I’d say I’ve got basic etiquette down pat. I hold down the noise, am quick to offer a word of thanks and chew with my mouth closed.
And though there are things I don’t quite see the point of paying particular attention to, it doesn’t mean I’m not curious about how I’d fare in a situation that calls for some high society etiquette, so I got in touch with Etiquette & Image International.
Agnes Koh, Founder and Director of the school, was the trainer for my one-on-one class. She was in the hospitality industry before delving into etiquette and image coaching so, suffice to say, she knows enough about decorum.
“Deportment—the way a person behaves, stands, and walks—creates inward energy. It tells people you’re ready for communication,” she says. Fair point.
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So how would I fare in a high society setting?
“You’d be more comfortable with a few more years of practice,” said Agnes. “I could see a transformation when you changed into a formal dress. This is evidence that when you look good, you feel good.”
Ultimately, Agnes believes that etiquette is a form of elevated “niceness”. It allows you to show more consideration of others, which could do you a lot more favours than you expect.
“People open doors for you when you show kindness, courtesy and good behaviourial traits,” she said.
Thanks to the class, I’ve been walking and sitting better, and I’m also more mindful of my etiquette when I’m dining out. But until a hoard of photographers surround me as I get into a car, I’ll stick to doing that the comfortable way.
Etiquette & Image International is located at the IMM Building. For more information, visit their website here.
A version of this article first appeared in CLEO July 2017.