Evan Roberts 


Some things you may not know about etiquette…unless you went to the Netiquette (Networking and Etiquette) session at PRSSA National Conference in San Diego.


The etiquette session, presented by professors Laura Neal and Debbie Darling of Cal State-Fullerton, was very interactive and even though I had attended etiquette dinners before, this session included etiquette of networking, table manners and helpful little tips that I hadn’t previously heard. I’m the kind of person who likes to know what “the rules” are, so even if I don’t necessarily follow them all of the time, I’m at least making a conscious, knowledge-based decision. So what did I learn in this session? Quite a few things actually:


  1. How someone presents their business card to you is how you should accept it (two hand presentation=accept with two hands).

  2. Have a “30 second commercial” prepared to quickly introduce yourself and express your goals.

  3. Place your name-tag on the left side of your body so that it isn’t covered when you’re shaking hands.

  4. Ladies should extend their hand to gentlemen first, allowing them to control whether they are comfortable with the exchange.

  5. A good rule for a proper handshake is to touch the web of your hand, between the thumb and index finger, to the web of the person whose hand you’re shaking.                                                                                                                        
    To politely leave a conversation, introduce the person you’re talking with to someone else. (This will come in handy!)

  6. Be aware of the social context of whom you’re networking with (CEO? SAE? freelancer?) and where you are (Luncheon? PRSA event with speaker? Awards banquet?).

  7. Listen 80 percent of the time and talk 20 percent of the time.

  8. If the first to arrive at a table for dinner, wait behind your chair or mingle until everyone is present before sitting down.

  9. Do not carry on side conversations at a dinner table. Try to make sure that everyone feels comfortable and included, even if you are not the host.

  10. Some of these tips I had heard before, such as the one about your name-tag. Others, like standing behind your chair, were new to me. If you want the slides from this presentation, which contain excellent quotes and visuals of place settings, they can be viewed on the PRSSA site.

 (Evan Roberts is a public relations major at Ohio Northern University who will be graduating in May 2010 and writes his own blog at: http://evanprblog.blogspot.com.)