.

Last week, as we were telling friends that we were heading out on a cruise, everyone asked ‘are you packed yet?’  And as I answered no, ‘I’ll do that the night before’ –  most everyone looked at me with a strange look on their face.  I guess after packing to be away for months at a time for so many years, we kind of have it down to a science.

A few friends asked for some packing and cruise tips, so I thought I’d share some of my favorites.

Packing and Planning Tips for a Cruise:

Fly out the day before if you can:  Of course the majority of the time your flight is not delayed and everything goes as planned.  But for a cruise, if you’re flight is delayed, there’s a good chance you will miss the ship.  And if  that happens, you’ll be stressed trying to figure out how to meet the ship at it’s first port of call.  Not fun.

You really don’t need that much stuff:  A few mix and match pieces for evening.  Maybe a ‘formal’ outfit (check the website of the line you’ll be sailing).  A few mix and match pieces for day.  Two or three pairs (no more) of shoes that will work with everything.  Swimsuits (more than one so you’re not trying to put on a wet swimsuit everyday) and sport sandals for walking to and from the pool/beach. I have a pair of old-school Teva’s I’ve had for years that are perfect! Not only are they good for getting you to the beach, but they’re great in the water if there is rough terrain.  If you like to workout don’t forget a couple of outfits for the gym.  Don’t forget a light jacket or wrap, it can be chilly at night and in the air conditioning. I always keep a pashmina in my carry on ‘just in case’.  A hat is also a great accessory to bring.  Once you have picked out what you would like to take, take a hard look at everything and whittle it down.  The cabins are not that big and you really don’t have a lot of storage space – so lighten your load and you’ll be happy you did.

Ziplock Baggies:  These are the best travel accessories you will ever have!  They’re obviously great to keep liquids corralled, but they’re also great to pack your clothes in and they help to save space.  I suggest buying the extra large 2-gallon size, the 1 gallon size, and the quart size.  The quart size is great for small bottles of liquid, stockings, undies, etc.  I use the larger gallon and 2-gallon bags for clothing.  I can pack two-three mix and match outfits in one of the 2-gallon bags, then squeeze the air out and throw it in a suitcase.  For my son (9), we take his outfits and roll them together; shirt, shorts, undies, socks, and stuff them into a baggie.  It makes it so easy for him to pull out an outfit and go.  The baggies help to keep things organized and they also provide an extra barrier of protection from luggage that may have been caught in the rain, or a bottle of lotion that exploded and made it’s way out of it’s little baggy.  And don’t laugh at this one – but you can put your smartphone inside of a ziplock baggie to protect it from water and sand and still be able to talk and text on it.  You just need to remove it from the baggie before you take pictures!  They’re also really helpful in keeping dirty clothes compartmentalized for the return trip.

Divide and Conquer:  When placing your clothes into the suitcase, divide your outfits and put them into different suitcases. For the three of us, each suitcase will have a few outfits for each person instead of each family member having all of their stuff in one.  Again, you hope everything goes as planned, but when you show up to the ship and a suitcase doesn’t…I’ve seen ‘lost luggage’ situations way too often – not fun.  If you find yourself with lost luggage, head to the front desk, they will be able to help you in some way.  They may not be able to find your suitcase, but they will more than likely be able to help with a small stipend for something in the gift shop and they may even have a few items of clothing to loan you. Hopefully the airline will find your luggage and it will meet you at your first port of call.

Carry On:  Realizing that carry on’s are limited by the airlines, you’re going to have to be very creative.  I suggest packing at least one or two outfits in your carry on.  Remember the part just above about lost luggage… you want to be prepared just in case.  Plus, it usually takes quite awhile to get your luggage to your room.  By having the items you’ll need as soon as you get onboard in your carry on, you will be able to venture out and explore the ship without waiting for your suitcase and a change of clothes.

A few items I leave in my carry on for every trip (land or sea):  a short extension card.  It never fails, the outlets aren’t where you need them.  And I keep my toiletry bag packed and ready to go at all times.  When I return home from a trip, I refill the small bottles of soap, lotion, etc., and repack my toiletry bag so it’s ready to go.  This saves a ton of time every time I pack, even for camping trips or weekend getaways.  Throw in some of those ‘command hooks’ and they give you extra hanging storage wherever you need it and they won’t damage the walls. And last bust not least, duct tape!  Wrap some duct tape around a sharpie, and you can MacGyver just about anything!

Toiletries:  Unless you’re a crew member signing on a ship to work for a four month contract, you really don’t need the Sam’s size bottle of shampoo and lotion!  Take a look at what you need, and transfer it to smaller containers.  Most ships offer shampoo and conditioner if you need it.  If you have to have a particular hair dryer, bring it.  The small hairdryers found in your cabin will work, but they’re definitely not like your favorite.

