What Do Your Clothes Say About You?


Do you know the difference between business and social etiquette?

Etiquette’s roots can be traced to the French royal courts in the 1600s. Louis XIV’s gardener at Versailles discovered that the aristocrats were trampling through his garden, so he posted little signs called “etiquettes” warning people to “keep off the grass.” The king himself eventually decreed that no one was to go beyond the bounds of the etiquettes. Even at its origin, etiquette concerned people staying within certain bounds to treat others and the environment with respect.

Today, etiquette is understood to be the rules or guidelines for social interaction. It is a practical way of being mindful of others. Where should you sit at a business meeting? Who should be the first to initiate a handshake? Who opens the door for whom? Etiquette answers these questions.

The 1922 publication of Emily Post’s book Etiquette set the standard for acceptable behavior across the United States. Men and women had specific and separate roles in society at that time, and those roles were reflected in Post’s writing. These traditional rules are known as social etiquette, where preference has historically been given to women and the elderly. You see social etiquette in action when a man rises as a woman approaches a table, or a young person offers their seat to an older person.

As gender roles changed and women began to take seats in the boardroom, new guidelines emerged to support a more egalitarian climate. Business etiquette emerged, where deference was given based on rank or position (regardless of age or gender). You see business etiquette in action when both men and women seat themselves at a business lunch, and when a junior employee opens the door for the CEO.

Etiquette is dynamic in both social and business settings. As society changes, so do the “rules.” The goal, however, remains the same: to facilitate better connection between people.

This ever-changing environment is precisely what motivated us to create SPARK™, our science-backed method to cultivate connection. In today’s fast-paced world, you can no longer memorize a list of do’s and don’ts. Instead, you must know how to read a room and connect with people in any situation you encounter. Want to know more? Contact us about SPARK™ today!

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