We’re not born knowing how to socialize correctly in public situations. Largely, we take on the mannerisms of our parents, who teach us how to talk, share, and become good citizens of the world. As society becomes less and less formal however (lol’s, and emoticons anyone?), there are fewer opportunities to practice the skills that speak of refinement and class. That said, there has never been a time where social etiquette and first impressions meant more than in today’s day and age. It is truly refreshing to find someone who makes those around them feel comfortable and at ease during interactions. That’s what elegance means to me.
So today readers , we take a page from Audrey Hepburn’s “How to be Lovely: The Audrey Hepburn Way of Life” as she was not only a style beacon but a truly elegant spirit. No one was more charming, graceful, elegant or wise than this fair lady. While few of us actually met Audrey Hepburn, we met her characters – Eliza Doolittle, Princess Ann, Sabrina, and who could forget, Holly Golightly. Both in character and in reality she represented all that a women could be. Years later, we remember her fondly as she continues to inspire us to become the best versions of ourselves. With some tweaking for modern times, and situations, we can still apply many of Audrey Hepburn’s teachings when guiding our own lives.
In social situations (such as at networking and community events), when alone with confidence lagging, I think, “what would Audrey do?” and try to take on those characteristics myself. No one wants to make a social faux pas, and making others feel bad is the ultimate faux pas. It’s best to always treat those you meet with kindness, as I promise, those acts will be remembered. Here are some actions, I believe, Audrey would utilize in her daily interactions:
- Smile. Smile at those you know and smile at those you’ve just met. If you look happy and inviting, people are much more likely to approach you to engage in conversation. It’s ok to check your smart phone every once in a while, but don’t use it as a safety net. An interesting individual may not approach you if they think you are busy.
- Compliment others. A simple “I like your dress,” or “nice tie, buddy,” will go a long way in helping you create positive interactions.
- Always say please and thank you. Nothing is simpler or more polite than using your basic manners.
- Admit when you’re wrong. There are times your facts may not be entirely correct. Admit this. You can learn as much from others as they can from you.
- Have a sense of humor.
- Engage with everyone in a group. Don’t exclude someone from the conversation. Try your best to find common topics of interest.
- Remember people’s names. This is truly a challenge for me, especially when networking, and meeting many new faces at once. If you can master this task however, it is a simple skill that will truly go a long way.
- Be sensitive to others points of view. Even if you have a strong opinion on a topic, make your case in a constructive manner that doesn’t overpower the other person.
- Return phone calls and emails within twenty-four hours. In fact, send a “nice to meet you” message to new acquaintance’s within twenty-four hours through email or a social media platform such as LinkedIn. This is particularly important for relationships you wish to cultivate in the future.
- Minimize your use of swear words. While swearing has become more common, and to a small extent, accepted by today’s society, there is nothing classy about this type of language. It is important to speak eloquently when interacting with others (no more like’s, umm’s, ahhh’s :))
Having good etiquette is timeless and will never go out of style. I urge you readers to take these tips and incorporate them into your daily lives.
Can you think of a modern-day Audrey Hepburn? I would have to argue Kate Middleton is currently society’s beacon for style, grace, elegance, and class. I mean, she is a duchess right?! Other thoughts?