I love books about etiquette – and this week I found a book I bought about 10 years ago called “The Fabulous Girl’s Guide to Decorum” by Kim Izzo and Ceri Marsh.
You must have heard of Holly Golightly? Audrey Hepburn’s character from Breakfast at Tiffany’s – well this book features centres it’s “guide” around this fabulous character and the tips around how to throw the perfect dinner party, how to be stylish, advice on workplace etiquette – it’s a fun and modern advice on good manners.
So over the next few weeks, I thought I would provide highlights from this book around the various subjects, to pass on some of Kim’s and Ceri’s great work.
THE WORK PLACE:
You are what you wear!
“One of the keys to the Fabulous Girl’s (FG) success is her sense of style. Of course she is intellectually or financially brilliant – or both – but what we’re talking about here is what makes the FG succeed beyond other smart women. She knows how to dress, and while she may not be rich (yet), the FG simply loves clothes.”
“An FG knows that great style commands respect from employers and colleagues: it reads as self-respect. Employers are impressed when a staff member makes an effort with her appearance, as it demonstrates that she cares about the work she does and that she was to be a good representative of her company.”
“The way you dress can definitely influence your success at work. When your boss is trying to decide between you and the smart but sloppy woman next to you for that management promotion, guess who gets the job? Dress for the job you wish was yours”
“These are those, often in authority, who will assume that whatever it is they are doing is far more important that what you are discussion on the the telephone. These people will stand over you and eavesdrop, smiling all the while, pretending to be cool with your being on the phone when in fact they are not. They are assuming (often rightly) that it’s a personal call and that this means they have a right to hover. They do not. You may have to put your friend on hold ad ash the hoverer to leave, or turn ou back to the hoverer and hope he or she takes the hint. If you have an urgent message you need to get to someone who is on the phone, do not hover: write it down on a Post-it note and stick it in front of them. Then go back to your own space. The person will come to talk to you – after the phone call.”
Don’t hate me because I’m young
“Many young girls are taught that older women broke through all sorts of barriers to make life better for the next generation. While this may be true, don’t expect a lot of help out in the real world, honey. Older women had to do much clawing to get to where they are; they had to ignore their feelings of guilt and ‘niceness’ to be successes. So when the FG enters the workplace and expects mentoring, it may be more than her elders can take and it’s possible that you will get the cold shoulder. They may see you as a threat or be irritated by hoe much easier your lot is as a young woman today. You may have to work very hard to win these ladies’ trust.”
Oops, I’m now your boss!
“Even though you really wanted the position, it can be slightly traumatic to become the manager for the first time. If you’ve always been part of a team, it’s difficult to suddenly be captain. But if you’re going to take the job, then you must behave like a boss. Think about the great – and the terrible (!!) – managers you’ve had in the past and about their style of governing. The best leaders are clear about what they want and expect from staff. Let people know whey you need them to do and don’t avoid letting them know when they aren’t doing their jobs correctly.”
“Being witty and stylish at work often means that the FG becomes chummy with colleagues. This his natural and advantageous, but when you get that promotion and become the boss, feelings and expectations alter drastically. To smooth this change over, you will need to add extra honey to your already stellar vocabulary. When assigning tasks to your former equals, ask them gently: ‘Would you mind terribly getting that report in tomorrow?'”
“Not making an acute change in your behaviour will reassure colleagues that you’re the same old, clever you, but now you just need to get them to do stiff. They’ll do it because you are you.”
Well, I hope you enjoyed those few extracts, next time I will be looking through the subject of SOCIETY
If you have enjoyed reading this post and you would like to know more about the book, then simply click here.