Sunday, May 06, 2007

Queen's visit calls for etiquette and EQ

WP: Queen's visit prompts protocol fears - Highlights -

ETIQUETTE is a part of emotional intelligence, and so is the extension of it -- protocol. We all just got a big dose watching and enjoying the visit of Queen Elizabeth to the U. S. -- to see how her colony was doing!

In order to help with it all -- what to wear, what to say, and when, and how -- Buckingham Palace flew in about 15 advisors, including the queen's personal assistant and Buckingham Palace's deputy master of the household, for consultations. We were eager to please and they were eager to help us out with it.

I loved the photo of the British ambassador's wife curtseying -- she sure knew what to do. Probably made her feel right at home! (We love that feeling -- ahhh, someone else who wears jeans/says "howdy"/uses "sir" and "m'am"/eats with their fork upside down -- etc.

BTW, this is very much like coaching. Nothing "wrong" with any of us, it's just new, and we'd like to please and know what we're doing. That's what consultants and coaches are for, and one big area is etiquette.

It was the air of excitement that got me. For instance, a real red carpet for her exit from the airplane. For many of us, especially the younger generation, "rolling out the red carpet" came alive for the first tie. (Oh, so that's what that means. They really DO that!)

I also enjoyed the photos of the Queen with the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virgina, who was just about literally dancing, and wore an expression like the cat that swallowed the canary. What a coup! In several photos his feet are barely touching the ground, as he twists and cavorts and gives us the thumbs up -- TWO thumbs up.

Nonverbal is also a part of emotional intelligence and look at the difference. The Queen of England would never engage in such shenanigans. She maintains her posture, her notorious hats and lovely outfits and maybe the royal wave, which we all wait to see. Reserved, refined, well in her case, regal. Americans? Even the governor cavorts and gives a big nonverbal display of pleasure.

You must know emotional intelligence (which includes etiquette) to get where you want to go. Hopefully, you caught the fever during the Queen's visit, because it's great fun. Why on earth would we go to all this trouble to please the Queen? It's in our blood!

We love new things, too, and this is very old and yet very new again. We may even see a resurgence of hats and gloves! If you've noticed, even considering the circumstances of our "greater exposure" to the Middle East, the fashions and colors are slowly creeping in to the American fashion scene.

We just love new things -- or things that are new to us.

If you're curious, and open, that is to say not rigid, or overly invested in your own postures, you 'll develop the art of incorporating new, positive things into your life -- from your wardrobe to your mannerisms, to your speech.

I was reminded of this when visiting my friendly gynecologist the other day. He happens to be French, and as he burst into the room, he gave me a big Asian bow, with hands together in fron. (What on earth?) I immediately felt honored. That's what the gesture is all about, and it works. Amazing, isn't it. He had just been to Japan and was just full of all the new things he'd seen and learned. "They won't confront," he said. "How do you know when they're mad?"

Well actually wouldn't that be a RELIEF? After all, as we say in EQ-land, anger is a good way of knowing what you want, but not of getting it. When you go as far as to "show" you're angry, or it's so strong that you can't NOT show it, you're already so pumped up, you're likely not to think straight. You've lost it.

Which way is better?

That's not the question to ask. Just observe and note. Then be willing to adapt. Be willing to learn. You'll be more comfortable. For instance the client I coached who was going to D. C. (from San Antonio) to meet her new boyfriend's family and social set. She showed me what she was planning to wear -- the bright floral patterns of south Texas, with lots of gold glittery bangles and beads. (Are you laughing? Not if you haven't been to D. C.) She didn't listen to my advice. When she returned, she said "I felt like such a rube ... so uncomfortable and out of place. I just couldn't believe what you were saying..."

Believe! Things can be very different and, as she advised in "My Cousin Vinny," it's a good idea to be able to BLEND. When required. EQ is all about choice. First you have to know there is one, and that you have it. It's one thing to stand out in a good way because you have chosen to, and quite another to stand out "like a sore thumb" because you didn't now any better.

We went through all this protocal because we were overjoyed to have the Queen here, and wanted to make her feel -- well, "at home." This is the essence of etiquette and good manners.

In today's multicultural workplace, and rapidly shrinking world, the more you KNOW the better off you are going to be. If you learn the ways of just one other culture, you are able to grasp the concept of how different things can be? In half the world, it seems, it's a great insult to show someone the sole of your shoe. Once you 've heard that, you'll start to consider what else you might do that might offend someone else. And you'll be forced to think, as well, about what in your own country, or part of the country, offends others. We teach these things to our kids; culture is LEARNED. One child learns to bow another to shake hands. One kids learns to stand in line and take their turn, another learns to get in there and push. What would you like to learn more about?

For coaching, email me at .

No comments: