Etiquette in a political occasion is very important especially when you want to make a good first impression. You can imagine how people in a gathering would percieve you if for example you took a call right in the middle of a conversation or you are speaking with a mouthful — I definitely would not be impressed. Making a good first impression is your PR for other future appearances. People would remember you for how well you carried yourself and that would open doors to friendship or alliance.
Here are some vital tips on proper etiquette for any political occasion:
You must always look your best
Image matters! That’s the honest truth. People judge you from your outward appearance. I once had a conversation with a voter who said one of the reasons she was not going to vote for the political opponent was because she always looked untidy. Hmmmm, makes sense! I would like to vote for someone whose image speaks volume alongside their political agenda. Did you notice the wife of the POTUS (President of the United States) signature style? — Knee length dresses that accentuate her. Find your style!
TIP: Get a good black skirt or trouser suit; a must have in your wardrobe and use a bright colored shirt or camisole to brighten the look. Avoid loud makeup and a moderate use of accessories.
How do you achieve proper posture?
Show confidence through your walk and posture. A tall lean unencumbered stride will make you look confident and get you noticed. Proper posture alongside a good outfit is a must have in the political environment. Make sure you walk with your back straight and do not carry too much (such as a handbag or laptop bag), that makes you slouch to one side. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes so as to ensure your strides are effortless. I remember a lady at a seminar with very high heels that made her bend her knees as she walked to go make a speech. It felt like she was going to be the joke master of the day.
TIP: Wear comfortable shoes. Don’t wear more than 4 inches of heels if you want to go high. In your private time, practice walking with a book on your head and maintain a straight posture as you walk.
Maintain good eye contact
Ever heard the expression “the eyes are the windows to the soul,” it simply means that if you look deep into a person’s eye, you may see the persons sincerity and truth; or at the very least, the window into their personalities. Making good eye contact exhumes confidence, and people would pay attention to you as you are perceived as more warm and personable. Looking down or gazing away while speaking is very distracting.
TIP: If you are being introduced to someone, look straight into their eyes. If you are making a speech, do a quick scan and notice the people who are attentive and take turns looking at these people. Remember, this should not be confused with staring. A rule of thumb is to switch your gaze from one eye to the other during a conversation.
Manners at the table
Do you leave your handbag and phone on the table? Do you receive phone calls? And attend to personal grooming? These are no-no to proper dinning etiquette. Dinning etiquette involves a lot of rules but very easy to follow with proper attention. It takes practice but once you understand the rules, you will have an enjoyable dining experience.
It is essential you practice proper table manners. This includes how you use utensils, how you follow the lead of the host, how you have conversations at the table and how you handle mishaps such as a when you spill a drink – apologizing repeatedly just bring more attention to you.
Do you dominate a conversation? Do you bring up topics that are controversial such as religion, sex, etc.? Do you interrupt others while they are speaking? Do you gesticulate as you speak? An excellent conversation skill will give a good impression and ensure people take you seriously.
Conversation is a form of interactive, spontaneous communication between two or more people. Typically it occurs in spoken communication, as written exchanges are usually not referred to as conversations. The development of conversational skills and etiquette is an important part of socialization. The development of conversational skills in a new language is a frequent focus of language teaching and learning. (Wiki 2015)
TIP: Give other people a chance to speak. Be a good listener! Make sure you discuss important topics and stay away from controversial topics. Have a mental list of ideas for conversation topics readily prepared. Speak in a moderate tone.
About contributor: Florence Fasan is the owner/founder of Flo~Fix Image Consulting, a growing company that provides a variety of exclusive individual and corporate services. She is a Certified Career Coach, Etiquette & Image Consultant whose passion for fashion, appearance and interest in helping others has made the business a success. Florence received her formal training from the Majestic Image Institute in London. She is also an author. Her book “The Aha Moment” is a guidebook for teen girls and young women.