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lessons in etiquette

lessons in etiquette

Etiquette Refresher: Knives + Forks


Good table manners are a necessity for everyone and there are some simple rules to remember when using cutlery.  In this post we review the simple do’s and don’t when using a knife and fork in Australia.

A knife should not be held like a pencil, rather it should be held with the end of the handle touching the centre of the palm of your hand.  Your thumb should extend down one side of the handle with the index finger pointing down the back but never touching the actual blade.  Your other three fingers should curl naturally around.

When a fork is used without a knife the tines (prongs) should always point upwards.  The fork should be held near the top of the handle, resting on the middle finger and supported by the outer fingers.  Left-handed people hold it in their left hand, while right-handed people should transfer it from the left side of their plate to their right hand.

Australian’s have adopted the British system of only using both the knife and fork together for the main course.  The knife, only required when cutting.  When used together, the knife cuts the food and is used to push the food onto the prongs of the fork, not onto the scooped side.

When resting cutlery between conversation, the knife and fork should be crossed on the plate with the fork over the knife and the prongs pointing down. When finished eating, place the knife and fork together with the prongs of the fork facing upwards and the blade of the knife facing the fork.

Related Posts:
Etiquette Refresher: How to eat soup
Dining Out Etiquette
My top 5 secrets to weight control

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lessons in etiquette

Q&A No. 1: Seating a Lady


Anna recently asked:
Does a lady enter a dining chair from the right or left side of the chair?

A socially savvy gentleman knows that his date is always seated to his right.  The same applies to casual situations and especially formal where the lady enters the dining chair to the right side.  When all the women at the table are seated, the men sit down.

Need an etiquette question answered?

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lessons in etiquette

Test Your Etiquette Knowledge!


(Hands up for those who pass!)

Is it appropriate to place your elbows on the table when there is no food in front of you? Should thank you notes should be sent within 24 hours? In a business introduction, should a woman should wait for the man to extend his hand?
Test your etiquette awarness today, and take this 14 question test – and find the answers!

In the coming post, we will go into more depth on if, and why these answers are correct.

HM Queen Margrethe , HRH Prince Henrik, HRH Prince Frederick, & HRH Princess Mary on board the Dannebrog

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lessons in etiquette

Starting a Conversation


The art of conversation takes practice, and it’s not as hard as one may think. It will take knowledge, patience and time, but you can learn to relax and enjoy a great conversation.  Here’s a list some helpful hints on how to become a great conversationalist.

Be well versed on current events.  Make it your mission to be a generalist. Read local and national newspapers and magazines. Be up-to-date on current events in your country and around the world.

Questions?  People loved to be asked questions. Ask people for their opinions, ask what they think of various topics. Add what your opinion is; but steer clear of controversial topics.

Listen well.  This is a very important part of conversation. A good conversationalist is interested in what the other has to say, and can listen well. Pay attention to what is being said. Conversation happens in turns, each person taking a turn to listen, and then a turn to listen or respond.

Going to an Event.  Before you go to an event, think of a few questions you can ask to start a conversation. When you arrive at your hosts home, take a look around and inside their home, see what may be their interests. If your hosts, for example are interested in art, you most likely will see many paintings or artistic features displayed around the home.

Know when the conversation is over.  Even the best conversations eventually run out of steam. Shake hands with the other person, and be sure to tell them that you’ve greatly enjoyed talking with them. Ending a conversation on a positive note, will leave a good impression, and likely bring them back later!

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lessons in etiquette

Speech Etiquette


Speaking in public can be a challenging experience for many of us.  Below are some etiquette tips for making a speech at a public event go smoothly and present the topic with ease and confidence.

Step 1: Approach the podium confidently and put your notes in a place where you can easily see them.

Step 2: Stand up straight with your feet shoulder-width apart to help you keep your balance. Look at the audience, pause and then begin speaking. If there is no microphone, project from your diaphragm, not your throat.

Step 3: Set the tone in your introduction with appropriate facial expressions, diction and a specific mood. Unless you are a comedian, do not open with a joke. Instead, open with a story – everybody loves stories.

Step 4: Make eye contact with people in different parts of the audience, including the back row.

Step 5: Pause briefly after you state your key points to allow the audience time to absorb the information. Use natural and relaxed hand gestures and facial expressions to emphasise certain points.

Step 6: Pronounce your words clearly and vary your rate, pitch and volume to keep your delivery lively.

