Etiquette friday

Say Thank You When You Receive a Gift

By Angela Marshall, 23rd Oct 2014


Receiving a Gift

When a person has gone to the trouble of giving you a gift it is only polite to say thank you. We should appreciate the act of giving and the time it took to think of the gift, buy it and possibly wrap it. If a person has arranged for it to be sent it is even more important to thank, so they know you have received it.

If it is a personal friend a written note is still the best but at least a text, email or phone call is better than nothing. So often people forget or never get around to it.  It isn’t necessary to go overboard in expressing our gratitude; it doesn’t have to be long and complicated, but it is most important it is done.

If we do not express gratitude, our relationship might change because we are giving the impression that we don’t care about the other person.

Gifts can be accepted in different ways

In the western world gifts are generally opened at once unless it is for a specific day in the future. However, if you take a bottle of wine to your host they may well not open it as they have already gone to the trouble to arrange the meal with appropriate wines.

Different Cultures for Giving and Receiving a Gift

There are cultural differences, so it is important if you are in another country or visiting a country you are aware of these differences.

In the Western world people are fairly relaxed but others can be more formal, it is important to know and understand the culture.

For example:


  • Present gift with both hands.
  • Do not open gifts in front of the giver.
  • Acknowledge immediately and in writing.


  • Don’t give a clock. It is a reminder that time is passing.
  • In business, a gift is given to the organization not to the individual.
  • Refuse a gift 3 times, and then accept reluctantly.
  • Avoid white paper.


  • Yellow flowers signify death.
  • Don’t give knives: it means the severing of friendship.


  • Nothing made of pigskin

 Western Europe:

  • Flowers – avoid white lilies as they can signify death.

Business Manners – Always Be Polite

By Angela Marshall, 18th Sep 2014


Costs Benefits Choices On Signpost Showing Analysis And Value Of An Investment

Business Etiquette 

More companies are finding their staff need advice on how to be better mannered. This is a key part to having a good personal image. It doesn’t matter who we are or where we have come from we can always be well mannered and considerate to others. It may not be something a client, colleague or boss comments on but it does get noticed.

Whether in business for yourself, employed in a company or looking for a job we all need to be seen, how we come across is very important.  Remember this can be either face to face or through social media, both are very important. Head-hunters looking for a prospective candidate will look at your profile. Make sure your photo is a good representation of you and do update it. It is no good going for an interview looking years older. It’s always a shock when you see a journalist on TV, expecting a similarity with the photo you see each day in the newspaper and realising it was obviously taken several years ago.

Points to think of:

  1. Respect other people’s space, time, privacy and priorities.
  2. Always return telephone calls, if necessary leave a message on voicemail. Speak slowly and clearly. How good is your voicemail message?
  3. Where possible avoid loud rings/conversation on mobiles in public places, especially if they are business. Think about the kind of confidential conversations you may be having in public and how identifiable the information is, because you can’t be sure that the competition isn’t listening!
  4. Remember to be courteous to people at all times, including colleagues and visitors e.g. offer a drink, take a coat.
  5. Keep your promises or at least go back and update people.
  6. Introductions, general rule of thumb – juniors to seniors.
  7. Table manners can ruin your image, make sure you look and act the part.

Good Manners includes Communicating with People

Often people think good manners and etiquette are about using the correct utensils when eating and knowing what and where your plates and glasses are. Good manners are about being considerate and thoughtful to others. When we are polite it influences all working relationships whether it is with our bosses, colleagues or our clients. Being polite and having good manners makes a positive image and gives a wonderful first impression.

Wimbledon Tennis – Players Manners

By Angela Marshall, 27th Jun 2014


Wimbledon Centre Court

Wimbledon Lawn Tennis 2014

I have loved watching players and going to Wimbledon  since I was a little girl. It is a great place to feel British as people are dressed smart without having to be overdressed. Plus most corporate entertainment is about watching the tennis players and not about boozing!!

There are strict rules about players wearing white and this year they have even needed to include rules on underwear, so as to avoid the tangerine experiences of last year.