Leave room for souvenirs:  Don’t stuff you luggage so full that you don’t have room for a few souvenirs.  Even if you are not planning on doing a lot of shopping, trust me, you’ll end up with something extra to bring home. We won’t talk about the rugs, china, crystal, samovar, drum and many other things I bought while traveling 😐 but I always found a way to get them home! :-)

Packing for Shore Excursions:  Make sure you pack a small tote for heading ashore or trips to the pool, you can throw your ziplock baggies in the tote that has your sunscreen, phone and cash and you’re ready to go.  If you’re planning to do a lot of snorkeling, you may want to consider bringing your own gear.

Important Documents:  If you need a hard copy of your boarding documents, don’t forget to pack it in your carry on.  Keep copies of everything on your smartphone.  Take pictures of your passport, drivers license and any other important documents and save them to your device in case something goes missing.  While you’re at it, take a picture of your kiddos so if you get separated you can easily access a picture to show anyone who may be helping you find the little vagabond.

Books:  If you plan on reading while you’re on vacation, don’t forget to pack your book (a ziplock baggie is great for books too!)  If you read books on your smartphone or tablet, make sure you download them before leaving.  You don’t want to eat up expensive onboard data charges because you forgot to download your favorite book.  And while you’re at it, make sure you charge your tablet at home before you leave so you’re ready to go!

Once you’re onboard…

Learning your way around the ship:  It can be overwhelming, some ships are bigger than the small town you may live in!  Look closely and pay attention to the details, often times different decks will have different colors in the carpet.  Sometimes the carpet may have a pattern that points forward.  There will be little things that can help you if you look for them, artwork, sculptures, and other landmarks will be helpful in finding you way around.  Ask crew members to point hidden landmarks out to you – they’ll be happy to help!

Just because there is a line – doesn’t mean you have to stand in it!  This obviously doesn’t have anything to do with packing, but it will make your experience onboard SO much better!  Not sure what it is about lines, people see them, and think they have to get in line or they’ll miss out.  Find out first ‘why’ people are standing in that line.  If you don’t ‘have’ to be there standing and waiting, then don’t.  Go and do something else!

Vernacular:

  • It’s a ‘ship’ not a ‘boat’  :-)
  • Port – is the left side of the ship when facing forward (four letters in left, four letters in port).
  • Starboard – is the right side of the ship when facing forward.
  • Forward and Aft – Front and Back.
  • Poop Deck – it’s a funny phrase for the kids (and grownup kids) to get a chuckle out of.  Historically, the poop deck is the deck that forms the roof of a cabin built in the rear or aft part of the ship.
  • Fullfart – another great one for the kids.  It’s Norwegian for ‘Full Speed’.  And yes, I’m apologizing now to the many families when back in the day as a Youth Coordinator I taught that phrase to their kids :-/

And if something does go wrong, don’t demand to speak with the Captain!:  You’ll get much farther going to the front desk and being nice to the crew member waiting on you.  Trust us!  We’ve seen it all, and we can promise you, the nicer you are, the better off you’ll be, and the farther you’ll get!!!

I hope you found these tips helpful, if you enjoyed them – please share with your friends!

BillySailaway2

Click to Tweet: Just because there is a line: doesn’t mean you have to stand in it! #MannerMonday has more cruise tips for you! http://bit.ly/Packing4Cruise

And always… thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue


On another note…

Have you seen our end of the season video yet?  Thank you to one of our Student Ambassadors, Presley Rhea, for creating the video this year!

And if you’re curious as to why I was verklempt at the end of the video, you can visit this link to read the story: http://bit.ly/SrSpotCT

The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog at www.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

 

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Cruise Ships, Manner Monday

Manner Monday®: Benefits of Technology and Face-Time

If you’ve been following Manner Monday for any length of time, you know I’m a fan of unplugging, putting the phone down and engaging in some good old fashioned ‘face-time’. Just as Business, Social and Dining Etiquette all have many layers, so does Electronic Etiquette: Email Etiquette, typing in ALL CAPS, voicemail messages, voicemail greetings, inappropriate social media sharing, you get the picture. And more than likely you’ve heard many spiels on the basic premise of Electronic Etiquette – giving the person in front of you 100% of your attention. We all get it by now. But sometimes rules are meant to be broken. If the use of technology can improve the conversation, solve a problem, or enhance the social interaction, then by all means, bring it into the equation. It’s the blatant disrespect for the person in front of you when you ‘tune in to tech’ and ‘tune them out’ that causes problems and ruins relationships.

