Business Etiquette from NALS & RMA Conference

It’s not often that I feel 76.8% wrong, but the business etiquette course by Marion Gellatly of Powerful Presence did just that.

My favorite thing I learned was that when someone is toasting you, you shouldn’t drink. And this came in handy immediately after the conference.

I shared this new information with my business partners and their families at dinner, and a few of us decided to constantly toast our creative director for the rest of the night! (It became slightly less funny when he started toasting us back in retaliation!)

But in all seriousness, Marion gave me some things to think about, and the key things I learned are:

  • When setting the table:
    • Remember BMW – Bread (plate), Meal, Water (glass) – in that order from left to right
    • Use silverware from outward in towards the center
  • When you sit down:
    • Enter your chair from the right
    • Immediately put your napkin in your lap, folded in half with the fold toward you
  • During the meal:
    • No getting up for any reason, except for between courses; if you do leave, put your napkin on your chair, only on the table when finished
    • No “grooming” (lipstick, fixing hair, etc.)
    • No handbag or phone on the table
    • No sharing from one plate – ask for an extra
    • Spoon soup away from you
    • Pass food to the right, offering left first
    • If your food arrives earlier, wait for permission from others at the table before beginning (don’t start if they don’t give it)
  • When you are finished:
    • Put your silverware side by side on the right side of your plate
    • Don’t ask for leftovers (This one will be hardest for me!)
  • If you are the host:
    • Ask if they have food allergies or preferences after they accept your invitation; make two suggestions – mainstream and ethnic
    • Reconfirm the morning of the event
    • Wait 20 minutes if they are late
    • Direct your guests where to sit; if only one guest, sit them kitty corner from you
    • Allow your guest to order first; if your guest orders two courses, match his order
    • Don’t start business conversation until the orders have been taken

I hope these tips are as helpful and as interesting for you as they were for me….but I may still take home my leftovers!

My Trip to NALS & RMA Conference

I’ve just returned from the North American Live Stock and Rodeo Managers Association conference in Red Lodge, Montana. And I can sum it up by saying, what a hoot!

These are the nicest people you’ll ever come across, which really validated our decision to focus on this industry. I couldn’t decide whether the people were more like a family or a small town, but they were so welcoming and appreciative of our sponsorship; I truly loved my time with this special group.

I sponsored the conference on the advice of Bucky Lamb, the CEO of our wonderful partner Rodeo Austin. He said there were no guarantees, but he felt this would be a receptive audience to our message. I only went with the hope that I’d make some friends in the industry, and I certainly did. But I think I even gave some events something to think about in raising the bar on their online presence.

One thing I was struck by is just how many issues these event coordinators face besides online marketing and their event websites. I am so engrossed in the online world that it’s easy to forget it is only a small (but important!) part of the myriad of details it takes to put on a successful event.

There was a great session on social media, where I got to hear Steve Richo and Mark O’Shea from Noise New Media give some fascinating statistics and advice on integrating social media into an online marketing plan. There was also a surprisingly informative presentation by Marion Gellatly at Powerful Presence about business etiquette, where I learned I break approximately 76.8% of the rules!  Oops. (More on that in another post.)

But the most fun was in the amazing places Justin Mills of The NILE (the host of this year’s conference) arranged for us to see – from a cattle tagging manufacturer to a bull testing facility to a belt buckle store to the Buffalo Bill Historic Center to World Famous Pig Races and great meals at Irma Hotel and music by a very entertaining songwriter who shared this funny quote: “Drink, because the brain cell you kill might be the one that was holding you back.”

Thank you to everyone at NALS & RMA! It was great to meet you, and I’m already looking forward to next year!