Tennis Players and Good Manners

Angelique Kerber and Heather Watson

My biggest complaint is that when a match is finished the loser often leaves court before the other player. However, yesterday, Germany’s Angelique Kerber played the British player Heather Watson and was courteous to wait to leave the court with Heather. Plus she then spent sometime signing autographs, including to Chelsea Pensioners, ensuring she returned the pen to the appropriate person. This is a great example of politeness, being courteous and considerate to your opponent.  Bring back players waiting for each other to leave the court!

From a positive note, the BBC commentary team are universally positive, humorous and polite!

Picture credit: BBC Sport


Tip & Suggestions to Help Kids to have Social Skills

By Angela Marshall, 17th Apr 2014


Last week I talked about the importance to teach children, from a young age, to have good social skills so that they will have more confidence socialising now and in later life.

Here are some ideas and suggestions that may help you to prepare your children:

1. Ps AND Qs

Children should be taught to say please and thank you in all situations. It shows respect and appreciation.

2. Introductions

Teaching children how to introduce them self can be a very useful social skill and will help them when meeting new friends. It is good to introduce your children to friends when they meet them, and teach them what to say in response.  On certain occasions let them shake hands and do include girls as well as boys.

3. Letter Writing

Thank-you letters seem a thing of the past and yet the person that receives a handwritten note always remembers it in a very positive way. Encourage your children to send postcards and thank you notes to grandparents, relatives or friends instead of telephoning or sending emails and texts.

4. Telephone Etiquette for Children

Encourage your children, from an early age, to answer the phone politely. Playing with a toy phone or an unplugged phone will help, playing both roles of answering and phoning the person. It can be a fun game for children to play.  Also show them how to leave a message on an answer phone.

5. Dining Manners

Sitting down together as a family for a meal is important for both children and adults and no mobile phones is a great rule. Families who share their meals together tend to be more attentive and interested in each other. It is also the perfect time to teach the children table manners. Encourage them to help you lay the table as this will teach them what goes where.

Children (and adults) often eat too quickly which is bad for their digestion as well as bad mannered. Teach your children to eat slowly and not rush their food. Advise them that elbows on the table, making rude noises when eating or wearing hats at meals are not good table manners.

6. Eating out in Restaurants

It is good to eat out with your children so that they become accustomed to being waited upon. However they need to appreciate that meals can take longer to arrive and that they will be served at the table by someone strange. Remind them to say “Please” and “Thank You” to the waiting staff as well as smiling can go a long way!

7. Social Skills

Not all children find it easy to make new friends yet encouraging them when they are with you or another adult, whilst they are young, will help them in later life. These skills will give them confidence to mix with new people. You never know – it may refresh and improve your own skills at the same time!

8. Art of Conversation

It is important for all the family to make conversation and also an important rule for children to learn to listen to what others have to say and to wait their turn to talk. They will find it will help to broaden their interests and it can be fun to talk to them about subjects you would like them to know more about. Meal time is the ideal time to talk about what happened during the day or subjects on the news.

9. Respect Different Styles and Cultures

When people do things differently from your family whether it is due to having a different style, religion or culture then encourage your children to embrace it and appreciate the difference and to respect it and show them how interesting it can be.

10. The Golden Rule

It might seem like common sense, but it’s worth repeating to your child: treat others as you would like them to treat you. If you don’t want someone to be mean to you, don’t be mean to them. If you want people to say nice things about you, say nice things about them.

It’s Important for Kids to have Social Skills

By Angela Marshall, 10th Apr 2014

Family eating pasta and salad in the dining room

The world is getting smaller; competition is getting stronger for obtaining jobs and doing business. We need to ensure we have every advantage when selling ourselves to people. It is, therefore, important for children to learn manners and social skills from an early age, so that they will be ready for interviews for university, jobs and generally knowing how to meet, greet or entertain customers and clients.

So often I have heard or seen how a person has lost out on a job, a promotion or socially due to their lack of confidence in mixing and mingling, knowing how to behave and having good manners at the table.


