To build rapport, relationships and to connect with customers, co-workers family and friends it’s important to watch what you say and how you say it.


Poor conversation skills can derail teams, cause leaders to lose respect, destroy customer relationships, lose sales, and demolish friendships. Here are 12 things to avoid in your conversations.


Gossiping – By constantly gossiping about others you lose trust and respect.


Talking to long about yourself- A good conversation is a 2 way street. By asking open ended questions and showing interest in others they will show interest in you. Remember the #1 key to popularity is to be ‘interested, not just interesting.’


Talking about Sex, Politics and Religion – Don’t assume that everyone has the same opinion about everything that you do. Talking about these can make others feel uncomfortable and can cause them to reject you or your ideas.


Interrupting – When you interrupt others sensitivity, rapport and commitment are killed.


Bragging- (This is different from promoting your achievements).It’s annoying to many people if you constantly talk about all the great things you have done, name drop and show one-upmanship.


Being Critical of Others who have Different Opinions – Everyone was raised differently, comes from different backgrounds and sees the world from their perspective. This is a sure way to turn people away

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Arguing – The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.


Ingratitude – Always show appreciation for what others say or do. Even if they have some concern about you, thank them for sharing that with you. If you want to be appreciated, show appreciation.


Using Unfamiliar Terminology- If people don’t understand what you are talking about they will lose interest in the conversation. Get rid of jargon and your ‘million dollar’ words and stick to the ‘fifty cent’ words that everyone understands.


Not Listening – You have 2 ears and one mouth. People love people who listen to them.


Complaining – People like others who are in good spirits. People avoid constant complainers. Also watch out about talking about illness or an operation in detail.


Not Admitting Mistakes – The six most important words in the English language, “I admit I made a mistake.” If you make an error always apologize.



To make all of your conversations positive, the next time you greet someone treat them as if they are your best friend that

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you have not seen in years. You want everyone to feel good about themselves after they talked to you!

Do Manners Matter?

Why do manners matter? Simply because companies whose employees do not subscribe to displaying common courtesy experience more employee turnover, more complaints to the EEOC and more time spent on paperwork related to complaint issues. On an individual level, when you don’t use manners and common courtesy, you are showing a lack of consideration and professionalism. People will make negative judgments about you

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regardless of your abilities. Our training programs provide guidelines for common business etiquette, how to show respect for yourself and others, how to establish positive connections with anyone, and how to choose polite and positive responses to rude behavior. Wouldn’t you want to be known as the classy one?

New Trend in Offices? No Offices? No Cubicles? No Doors?

Have you heard that newest style of office is the No Office? No cubicles, no doors. Instead employees will have lockers for their things and they will grab a chair at a table or desk – like a library and share space with their fellow employees. Best “seats in the room” are first- come- first- grabbed. A whole new etiquette to conform to for experts like me to outline for clients. Do you think this will fly in today’s office? How about tomorrow’s?

I posed this question on my FACEBOOK page and these are some of the responses I received:

Napkin Etiquette Primer

Napkin folds on - the Lett Group

A variety of common napkin folds

The proper way to handle your napkin at the table goes beyond what an expert tells you is so.  It goes to Common Sense and Respect.  To simply follow the "rules" is silly if you don't understand the "why" of the rule.

When I sit down at the table, do I have to wait until the host puts their napkin on their lap before I do?

​The answer to when do you put your napkin on your lap depends upon the situation.  If you are at someone's home, you wait until the host or hostess puts their napkin on their lap or invites you to do the same.  This is a sign of respect.  The same goes for when you are invited to a meal in a restaurant by a host.  However, if  you are at a table at a meal without a designated host, you should put your napkin in your lap as soon as you sit down.

If you know that Grace will be said before the meal, the napkin waits on the table until Grace is finished and then it goes on your lap.​

Where do I put my napkin when I have to leave the table during a meal and will return?

There seems to be some controversy about whether you leave your napkin in your chair, lightly folded or put it on the left of your plate on the table.  Plus, there are those who think it doesn't matter where you put it.  But it does.  There is a silent service code that servers follow to make sure your meal goes the way it should.  The serving staff knows that if the napkins are off the table and in the laps of the diners that the meal has begun. Likewise, if the napkin is back on the table (to the left of the plate in typical dining circumstance and to the right for formal dining) then the diner has finished their meal and is not returning.  If the napkin is left on the chair, either on the arm or seat, the indication is that the diner will return and not to remove their plate.  Even if there is food left on the plate, the server will still assume the meal is over for that diner if their napkin is back on the table.  

But you say, the napkin will dirty the chair and why would you want to do that?  This is where you, the diner, have to actually look at your napkin before you leave it, and fold it lightly making sure the soiled part doesn't touch the chair seat.  If someone tells you that it is gross to use a napkin that has been where your bottom has been, the best response is to tell them that your clothes are on and your bottom is not actually exposed to the material of the napkin.

New Cell Phone Rules Reviewed by the FAA, The Lett Group - Business Etiquette & International Protocol ExpertsThe FAA has decided to review their rules about cell phones and other electronic devices being allowed to be turned on during take off, landing as well as during flights.
Do you believe that the flying public will be gracious about using them in a non-disturbing way? We would like to read your comments.