As per a few weeks ago, below are some of my favourite questions that I have received this week on matters of protocol, manners, etiquette and the like. If you have a question on any subject you think I’d know about, then do please contact me.
1) You stated on CNN that one never EVER ‘clinks’ glasses with the Queen, yet that is exactly what Ireland’s President did with her after her speech. She is even heard to say ‘I like the clinky glass.” Exception to the rule, or a gaffe by Ireland’s President McAleese?
It was a mistake on the part of the Irish President. Quite forgivable seeing as there seems to be an epidemic of clinking glasses going around the world at the moment. Her Majesty’s reference to “I like clinky glasses” would probably have been a ‘get out clause’ for the Irish premier as it would be impolite to point out the faux pas there and then (especially as Her Majesty was the guest).
2) I frequently catch public transport to and from university, and I would like to know some of your etiquette tips for public transport.
Public transport, I am not going to lie, is not my favourite, although I do use it. When I am in London I use the London Underground frequently and am getting much better at navigating it. In Manchester I frequently hop on buses to get from A to B. As with everything in life, there is an etiquette that comes with public transport and just because the condition of some buses is not brilliant it does not mean that people’s standards of behaviour should slip.
3) How was it that you got interested in etiquette? I am also interested in this matter and am a similar age to you.
I am heartened to hear that there is someone else of a similar age interested in etiquette and the like – I knew I couldn’t just be the only one! This link contains some of my background (although it’s a very old link). If you have any further questions I would be delighted to answer them.
Keep on maintaining standards! Don’t sink to everyone else’s level – raise them to yours.
4) When wearing a dinner suit what is the deal with the collar business? Does it have to point upwards or downwards?
Black tie (dinner jacket), when worn correctly, should be a turn-down collar (so a ‘normal’ looking collar). Winged collars are for White tie events.
5) What do you think the best way is to be perceived as a young professional who knows what you are doing and want people to realise this more in meetings and first encounters?
People will be expecting you to be rubbish/not brilliant (if they know how old you are) and so I have always made sure that I beat (or match) them at their own game. They will be looking for weaknesses and be waiting for you to slip up and so it’s best to pre-empt that has best you can. Fortunately for me, I come across older than I actually am, which does help, although I still look young.