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Meet Our Newest Writer: Etiquette Consultant Beth Taber

Meet Our Newest Writer: Etiquette Consultant Beth Taber

Beth Strong Taber

“There are hundreds of languages in the world, but a smile speaks them all.” – Anonymous

When you hear the word “etiquette”, do you conjure up visions of stuffy, condescending characters behaving in antiquated ways, not particularly appropriate to the way you see life being lived today? Maybe your vision comes complete with a black and white movie set? I can relate, yet I want to banish that image from your mind and offer a new and more current version for you to embrace; one that promotes the idea that you can be a person of this new millennium who can utilize the latest technology, speak with the latest vocabulary, wear the most current styles; simultaneously behaving with the utmost respect for yourself and others. This “respectful” behavior is rooted in manners and social protocol long-ago established and that some consider a dying art. I’m here to say, though (along with many others in this field), that civility and good manners are what the world needs more of today.

My name is Beth Strong Taber and, among other roles, I’m an etiquette consultant…sounds like the beginnings of a confession; and so it is, in a way. I’m also a “real” person who has been known to use an epithet or two (okay – so, maybe more than two) and who prides herself on being someone who knows how to behave correctly in social and business situations, while also maintaining a very “everyday” personality at other times. Allow me to explain: time with family and friends is never an excuse to completely relinquish manners and respectful habits, but the casual nature of these occasions requires that we loosen up and “be ourselves” – which I admit that I usually do with gusto! There is a time and place for raucous laughter, joke telling and general silliness that can and should be enjoyed even by the most refined among us. I don’t trust anyone that can’t let their hair down and enjoy a good old laugh-til-you-cry moment! My belief is that it is completely possible to be a “real” person and still have the ability to maintain proper decorum and respectful behavior when situations dictate – socially and professionally.

In a wonderfully rewarding career with Delta Air Lines, I held positions in In-Flight Service and management. I currently work in the information management industry, as well as serving as an etiquette consultant in the Boston area.

My extensive public-contact experience provided me a unique perspective on social behavior and served to reinforce my desire to promote goodwill and courtesy through personal example, as well as consulting. Because I grew up in an area of the country where proper behavior was considered a true art form and where many young children were taught social and dining manners at after-school programs and the like, I knew that I had the basics. I also felt that I could benefit from a more enhanced comprehension, and so chose to pursue a certificate in social and dining etiquette as an adult. This led me to the prestigious Protocol School of Washington, which was presided over, at the time, by Ms. Dorothea Johnson. I understood that “I didn’t know what I didn’t know” and wanted to help myself, as well as others, understand the finer aspects of social, dining and business protocol.

I am also the author of A Little Kinder Than Necessary: A Collection of Character-Building Secrets, now in its fourth printing, and dedicated to my three (amazingly polite) children. You’ll probably notice a pattern here…my obvious interest lay in learning and teaching behaviors that would enhance positive interaction between ourselves and others. I have always abhorred rude behavior and strived to be kind to others at all times, in all situations. I can honestly say that this approach of kindness and civility usually results in being treated with the same.

My desire is for all people to learn the art of treating themselves and those around them with kindness and respect; to remember that it’s really about the basics; that “please”, “thank you” and a warm smile are free “investments” we make in ourselves and each other. Kindness is, indeed, contagious.

I will be checking in with you each month to present a variety of topics related specifically to business etiquette for admins and welcome your questions and comments!

Read Beth’s First Column: Top 5 Business Manners that Truly Matter


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