Our Ms. Modern Manners Sharon Schweitzer, author of a new international business etiquette book, Access to Asia, is in the know and on the go again in this issue as she reveals her tips for living a more beautiful life with flawless etiquette insight

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

I work in a professional environment, yet with a “new casualness” where it seems like all week is Casual Friday. How may I inspire people to take more pride and present themselves more professionally? Should I start a campaign with the HR department?

Dress Up and Show Up


Dear Dressing and Showing,                                                                                    The best way to inspire is to be an inspiration yourself. An impression is formed in the first four to ten seconds of meeting someone, and it takes nine positive interactions to overcome a poor first impression. Professional attire and business casual are industry specific and appropriate attire also varies from coast to coast. Follow the company dress code policy. If your company currently has a casual environment, accept it and continue to dress professionally. You never know whom you might inspire.

Dear Ms. Modern Manners,


Tell me it isn’t so… is it true that etiquette lessons are the latest secret weapon in the workplace?

Riveted in River Oaks


Dear Riveted,

Yes, it is true, these days modern manners is the moniker and it is all the rage. Snarky comments have cost young graduates and grey hairs alike. It seems this trend started during 2008, and gained traction due to numerous factors; recession caused cherry picking of workforce, graduates moving back in with parents and market saturation. Employers are conducting training courses and executives are attending sessions learning to smooth their sharp and unpolished edges. Buckle up and brush up on your manners since it is likely that those who do their best will win both the raise and the pats on the back.


Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

We were quietly dining on our favorite pet-friendly patio when a dog ran around the barrier and into the cafe, upsetting all of the content canines and their guardians. A reminder, please, on pet etiquette?

Hopeless in Highland Park


Dear Hopeful Pet Person,


It is irrelevant how friendly Fifi is; leash laws were enacted for a reason. All of us have our specific comfort level with dogs, including dog lovers. Some people are 100% comfortable with several breeds, and uncomfortable with another breed. Dog owners must be respectful, especially when walking dogs in the city or neighborhoods. The best rule is to keep your dog on a leash at all times. Other modern manners include only letting a dog approach if a stranger inquires as to whether your dog is friendly.


Keep Fifi leashed and close to you and be aware of other people’s space, including restaurants, grocery stores and areas with inviting fragrances. The leash should be slack enough for Fifi to be comfortable, but short enough to prevent wandering into a cafe. If a faux pas occurs, apologizing is a must, darling. A well-mannered dog and a considerate owner set excellent ownership examples.


Dear Ms. Modern Manners,

We are going on a cruise in June, visiting several different countries. My husband and I disagree on public displays of affection, what is your advice?


Publically Polite

Dear Polite in Public,

Public displays of affection, also known as PDAs, elicit a broad range of responses both at home and abroad. With conundrums like this, I always think: How would I behave in front of my grandparents in this situation? In this instance, tolerance factors include culture, belief systems, age, and customs. Countries differ in their tolerance level, so be sure to check the latest resources. If you are uncertain or disagree, waiting for private time to be outwardly affectionate may be best.