Etiquette & Manners Classes

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Social etiquette program for teens

May 2011

I am looking for Social Etiquete Teen Program in Bay Area. My daughter is 17. She is happy to join a group setting workshop. Do any of you know if there is one in this coming summer? Thanks! Karen

Syndi Seid Advanced Etiquette Syndi Seid taught an etiquette course for my daughter's entire middle school class. At the time I wasn't sure that the kids were old enough to appreciate etiquette, but at university and especially in her junior year abroad, what she learned from the class gave her confidence. Lynn

This answers both the ballroom dancing AND the social ettiquete questions...Cynthia Glinka has a great program - Manners in Motion - Kristen

Etiquette training for 26-year-old

Nov 2008

My 26-year-old niece was brought up in an unusually sheltered environment by parents who neither taught nor modeled basic personal hygiene and social skills. She's finally struck out on her own, moving out of the house and getting her first full-time job, but is prevented from further progress because of her ignorance in every area. She's a fairly bright, outgoing, warm-hearted and generous girl, but behaves like a 14-year-old raised in the proverbial barn. I want very much to help her, and she's aware of her limitations and determined to overcome them. What she needs is an Aunt Alicia like Gigi had in the film ''Gigi.'' She also needs classes like the old-fashioned ''charm school'' type. Does anyone know anyone or place who offers this kind of training? Concerned Auntie

A couple suggestions: I send your request to Linda Schneider. She is mostly a piano teacher who trains her students to the concert level. She used to do social graces classes for socially awkward 8-12 year olds (or so). I don't know if she could help, but maybe she could suggest someone else. Secondly, when I became a VP and was told that I would need to speak before hundreds of members, I enrolled in the Barbizon School for Modeling. I was also in my mid twenties and did it for the public speaking and grooming rather than thinking I would become a model. I actually did model for a couple years after that, so while I didn't look like a supermodel, they did pass on marketable skills. Please feel free to email me and I might be able to think of a few more resources for you. One might be to find someone who will roll play with her (be the prospective boss, the manager, the boyfriend's mother, etc.). My mother was a stickler for manners! kl

Try this out: The Etiquette School of Dana Point 29 St. Kitts Dana Point, California 92629 Tel: 949-493-6700 Email: enquiries [at] anon

Etiquette classes for 10 yr old girls

April 2007

Does anyone know of any etiquette, or ''social graces'' type classes or camps for girls? My daughter is 10 yrs. old. bright, has many friends, but a little shy especially when speaking with adults, and recently we attended an adult function where many people formally greeted her with an outstretched hand and a ''pleased to meet you.'' The first time this happened, I looked over at her and much to my chagrin, she had a half an asparagus spear sticking out of her mouth and a smile on her face as she nodded a ''yes''. Of course we then took a moment aside to refresh her on how to handle these situations and she did great. I guess I'm wondering if there's a fun way for her to get together with other kids to learn social etiquette, things that used to be learned in ''charm schools or finishing schools'', dining with proper utensils, the value of presenting yourself well in public etc. Yes, I can teach her and do, but if there's a way to have other kids involved that would be fun too. We live in Oakland Let your light shine!

I recently stumbled across the Girls Inc. website, which may have a program not exactly like what you're asking for, but similar, called Best Foot Forward: There's some social etiquette, but also it's for confidence and general skill-building, which of course is never a bad thing. I linked from Alameda's Girls Inc. site, but perhaps there's a branch in Oakland as well. serendipitous find

Worried about 6-year-old's manners

April 2006

My 6 yo daughter is very smart, active, and seems to be very happy. However, I'm a little worried about her social skills, being that I work full time, and can't really see her interactions with people during the day as much as I would like to, and can't assist and offer feedback and how-to's the way maybe other mothers can, I don't know if I'm able to help as much as she needs me to. I am noticing that she is really lacking in basic manners, and appropriate conversation. I realize she is only 6, and I don't expect Miss Manners, but when she wants a glass of milk, she walks up to her daddy or me and says, ''Milk!? Milk!?'' Occasionally somebody will compliment her or talk to her, and she tends to look away and not respond. It's obviously a lack of knowing how to respond, and if I were with her more, I could help more, but I can't afford to quit my job, and I don't think she is learning these things in school. Is there a class or playgroup out there focused on teaching basic social and conversation skills? Am I overly worried about this? Is her behavior age appropriate? Working Mom Worried

I have been told that my boys have good manners, so I will share what I have done. I tell my children that manners are not just rules to be followed, but how we show respect for other people. Chewing with your mouth closed isn't just some arbitrary rule created by stuck-up people, but a nice thing to do for other people who don't want to see your chewed-up food.

I try to model this respect by showing them how to have good manners at home. For example, if they demand ''Milk!'' I say, ''Can you ask me in a nice way, please?'' and they know to say, ''Could I have some milk, please?'' I try not to nag, but to show them how act in the world so that they will have a positive impact.

