News & Comment , Etiquette: Gather around the Table, and Maybe You’ll Learn Something

By Sarah Auerbach, AllBusiness.Com – 09/01/1999 – 12:00am


You’ve helped train those techies on the bits and bytes, but can you each them social graces? Former Apple marketer and owner, Sue Fox and etiquette instructor Christine Montana want to do just that. Etiquette Survival , Inc. (www.etiquettesurvival.com) teaches Silicon Valley adults (or wannabe adults) the ins and outs of social etiquette, business etiquette, and dining etiquette.

Fox’s clients are mostly Silicon Valley techies who excel in front of a computer but fall apart when faced with a lineup of fancy silverware. Etiquette Survival treats its clients to dining classes at posh California restaurants where trainers instruct them in the finer points of choosing forks, excusing themselves from the table, breaking off a piece of bread, and manipulating napkins.

Before beginning to eat, they watch a video compilation of famous eating scenes: Daryl Hannah eating lobster in Splash; Lucille Ball and her infamous spaghetti. Those are the “before” scenes, says Fox. The video culminates with “after” scenes , Michelle Pfeiffer dining in high style in The Age of Innocence.

Fox, who’s trained techies from Apple and Adobe, among others, is adding international protocol and business entertaining to her curriculum. She is also franchising her operations to eager owners in Boulder, Colo.; Dublin, Ohio; Brandon, Fla.; Fresno, Calif.; and Livermore, Calif.

If your techies think they’re too enlightened , or successful , for Etiquette Survival, they can think again. Fox tells of a prospective hire at Fujitsu who interviewed over lunch. He was perfect for the job, but he let salad dressing drip down his chin. Later, the human resources manager who interviewed him confessed to Fox that his poor table manners kept him from getting the job.

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