In honor of National Etiquette Week, I am highlighting hot spots in New York that offer workshops about manners and proper social behavior. National Etiquette Week is an annual event, beginning the second Monday in May, that was established by Sandra Morisset in 1997. Ms. Morisset is also the director of Protocol Training Services, a company that provides etiquette training for children, teens and young adult professionals. She teaches these skills through formal classes, workshops and private consultations for her various clients, often at some of the finest hotels in the New York metropolitan area. Her business is a certified etiquette consulting firm and prepares children, teenages and young adults to be at ease in any situation in the social and professional arena. Protocol Training Services also offers dining instruction and etiquette camps for children and teens.
Another place to send your child for etiquette lessons is the Young Plaza Ambassador Program at the Plaza. Classes take place in the posh dining suites at the Plaza and consist of 20-25 children between the ages of 6 and 16. Courses offered include Basic Dining Skills, Tea Etiquette and Social Skills and Advanced Dining Skills. This program is directed by Lyudmila Bloch and was featured in New York Magazine.
If you are looking for personalized attention, an image consulting firm such as Polished Social Image Consultants, can be used to learn a wide variety of advanced social skills at any age. Coaching is offered in areas such as wedding guest etiquette, business etiquette, dining etiquette and international business etiquette. There are also consultations for dance, wardrobe, makeup and personal shopping. Samantha Von Sperling, a dancer and graduate of New York University, is the founder of this corporation, which is the only full scale image consulting firm in the Northeast that specializes in total image improvement. Her work has been featured in the New York Times and the Boston Herald and she has appeared on television on Fox News. Her exclusive firm specializes in servicing clients in the metropolitan New York and Boston areas and fees are in the range of $200 per hour.
If you do not have unlimited resources and money is an issue, a place such as the Grace Institute may be for you. The Grace Institute is located in New York City and offers free courses in business skills and etiquette to a wide variety of qualified applicants in the New York area. The Institute was started in 1897 by W.R. Grace, two time mayor of New York as a tuition-free non-sectarian educational and vocational school for underserved women. Additional information and criteria for admission is available at their website, www.graceinstitute.org.
Another organization used by businesses is the Executive Protocol Group, who offers on site seminars in every aspect of business etiquette, ranging from appropriate attire to meeting skills to general social skills. The company was founded in Richmond, Virginia by Paul Siddle in 1999, who stated, “In the business world, there are two kinds of classes -first class and no class. You must develop the first or, you will have to live with the second!”. Executive Protocol Group opened a second office in Naples, Florida, in 2002, and services a wide variety of companies across the United States.
To quote the infamous Judith Martin, a/k/a, Miss Manners, “We are born charming, fresh and spontaneous and must be civilized before we are fit to participate in society.” Perhaps if we get started now, we will be ready for National Courtesy Month in September!