So yes, there is a time and a place when the benefits of technology and the new and improved digital ‘face-time’ come in handy. For example during our recent end-of-the-year event for our high school students, we had unfortunate complications with Mother Nature and had to reschedule our formal dinner and ball. Needless to say, I was saddened to find out a couple of our students would not be able to attend the rescheduled event. One of those who had had a conflict with the new date was a senior, who had not missed a formal dinner in the eight years she had been participating in programs with us. So, to make the best of a difficult situation, we decided to turn to technology… Face-Time to the rescue. We were able to give her a glimpse into the evening and let her ‘chat’ briefly with some of her friends. It’s obviously not as good as attending in person, but it sure was a nice alternative to missing it all together.

Click to Tweet:  If tech can improve the conversation, solve a problem, or enhance social interaction – then bring it on. #MannerMonday http://bit.ly/TechFT

Channing Justice FaceTime

On another note…

Have you seen our end of the season video yet?  Thank you to one of our Student Ambassadors, Presley Rhea, for creating the video this year!

And if you’re curious as to why I was verklempt at the end of the video, you can visit this link to read the story: http://bit.ly/SrSpotCT

The highest compliment you can give us is a referral to your friends and coworkers. Please share our registration and contact information with any families you think might be interested in participating in our program.

Each year we build on the previous year as we add to the curriculum.  We have many students who continue with us each season, from our Level 5 (5th grade) program through our Passport (High School) Program.  Our goal with the continuous exposure, and gentle reminders, of the courtesies we teach over consecutive years – is to assist you in raising well-mannered young adults.

  • Continued Exposure:  Just as continued exposure to athletics and school homework reaps rewards; continued exposure to the social skills taught in our program will provide lifelong lessons that will benefit your child throughout the classroom and into the boardroom.
  • Benefits and Rewards:  One of the biggest rewards of our students returning year after year, is the virtual ‘light bulb’ that seems to turn on and stay on; the students are really starting to get it and they are very proud of themselves.  Their confidence is building.  We’ve highlighted some of our graduating seniors on my blog at www.CareySueVega.com/?s=senior+spotlight

For more information click on the links below:
5-8th Grade Programs
9-12th Grade Programs
General Information
www.ExpeditionsInEtiquette.com

As always, thanks for reading!
– Carey Sue

No comments | leave a comment
Business Etiquette, Etiquette, Manner Monday, Manners

Manner Monday®: Graduation Gift Ideas

After seeing the post on Graduation Announcements and Invitations, a friend reached out asking ‘what to get’ for the graduates in her life and how much to spend. Her kiddos are much younger, and she wanted to know what would make a good gift and how much she should spend.

I think it totally depends on your personal situation as well as the relationship with the graduate when it comes to how much to spend. Keep in mind it is the thought that counts and you don’t have to break the bank to show the graduate how happy you are for them!

Some of my favorite ‘go-to’ gifts for High School Graduates are:

  • Personalized Laundry Bag – If you’re crafty and can sew, these are easy to whip up and you can have them monogrammed for a personal touch. I know many students who carry their laundry bags for years to come!
  • Personalized Bath Towels – Having their name on their towel makes it easy to identify. Velcro towel wraps make a nice gift too!

Some of my favorite ‘go-to’ gifts for all:

  • Nice Picture Frame – is a great gift that the graduate can take to school and help to decorate and brighten their dorm room.
  • Portable Phone Chargers – these make great gifts for college kids when they out for the day and every plug they come across is already taken.
  • Gift cards – Gift cards make nice gifts for both High School and College graduates. Whether it’s a gift card to a box store where they can stock up on supplies for their dorm or apartment, or a Gas card to help fuel up when cash is tight, gift cards seem like an ‘easy out’ but if you know the graduate needs some general store items, this can be a huge help to their already strapped budget!

Some of my favorite ‘go-to’ gifts for College Graduates are:

  • A nice engraved pen – not only will this be a gift they will cherish for a long time to come, but it will also make a great impression during interviews they may be going on soon!
  • Personalized Stationery – this is something that every graduate needs, but doesn’t want to spend his or her own money on! The stationery can be used for thank-you notes after an interview, and believe it or not some kids still write good old-fashioned thank you notes! At least they should if they want the job!
  • Tool Set – As adults, we know there is always some DIY task that needs to be done around the house and how important our tools are! Whether it’s hanging a picture, tightening a water faucet, or just about any other little ‘honey-do’ trick we can do ourselves, having those tools in a compact tool kit, is a huge help!

Whatever you choose to give, make sure you spend some time on the presentation. Wrap it nicely and include a handwritten note of support and encouragement! This is a big time in their life and a huge transition for the graduate; your kind words may just be the support they need to remind them they can do it!

Click to Tweet:  This is a big time in a Grad’s life; your kind words may just be the support they need! #MannerMonday http://bit.ly/GradGiftIdeas

I created a Pinterest board with some ideas if you’d like to check it out. Here’s the link: https://www.pinterest.com/careysue/graduation-gift-ideas/

Feel free to leave a comment below and share your ideas!

FullSizeRender

 

 

 

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Etiquette, Hostess Gifts, Manner Monday, Manners