Step 7: Refresh your memory by periodically glancing at your notes, but avoid reading from your notes directly.

Step 8: Close your speech by thanking the audience and then confidently exit the stage.


  • Stick with what you know
  • Never talk about something that is unfamiliar to you
  • Eliminate Unnecessary Speech Fillers
  • Fillers are words and phrases such as “umm,” “well,” “it is sort-a-like,” “it’s kind-a like.” These take away from the message you want to convey. Some of the words and phrases to eliminate include: “you know,” “I think,” “I’m sorry,” “just,” “but,” “should,” “like,” “um,” and “a,” etc.
  • Pace Yourself
  • Do not talk too fast or too slow. If you stumble on a word it’s a sign you should slow down.
  • Prepare Clear Notes
  • If you are hand writing your notes make them easy to read by writing them in large neat letters

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lessons in etiquette

Sneezing Tip


Here is a simple and quiet method to prevent sneezing. There are several methods; but I’ve found this one to work the best.

When you feel a sneeze coming on, gently tickle the roof of your mouth with the tip of your tongue. Continue this until the urge to sneeze dissapates. (5-10 sec.)

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lessons in etiquette

What is Etiquette?



Etiquette in simple terms is good manners. Just like saying, “Thank You”, “Please”, and “Your Welcome”, gives people the hint that are well mannered.

I also think that etiquette goes deeper than saying “thank you” and “please”. For a lady, it is poise and elegance, like sitting up straight, thinking before you speak ect., but in this post we are going to give you some basic hints and tips on how to become well mannered. By using these simple hints in your every day life, it will become easier and will soon become a habit, to use manners.

If you follow these simple tips, you will soon realize what a difference it makes, both how you act and how much people will respond back to you!

  • Think before you speak, this is especially helpful if you are more prone to saying the wrong things.
  • Respect your elders, listen and learn from them.
  • Use simple terms, like “You’re Welcome” and “Thank You”. People, who don’t have manners, don’t use these words.
  • Always speak highly of others, don’t try to cut people down, when you are speaking.
  • Pay attention to your posture in public, always sit with your shoulders back and stand with your feet together. Act as if you have some class.
  • A warm way of greeting someone is “Hello, How are you?” or “Good Evening/Good Morning”
  • Don’t swear! Eventually you will learn that bad words are not appropriate and avoid using them.
  • Do not cut people off when they are speaking. Wait till they are finished, and then add your comment.
  • Always speak highly of your parents. This show that you respect them, because they are your parents and also because they are older than you.
  • Be ready to open doors for people, and always offer for people to go first. Most people will accept your invitation, but if they don’t – don’t argue. Just politely accept and go first.
  • When you are talking on the phone, be sure to pause once in a while, in order to allow the other person some time to speak.
  • Show respect to your parents! They’ll be overjoyed that their family is speaking to them with respect, for respect shows that you have good manners.
  • One of the easiest ways to show that you are well mannered is to be silent and only to talk when you have something important to say. This adds weight to your words.
  • Start your day off by smiling and being happy! Treat everyone you come across with respect. Having manners doesn’t mean being sour. Be happy and laugh often.
  • Some people feel that being “mannered” is “fake” or inauthentic. Instead, realize that manners are social conventions that make interactions easier and more pleasant. Not every interaction is an opportunity to correct others or set them straight.

Good manners will never go out of style, so practice having good manners. It can only help you in the long run.

Try using manners in your everyday life, at work, in school, in the family, even when driving. People do notice good manners, so don’t be afraid to use these hints and tips!

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lessons in etiquette

The Definition of Etiquette


One of the reasons why ‘etiquette’ seems a severe word is because it has so often been a means of separating people instead of bringing them together. It smacks of snobbery, a mark of insecurity. So I thought it would be appropriate at this time, to find the real definitions of the word etiquette and other related ones also.

Etiquette  noun

the customary code of polite behaviour in society or among members of a particular profession or group.

ORIGIN — mid 18th century: from French ‘etiquette list of ceremonial observances of a court’

Deportment  noun

a persons behaviour or manners

ORIGIN — early 17th century: from French de’portment, from the verb d’eporter


simple elegance or refinement of movement

ORIGIN — Middle English: via Old French from Latin gratia, from gratus ‘pleasing, thankful’

Poise  noun

graceful and elegant bearing in person; composure and dignity of manner

ORIGIN — from Old French pois, peis

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