We often associate the word etiquette with a certain kind of elitism. Many people think that etiquette rules apply to high-fliers of society and to certain exclusive formal situations. This could not be farther from the truth. Image consultant and grooming expert Rukshana Eisa redefines etiquette rules and applies them to our day to day lives in her new book, The Golden Code: Mastering the art of social success.
She establishes a case for following etiquette rules in regular life situations and not view good etiquette as something that is only restricted to certain business and social situations for a certain group of people. Having convinced us that etiquette rules and their application must just be second nature to us, Eisa moves on to identify these rules through three different areas- communication, personal grooming and entertaining.
Peter Drucker once said, “The most important thing in communication is hearing what isn’t said,”. Eisa speaks about importance of body language. She talks about crucial aspects of business and social communication such as handshakes, exchanging business cards, respecting space, communicating in a job interview, writing a resume, conversation in a social set up- what and what not to say, telephone etiquette and so on. She also devotes an entire chapter to tricky social situations, including ones involving children with bad manners!
We live in a time where the Internet and social media are an integral part of our social lives. Quite aptly, Eisa incorporates topics such as email etiquette. Again, in keeping with the times she has tackled issues like gym and supermarket etiquette rules as well!
Beauty maybe skin deep, but no harm really enhancing it from outside as well as within right? This section covers the basics of skin care, makeup, eating well, dressing and accessorizing to bring out the best in you. I found this section to be quite useful and brimming with handy tips and tricks! Diet, skin care and fashion- this section breezes through what’s to know in these areas. Appearance is after all the basis of first impressions, more often than not. Hence, there is no running away from that!
How can you be a great host? And, how can you be the best guest? What are the etiquette rules you need to follow in social situations involving entertaining, be it at a home or in a restaurant or party hall? What are the specific rules to remember when it comes to fine dining? And, what do you do if you commit a faux-pax?
This section handles these questions and more with ease. A very useful part is the topic of tipping, which is indeed something that could get confusing. Eisa covers this area really well, outlining the tipping conventions not only in India but also in different countries of the world. For instance, it was interesting to see that not tipping in a restaurant in the US may be taken quite offensively, and tipping a waiter in Japan may be looked at with offense as well!
Eisa not only outlines the good etiquette rules, but also covers in detail what one could do in case one makes an etiquette blunder or in case someone else does. For example, in the section on handshakes she not only covers what a good handshake is but also talks about what you can do if someone makes a social blunder like holding your hand too long, giving you a bone crushing handshake and so on!
Easy and breezy
The book is a light and informative read. The language is very simple and direct. Apt illustrations and captions intersperse the text. Important points are highlighted not only though images by also through side boxes and captions.
Eisa has extensive experience in training a wide range of people in etiquette rules. What also makes the book interesting is that she weaves in many personal experiences from her interactions with people, in order to illustrate her point.
Eisa is clearly writing for an Indian audience and hence she incorporates many elements unique to Indian culture (example, namaste as a replacement for a handshake in some situations).
“Think about any question you’ve had regarding the how’s of human interaction and the answer is always the same. Etiquette. It is the bedrock of basic human behaviour and the key to a kinder, nicer world,” says Eisa. This is exactly what the book sets out to accomplish, in a simple easy-to-follow format. Read through it once and then use it as a go-to manual from time to time.
Well, the book clearly also establishes that etiquette rules! Why is it important to read this one? To put it in the words of Shweta Bachchan Nanda, who quotes in the preface, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression “.
Author: Rukshana Eisa
Publisher: Jaico books