Becoming an Etiquette Trainer: 4 Experts share First Experiences

Do you want to become an Etiquette Trainer? Don’t miss this opportunity to find out what 4 Etiquette Professionals from Canada, USA, Germany and the UK have to say about their first experience when they started to work in the etiquette industry.

Become an Etiquette Trainer:

4 Experts share their first experiences

Suzanne Nourse (Canada)

The Protocol School of Ottawa opened for business in 2004. I was certified by The Protocol School of Washington in 2002 and continued in my college teaching job for a couple of years. My main focus is Corporate/Business Etiquette, International Protocol and Medical/Dental Office Professionalism. To round out my programs I developed Afternoon Tea & Etiquette and that is what my first client wanted. Fulford Place is an historic residence/museum in a small town, Brockville, south of my home city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. They conduct guided tours and also have a lovely, little tea room.

I set up my tea display of tea paraphernalia in the grand salon. The guests sat at chairs and tables. How grand. After my presentation we all made our way to the tea room. Afternoon Tea had been included in the fee for the afternoon. I’m a believer in practising what is discussed — so, let’s have tea! I table hopped and answered questions as the participants enjoyed their finger sandwiches and scones. I quickly learned that the facilitator does not have time to eat or even drink. I think I left several barely touched cups of tea at various tables.

Since this was my first paid job as an Etiquette Consultant I was nervous. It was exasperated by driving to an unfamiliar town, road construction detours, and my own non-existent sense of direction. A quick stop at a gas station for directions soon had me back on track. Being compulsively early I needn’t have worried about the time.

That first experienced reinforced with me the need to be early, that participants like to look and touch relevant objects, and that I needed to be more aware of my own need for body fuel. I now pack snacks and a drinking glass. Most organizers set up the speaking area with bottled water. As an Etiquette Consultant I refuse to drink from a bottle while speaking. I am thrilled to report that this first experience as an Etiquette Consultant led to repeat sessions with Fulford Place. To me, that says it all.

Carey Sue Vega (USA)

I officially became an Etiquette Professional in 2001 when I completed training with the National League of Junior Cotillions to become a licensed director. I ‘unofficially’ have been an Etiquette Professional for many years leading up to the formal training. In 1989 I developed a ‘Manner Madness’ program for the recreation department at the resort where I was serving as an intern. For 10 years I worked for Norwegian Cruise Line and during that time while I was a Cruise Director, I put together an Etiquette and Entertaining program with another crew member. He was a formally trained English Butler so I owe much of my ‘formal’ etiquette training to him.

I currently offer programs for students 5th — 8th grade, High School, as well as Business Etiquette and Corporate Training for college students and professionals.

I love working as an Etiquette Professional; sharing the tools and tips to help people feel more comfortable in any situation is so rewarding. So many people think manners and etiquette are stuffy and formal. When in reality, they give you great self-esteem and help you to fit in, allowing you to put others at ease.

When I first started working with the high school students, we were kicking off our first class and my brain was saying to me “what in the world made you think this was going to be a great idea”. The teens were sitting there, looking at me with their arms crossed, slumped down in their chairs… hating me, hating their parents for sending them to me. You get the picture. But by the end of the first class, we had made great headway and they were all enjoying themselves and we were on the road to a positive experience. We recently ran into one of those former students, who recently graduated college. He said his experience in our program proved to be invaluable as he interviewed for school and internships, throughout his college experience and even more so now that he is heading out into the ‘real world’.

During that first experience, I learned that people want to learn; they want to feel more comfortable in social situations. That helps me to feel more confident in my teaching abilities and I am more at ease when I go into the ‘classroom’ setting… knowing what the end result is going to be. I strongly believe that manners and etiquette are our compass and anchor for happy living as we navigate the social seas of life.

Sabine Schwind von Egelstein (Germany)

I started my business in Image Consulting in 1995. In the following years I got more and more requests about Business Etiquette, I think because of my noble name. That is why I started to study international Etiquette beginning of 1998. In 2003 I had a weekly TV Show about Etiquette in German television.

