It’s all in the details

One of the things I love, and sometimes am overwhelmed by, is etiquette is all about the details. When I’m giving a training, on say dining etiquette, I always get questions about the littlest things such as “If I take something like an olive pit out of my mouth where do I put it?” It can sometimes seem silly to care about such seemingly little details, but when it makes you and others around you more comfortable those details matter.

Last week I attended a lunch presentation where those details were overlooked and they made for a somewhat uncomfortable situation.

The presenter was properly introduced by one of the organization’s board members. But, when the presenter was starting to wrap up, the introducer stood up and hovered near him. I could see the presenter felt he needed to hurry because of the introducer’s presence. It was a little awkward that the introducer stood so near to the presenter while he was still talking.

The presenter then ended his presentation. The introducer thanked him then immediately turned to the presenter while still on the “stage” and started to talk to him. The introducer had his back to the audience and obscured the view of the presenter as he talked to him. I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t know what they were talking about and whether there was more to the presentation or if it was over. Finally, someone stood up and said the meeting was over.

What went wrong here? While it’s OK for the introducer or MC to subtly signal to the presenter that the time is up, it was a bit rude for the introducer to stand so near the presenter while he was still talking. I could see doing this if the presenter was way over time, but the presenter was wrapping up on time.

Second, the stage is somewhat of a sacred space. The introducer should have let the audience applaud for the presenter, state the meeting was over, then move the conversation off the stage.

All little details, but, they show respect for the presenter and the audience. And, respect and courtesy are what it’s all about.

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Arden Clise is founder and president of Clise Etiquette. Her love for business etiquette began in previous jobs when she was frequently asked for etiquette, public speaking and business attire advice by executives and board members. The passion for etiquette took hold and compelled Arden to start a consulting business to help others. Read more >>


  1. Bill Dorman on April 30, 2011 at 2:50 pm

    Yes, it is all in the details……..and this is from not a detail person…:)

    A lot of etiquette is just common sense but most people are not comfortable in social settings w/ strangers, public speaking, eating properly etc (btw, I know the b & d trick for bread and drink….).

    Now if we all had proper etiquette, we would never have any stories to tell afterwards, would we?

    My sons when they were young went through Cotillion and it was so funny to see how they struggled w/ etiquette; but they did learn something.

    Thanks again for stopping by my house and this ol’ small town southern boy can always use some etiguette so I’ll be subscribing to your blog.

    Good to see you.

  2. Arden Clise on May 2, 2011 at 10:07 am

    Hello Bill,

    Thank you for visiting and for your comment. I bet having been raised in the South you had more exposure to practicing good etiquette. We’re kind of casual in the West.

    And you’re right, a lot of etiquette is common sense, but as they say, common sense isn’t always so common.

    Thanks for subscribing to my blog.

  3. Arden, thank you for reminding us that it’s the little things that matter! I seem to recall that there are two versions of the quote: The devil is in the details, and God is in the details… and depending on our relationship with details, we probably experience both, LOL!

  4. Arden Clise on May 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Thanks for commenting Beth. True, details can be devilish or Godly.

    Details or not, it’s all about courtesy and respect. Both are traits that you show regularly.

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