Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Principal Ps & Qs

In today's wired, need-it-now, and overscheduled world, is there still room for manners?

Today I attended a lunch meeting sponsored by a local public relations group; the subject was business manners. Our speaker was a humorous and well-spoken woman named Stephanie Horton, the owner of Top Dog Etiquette. In just under 60 minutes, she covered about 20 topics, all related to manners and all easily applicable to schools. For example, true or false?
  • It's OK to listen to your voicemail via the speakerphone. (False. It's disruptive and people can often still hear you, even with your office door closed.)
  • E-mail thank you notes are acceptable. (True. A hand-written note is preferable, but an electronic thank you is OK. And it's never too late to say thank you!)
  • It's not necessary to tell people they are on speakerphone. (False! It's common courtesy to let them know they are being heard aloud.)
For principals, who spend a lot of time meeting with families, community representatives and other key audiences, manners are essential. How you present yourself and your office matters, according to Horton, because it is an extension of who you are and the organization you represent.

Do you have a manners pet peeve you'd like to share?

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