My company “Schwind von Egelstein Imagedesign” is specialized on Personal Image Consulting in national and international business as well as intercultural competence in global Business. Premium brands of all kinds hire me to ensure their employees professional presentation. My very first client was Allianz, an insurance company. I remember that I was nervous but well prepared and my client’s interest gave me confidence.

As a Personal Image Consultant and expert in good manners you are more than a consultant or coach to most of your clients. They entrust you their feelings and accept your advice not only in business but also in private matters. In order to stay competitive in our ever-changing business climate, cultural competence and a global mindset are a must. Understanding cultural nuances for international business is challenging. My clients are so grateful to be able to deal with members of other cultures more easily and gain better results in their negotiations. For example, the German way to communicate is very directly. That makes a lot of people from other nations feel personally rejected.

Most behavior that is perceived as disrespectful, discourteous or abrasive is unintentional, and could have been avoided by practicing good manners or etiquette. Each generation’s communication style can differ dramatically and can cause chaos and confusion. A good consultant has done in praxis what he is teaching and has walked in his client´s shoes.

Diana Mather (United Kingdom)

My company, Public Image, was originally created as a company specialising in presentation, inter-personal skills and media relations and it was one of the first companies in the field of image building to achieve formal approval by the House of Commons for advising Members of Parliament in the UK on the whole range of topics relating to their public performance.

I started out as an Etiquette Professional in 2005 when I discovered that all the finishing schools in the UK had closed down and there was nothing to replace them. I realised that girls no longer want to spend a year on a course these days, so I spotted a niche in the market and decided to re-invent the traditional British finishing school by modernising the curriculum and condensing it to 5 days — a Finishing School for the 21st century! After offering the story to our local papers I was contacted by BBC TV and BBC Radio’s ‘Woman’s Hour’ to cover the launch of the first course for Young Ladies. This led to enquiries from people from all over the globe and when I introduced the first finishing school for Gentlemen in Scotland it gained attention from the world’s media.

The pilot courses were very interesting as it enabled me to find out what our clients really wanted. Adding things like self defence for example, was very popular. One may ask what that has to do with etiquette, but in the past Ladies never went out unchaperoned, which is not the case nowadays, so we show our students how to keep safe.

I have always been interested in good manners and etiquette because my great grandfather, Edward Weissmuller von Wimmis, was an envoy to the Court of St James in London in the 20th century. He escorted The Duke of Cumberland on the Garter Mission to Japan and arranged the itinerary for The Crown Prince of Siam on his visits to the Courts of Europe, Russia and Asia as well as organizing ‘The Grand Tour’ for many aristocratic families. As a result international protocol, etiquette, and good manners have been very much an integral part of my life. My clients range from ages 16–66 and come from all over the world. Some are ladies who want to hone their social skills, others are students wanting to gain some social graces and others and work in all kinds of industries. I have now set up Public Image in Angola, Kenya and Uganda in Africa and am getting enquiries from Russia, China and India to start companies there.

My expectations from the first courses we ran were quite low. I didn’t know how the girls would react. People said to me ‘how can you teach girls to become young ladies in 5 days?’ my reply was that if they wanted to become young ladies, we could teach them a lot in that time. If they didn’t want to learn, then a year’s course wouldn’t be long enough. My gut feeling was right. I was delighted by how the course went. The girls really took in everything we taught them and could see the value these social skills would bring in later life. One thing I have learnt from subsequent courses is the age bracket. If the girls are too young (14 or under) they are not as receptive and are inclined to resent being told how to behave properly. Those that are going to university, college or into the job market see how important table manners, good deportment and the ability to make small talk, for example, are when it comes to success in adult social and corporate life.

What was your biggest takeaway today from these Etiquette Consultants’ first experiences on how to become an Etiquette Trainer? Maybe you got a bit inspired to become an Etiquette Trainer too? I would appreciate it, if you could leave a comment. If you know anyone who could benefit from this article, make sure you share it. You will be helping them out and me too! Thanks!