Etiquette

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Chairing a Meeting

Chairing a Meeting

The Quick and Essential Guide
edition:Paperback
also available: Paperback
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The Pocket Butler's Guide to Travel

The Pocket Butler's Guide to Travel

Essential Advice for Every Traveller, from Planning and Packing to Making the Most of Your Trip
edition:Hardcover
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ENJOYING YOUR HOTEL
I prefer to stay in hotels when possible, and what follows are my tips for making the most of your hotel and its amenities. I like to spend a few minutes first unpacking my suitcase, setting up my toiletries in the bathroom and figuring out how the TV and thermostat work. Once I’ve familiarized myself with my new surroundings, I can truly relax.

Securing the Best Room
Not all hotel rooms are created equal. When your objective is to get the best hotel room available, or possibly an upgrade, keep these tips in mind. And whatever happens, smile and be nice!

   • Join the hotel’s loyalty program to collect points towards upgrades and other benefits. Elite-status members get preferential treatment.
   • Call the hotel directly to book your reservation. Often reservations booked through an online discount site get lower priority and are less likely to be assigned the best rooms.
   • When booking your reservation, request a room that is away from the elevators, ice machines and other noisy, high-traffic areas.
   • Check in early while room selection is good.
   • Inspect the room before you unpack. If you need to change rooms, make the request as soon as possible.

Changing Rooms
If you do need to change rooms, be friendly, respectful and courteous when you are making the request. Have a reasonable explanation, and be specific with details: noise, odd smells or unsuitable bed configurations are reasonable reasons to request a change. Speak with the front desk staff, who will handle your request. Be calm and patient, and manage your expectations: the hotel will be working under the constraints of availability.

Concierge
The concierge is the hotel’s oracle, knower of all things, and an invaluable resource. The job of the concierge is to make sure hotel guests are well looked after. Among other things, they will happily make reservations, secure tickets, book transportation or offer sightseeing and dining suggestions. Don’t be shy to make unusual requests, as long as they are reasonable and legal. If you can, give the concierge some notice when making your request to increase the likelihood of success.

Butler’s Tip:
Remember to thank the concierge and tip to show your appreciation. Tip well if they have gone above and beyond. I prefer to tip with each request rather than at the end of my stay.

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The Inviting Life

The Inviting Life

An Inspirational Guide to Homemaking, Hosting and Opening the Door to Happiness
edition:Hardcover
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A Digestif

It’s a given that when we host a party, or attend one, we’re expected to put our best face forward: we’re at ease, we look good, we’re smiling and welcoming, we’re showing genuine interest in other people’s comfort, and we’re being generous and helpful. It’s not realistic to maintain these levels of grace and charm around the clock, day in and day out, but it isn’t a bad notion to have that ideal in our minds as a guide and at least to strive for that, not just at a black-tie event or a community barbeque, but everywhere—at the office, on public transport, in an overcrowded shopping mall. For one thing, it’s a good way to snap ourselves out of being grouch almighty or from acting like a sulky opera heroine whenever we find ourselves in situations that push our buttons, say in a traffic jam or dealing with a customer-service rep over the telephone.

I suppose every era has the same complaint (at least somewhere on the planet), but I have to say that in my lifetime, the world has never felt more uncivil or full of hatred, violence, and fear. The Middle East is a disaster; much of Africa is in strife; Europe is straining at the seams; the states of America feel about as united as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle spilled out of their box onto the floor; the World Wide Web is a perpetual warzone of differing opinions and standards of behaviour. Not that anyone ever said life was all roses, the world one giant, fragrant garden of justice and kindness. Evil is always with us, jerks always among us, and every era has its reasons for getting up in arms.

Thomas Hobbes famously wrote, “No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” If you want to get depressed, it doesn’t take much. It’s overwhelming, too, because when the world is in so much trouble all at once, those of us who care can feel powerless and wonder how we can begin to try to fix it.

I’m hoping that the answer is “little by little.” Our tiny, so-called insignificant daily acts—helping someone across the street, watering a flower, making a good soup—are cracks in the gloom that let in light. The more rays we allow through, perhaps the sooner the skies may clear. “That best portion of a man’s life, his little nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and love,” as Wordsworth phrased it, is, at the end of the day, what’s at the heart of hosting and making home.
These are the thoughts and actions that can flip the coin from hostility to hospitality side up. These oft-dismissed activities in fact can be important leadership roles, major civilizing forces vital to the health of society and an essential place to start taking back power and changing the world.

Ten Ways to Make Life More Inviting Right Now
1. Get in touch with someone you haven’t seen in a while and find out how they are (especially if it’s to heal an old wound).
2. Cook something delicious and invite someone over to eat it, even if it’s just a baked potato.
3. Clean something dirty, even if it’s just a doorknob.
4. Fix something broken, even if it’s just a fingernail.
5. Make something ugly or banal into something beautiful, even if it’s just your thoughts.
6. Say something nice, even if it’s just a whisper to yourself.
7. Do something kind, even if it’s just to smile at a stranger.
8. Give a thoughtful gift, even if it’s just a wildflower.
9. Lend a hand, even if it’s just holding open a door.
10. Write down ten more ways to make life inviting, and start making them happen right now.

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The Butler Speaks

The Butler Speaks

A Return to Proper Etiquette, Stylish Entertaining, and the Art of Good Housekeeping
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
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The Pocket Butler

The Pocket Butler

A Compact Guide to Modern Manners, Business Etiquette and Everyday Entertaining
edition:Hardcover
tagged : etiquette
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