The big thing is that this has to be reinforced constantly. Just yesterday, to my chagrin, my nine-year-old pushed past an older woman in a doorway in his rush to get into a store. I took him aside immediately, told him that he needed to wait to allow her to pass first, or at very least say ''Excuse me.''

For social conversation, I talk about the importance of making eye contact, speaking clearly, and so on. Sometimes when an interaction hasn't gone well, we play-act it out later. The same goes for phone manners. I work outside of my home, too, so I'm not with my kids all of the time, but I reinforce this whenever I am with them. That's the most that you can do. Good luck, and good for you for noting the importance of this issue. Manners Mom

In answer to your question, ''is her behavior age-appropriate''? it doesn't sound too far off base to me. As for responding to compliments, or even adults saying hello, I've noticed most kids seem to have trouble. I quietly prod my daugther to respond to hello and say thank you to compliments, but I don't push, if it's not forthcoming and I'm not real worried when she's still pretty tongue-tied. I imagine compliments are a lot to process in the brain, what with the emotions they elicit.

As for ''milk, milk!'' I still get that, too, although my 6-yr-old daughter is quite capable of being articulate and polite. I think we all tend to drop our manners at home! So if it's annoying me that day, I ask her to ask me politely, or tell her i don't want to listen to baby-talk.

I think all that any of us, working or not, can do with manners, is teach our children to treat us, their parents, with respect and manners. I'm guessing once they get that message they'll apply it to others. Mary

Even though you work full time you must spend more time with your child than she would spend at a social skills/manners class, so you should be able to do the teaching yourself. The obvious time to teach these skills is at the dinner table. Does your family sit down to dinner together at night? If not, I strongly suggest that you find time to fit this into your schedule. Then you can model appropriate conversation, ask her open-ended questions about her day (what was the best thing about school, the worst thing about school, who did you sit next to at lunch, did anything funny happen during the day?), tell her about your day, ask her to pass the peas, engage her however you can. Help her learn to speak in complete sentences by rephrasing her requests appropriately: Oh, you'd like me to get you some milk? Do you want me to pass the peas? Would you like some ice cream for dessert? You are her most important teacher--don't pass this job on to a class, or expect her teachers at school to do it. If you engage her in conversation, model the kind of language you want her to use, show pleasure at your interactions (''It was really fun to talk to you about what you did at school today.'' ''Thanks for asking for milk in such a grown-up way.''), I would expect that you won't need to look for any class. Anonymous

Children's etiquette class?

July 2003

Hello -- can anyone recommend a local children's etiquette class or consultant? The only listing I saw was from 1999 and it was for someone in San Francisco. Thanks very much!

Laura Wolff gives etiquette classes for children. I'm sorry I don't have her number handy, but she is the principal of the lower school at Black Pine Circle school in Berkeley, so she shouldn't be hard to find. Good luck! Julie T

Either Walnut Creek Community Ctr or Lafayette CC run these regularly. anon

The Orinda Community Center often has an etiquette class called ''Tea With the Queen'' in their catalog. I imagine the fall course catalog will be coming out soon. You can call them at 925.254.2445. Claire

Class for adults to improve etiquette

July 2002

I am looking for a class or seminar for adults to help improve etiquette skills, project a more professional and self-confident image, etc... This is for personal and professional reasons. I have heard of image consultants, but I would rather do something in a group setting and for a reasonable cost (less than $500 or so). Has anyone done this type of thing? Did it help you? Can you recommend a person or business who conducts these types of classes in the east bay or San Francisco? Thank you. anonymous

Syndi Seid's Advanced Etiquette might fit the bill. She's a nice person (we both did Leadership San Francisco) AND has quite a following. Her Thursday July 18th class is $275 from 4-10pm and then she's got sort of a package deal for the Fall Enjoy! Deirdre

Syndi Seid's Advanced Etiquette company offers courses for adults, youth (ages 9-13) and teens (ages 14-18) in San Francisco at the Warwick Regis Hotel, 490 Geary Street near Union Square. Courses offered include: Become World-Class, Successful Entertaining & Formal Dining, Afternoon Tea & Etiquette, Teenage Etiquette Savvy, and Good Manners & Dining Etiquette. Syndi is a graduate of the pretigious The Protocol School of Washington and has appeared on ''Good Morning America'' and ''Party at Home'', a Home & garden tv series. While I haven't taken any of her courses, I met her through a national food and wine organization and am confident the courses would be interesting and professionally run. 2001 prices ranged from $75 to $245 per course. She can be reached at 415-346-3665. Denise

May 1999

A friend of mine, Syndi Seid, of Advanced Etiquette in San Francisco, was trained by a Washington DC protocol school and teaches older kids and adults dining table manners, how to make toasts, etc. She is very professional and offers classes in SF and the Peninsula. There was an article in the SF Chronicle about her several months ago. Her number is 415-346-3665.