So many clothes brands are setting up kids departments and parents are buying clothes often for the kids before themselves as they find it easier to spoil them. The best approach is to teach children how to organise and plan their wardrobe on a budget, so that they have clothes they enjoy wearing and yet know how to wear them in different ways and feel great in them. No doubt if you have two or more children you will notice they often want different clothes, due to having different personalities. But be careful – spoiling them with lots of clothes will only encourage them to have too many clothes in the future, with obvious financial consequences!


When your child wants to purchase an item, have them go to the counter to pay for it and teach them to check the change and to thank the assistant and smile. This will encourage them to engage with strangers and to be confident and polite.


For children to be successful in life, they need to have good social skills as well as academic skills. If you help young children to learn how to be polite and caring, they will continue to use good manners and become more socially aware as they get older.

Your kids may not appreciate this advice at the time, but it is one of those things that they will thank you for later in life. The sooner you teach your children, the easier it will be for them as they get older. Good manners do not come by themselves, they need to be taught.

Parents should always remember that the best way to teach manners is to lead by example, although they must also allow the child time to learn. Action speaks louder than words.

Next week I will have some suggestions and ideas to help prepare your children to have a great image.


Etiquette Friday – Manners on Valentine’s Day

By Angela Marshall, 8th Feb 2013

I continue my quest from 2012,  when each Friday I requested you join me in my campaign to change “Casual Friday” to “Etiquette Friday” and to encourage people and companies to get involved. Hopefully my messages have reminded you to make some small changes, and that people will be more considerate to others and more aware of their manners. This in turn will create a more pleasant and positive society, as well as help people to communicate and  feel better about themselves.

Valentine’s Day

It is important to be courteous at all times,  but particularly on a date and especially on Valentine’s Day.

Here are some reminders on manners for the special day:

  1. Personal Grooming – No one wants to be dating someone with bad breath or dirty nails – your image and personal hygiene is vital for success. You don’t have to be dressed from top to toe in designer clothes, but cleanliness and style will pay dividends.
  2. What to Wear – It is important to dress so you feel comfortable and to be yourself – your wardrobe personality. Dress appropriately for the event to show you have made an effort and that you care.  Read more.
  3. Body Language – Positive body language is important. Eye contact is always a must on a date, but this doesn’t mean you should stare at them. If it is a first date be aware not to invade the person’s inner space. Smile!
  4. Get There On Time – Just because women typically take more time to get ready that is no reason at all to arrive late for a date. If you have scheduled to meet at a particular time, be there when you said you would.
  5. Small Talk – Find out their interests and hobbies; show you are keen to know more about them. Don’t talk about your interests, for too long, if it doesn’t interest them. Remember God gave you 2 ears and 1 mouth. Listening should be proactive not reactive, ask questions.
  6. Turn your Mobile Phone Off
  7. Thank youIf you are treated then remember to say thank you!

Always compliment your date on what he or she is wearing, men as well as women love to be flattered.

Business Scene Networking

By Angela, 2nd Mar 2009

Bus Lunch iStock_000005908817SmallNetworking is a very important part of every day life whether for business or social. Networking correctly can help develop your skills of business know-how. It helps grow your confidence and you need to ensure you have good manners. Networking broadens your outlook as you meet different people from different walks of life.

This is a picture of me at the recent Business Scene event held at Mercedes Guildford, Surrey. Over 100 people from the South East attended the event.

Networking is part of Appearance Management workshops

What is Etiquette and Manners?

By Angela, 14th Jan 2009

MannersEtiquette is the rules of social behaviour that have evolved over centuries, whilst manners are how these rules are applied.

Manners in the United Kingdom – Royal and State occasions require the most formal behaviour. In the United Kingdom Royal or State functions are organised by Buckingham Palace and anyone invited to such a function are given guidance on dress codes and how to greet the Royal family.

There are differences between social and business etiquette, e.g. in a business context men and women must be given equal treatment; any distinctions are determined by rank and position. In a social context, on the other hand, women often find that men may show a level of attention like hold the door open or pull out a chair.

Good manners may not be commented on but bad manners never get forgotten.

Welcome to Angela Marshall's Blog. Angela Marshall
"I am in the third phase of my life and having been a successful image consultant for 18 years, I now enjoy the freedom of blogging about life in general, especially fashion, grooming, etiquette and manners." Angela Marshall
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