How I became an etiquette consultant

When I decided to become an etiquette consultant in 2009 I choose to attend The Etiquette Institute based in St. Louis, MO. for my training and certification. I had done quite a bit of research about the various institutions that offer etiquette consultant training and The Etiquette Institute seemed like the best fit. I couldn’t have made a better choice because in addition to learning everything I needed to know to teach etiquette, the owner and instructor, Maria Everding, became a wonderful mentor and friend.

In the training, Maria was very engaging and told us many funny stories about her daughter, her career and etiquette faux pas she had witnessed. My favorite part of the training was the seven-course dinner we enjoyed while learning everything about dining etiquette and table manners. I learned what an amuse-bouche is. The French word translated means to amuse your mouth. It’s a complimentary single bite hors d’oeuvre of sorts chosen by the chef to prepare you for the meal and the chef’s style. Maria plied us with all sorts of interesting facts. During the dinner one of my fellow students was sipping her cocktail through the stir stick and Maria very kindly stated that the stir stick is just that. It’s not meant to be used as a straw. Who knew? The training was a lot of fun and I loved learning the ins and outs of everything etiquette.

When I started my business, Maria was always available to me and patiently answered the multitude of newbie questions I had. She continued to be there for me when the occasional question would pop up or when I wanted to run an idea by her. Maria was also not afraid to speak her mind and tell me when she thought I was off track with my etiquette advice. I remember a time when I used the word “gals” in my newsletter and she chided me for referring to women in such an informal way. While I didn’t always agree with Maria, I appreciated that she cared and was always supportive. And she was an inspiration to me. I attended The Etiquette Institute when Maria was in her mid 60s and I remember marveling at how young, vibrant and sassy she was. (Yes, etiquette consultants can be sassy!) Of course I was a lot younger then and 66 seemed so old. Oh how things have changed as I approach the big 60 milestone birthday. But I digress. Through the years, Maria remained active and full of vim and vigor. At age 78, she finally decided to retire and sold her business to the very capable O. Ray Angle who had partnered with Maria on many events and client trainings. While I was sorry to see Maria let go of The Etiquette Institute, Ray has taken the reins of this fine institution and has hit the ground running. Maria and I remain friends and have stayed in touch. She will always be my mentor.

The Etiquette Institute is in good hands. Ray has many creative ideas and is already offering several train the trainer dates for anyone who would like to become certified as an etiquette consultant. Based in Spokane, Wash., (just across the state from me in Seattle), he will be offering trainings in other cities throughout the country including St. Louis, MO., Chapel Hill, N.C. and Tampa, Fla.

If you’ve ever thought of becoming an etiquette consultant, whether for your job or as a business owner, I highly recommend attending The Etiquette Institute. You’ll learn how to teach social, business and dining etiquette and will be poised to take your career to the next or new level. I have loved being an etiquette consultant and couldn’t have had such a successful business if it hadn’t been for Maria Everding and The Etiquette Institute. I know the same will be true with Ray at the helm of this wonderful organization.

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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 >>

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