Image & Etiquette Institute of Los Angeles

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Etiquette Articles Written by Diana Olson for the LA Times
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Eight Questions for an Etiquette Expert

Diana Olson, Etiquette & Image Consultant

                                                                                                                                                                            

When most people hear the word “manners,” they imagine a prim and stuffy school teacher reminding students to fold their hands, not put their elbows on the table and always say “please”and “thank you.” But manners and etiquette are more than just a set of rules and behaviors – they can be a guide to connecting and communicating with others.

With today’s high-speed, high stress life, it’s easy to favor texting over talking and pass up small talk for screen time. Instead of rewriting the rules of social conduct, it is time to look at manner and why they still matter.

We spoke with Diana Olson,MA AICI CIP, an image consultant and etiquette coach in Pasadena. She has written for the Los Angeles Times and coaches numerous stars including Emma Roberts for her role as in “Nancy Drew: Murder in Hollywood Hills.”


Q: How and why did you become interested in etiquette?

A: I grew up in a military family where my dad was a senior officer in the Air Force, and protocol (rules of social behavior) was essential knowledge. We lived in Japan, Libya and Puerto Rico. At the age of 25, I took a “Trip Around the World” which exposed me to many cultures. Learning about others and creating new relationships was a wonderful education.

I learned that one first needs to give of themselves and become involved in their new settings with others. I learned that, first,one needs to interesting and mostly interested in caring about others. After graduation from college, I attended the Protocol School of Washington where ambassadors were trained. Teaching and training in Etiquette, Protocol and Professional Image since l980 is now my passion and my ministry.


Q: Can you explain the difference between etiquette, civility and manners?

A: Etiquette: Codes of social behavior involving kindness, consideration and respect for others.
Civility: Highest level of integrity and character that shows respect, responsibility and restraint.
Manners: Spontaneous reactions of kindness from the heart.


Q: Can you explain more about civility and why it is important in today’s society?

A: Civility is a fundamental code of decency, kindness, consideration, respect and integrity that helps to create positive and successful relationships.


Q: How can etiquette ease tension in social situations?

A: Communication, relationships and social skills are often necessary in new situations. One needs to be interesting and interested…and mostly interested. People don’t care until you care. Lacking confidence in social situations can create tension. Extending oneself to others with confidence lessens stress.


Q: Has the public perception of etiquette changed in past 20 years? How has technology impacted etiquette in social situations?

A: Yes, I have observed an increasing lack of civility, manners, and etiquette in society. Technology with texting, computers, and cellphones have decreased intimacy in relationships.

Text  and cell phone use in the company of others minimizes communication and consideration of others. Relationships are enriched by attentiveness to the person that is present.


Q: What do parents need to know about teaching their children manners?

A: Children are not born with a manual of kindness, consideration and respect for others. Often parents have not been taught these codes of behavior. In the past, etiquette had more emphasis. With generations, it has decreased.


Q: What is the most important lesson you teach to children? To adults?

A: For adults and children: An education in codes of behavior on civility, etiquette, and manners is a key to lifetime positive relationships with others. Social Intelligence is empathy for others. Emotional Intelligence is about self-restraint. There are benefits to education and knowledge of social and relationship skills.

Manners are “Style” and one will be more attractive to others and confident with an education and knowledge. One can be confident in concentrating on others rather than “self”. One will have that “Extra Edge” in life. Relationships and friendships in homes and work with be smarter, richer, and more satisfying.


Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

A: I have the Image and Etiquette Institute of Los Angeles in Pasadena in which I conduct private and group sessions for adults, children, families, and corporations. Loving what I do, I feel that it matters and that maybe I can make a small contribution to help build a kinder and most civilized world.