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MANNERS PLEASE! Etiquette Makes a Comeback... an Interview With Deborah King, AICI, CIP, 3/01/2009
Etiquette Makes a Comeback... an Interview With Deborah King
by Catherine Schuller

For many of my fellow readers, we have gone through and continue to go through many permutations and transformations over the past few years.  But, one thing remains constant: my need to communicate, support and encourage women as we make our way on our mutual gender journey. 

This past summer, twenty fellow image consultants from the organization AICI (Association of Image Consultants International) of which I am a professional member got together and decided to co-author a "group book." With each of us being expert in our particular fields under the umbrella of image consulting, we divided up the chapters amongst us and off we went to write, edit and publish "IMAGE POWER: Everything you Need to Look Your Best."  For the first time in 20 years, I was not asked to do the chapter on plus size! Rather, with my work centering on diabetes and my newfound charity association as Image and Style Director of DIVABETIC, I gave voice to how image impacts healthy self-care with my 'Don't Get Down, Get Diva' chapter.  The book-writing project also enabled me to interface with other image consultants and learn about their various interests and specialties.  One of the authors, Deborah King, President of Final Touch Finishing School, Inc., is an etiquette expert and through her I was delighted to be reawakened to the joys of etiquette and the importance of civility, gentility, manners and the importance of good "social skills."
 
It dawned on me that plus models might be interested in eavesdropping on an interview I did with Deborah as her chapter on Etiquette is fascinating and a good reminder of what it takes to be in control not only of one's appearance but social behavior.

Catherine:  Why is etiquette important?  Why did it get such a bad name over the past few decades?  Was it always important even though we didn't care to teach or stress its significance?
 
Deborah:  Etiquette deals with fundamental rules of social interaction. When a person understands these rules, they enjoy a greater level of confidence and are able to move from informal to formal situations with ease.  Many think etiquette is boring, dated and stiff, and in truth, nothing could be further from the truth.  The rules, or guidelines, of etiquette provide the map for living with civility. Those who embrace civility discover a greater level of emotional, relational and physical health.  As our society continues to change, so does etiquette. Since about the 70's we have seen a relaxed attitude toward etiquette and this has left many not knowing many basic fundamentals of social skills. The interesting thing is, that no one tells you when you flunk social skills; you simply lose opportunities. Good manners will open doors to you that money, position, power, an Ivy League education, any prejudice dress size ever will.
 
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