Call her ma’am

Sharyn Kennedy Amoroso

PHOTO courtesy of sharyn kennedy amoroso

With the shortage of jobs available to recent college graduates, students need to perfect their etiquette in addition to their résumés. Sharyn Kennedy Amoroso is a pro when it comes to manners, and she wants to share her skills with job seekers. The certified consultant and director of etiquette and protocol services will host a student-oriented Professional Etiquette Dinner on March 23, at 6 p.m., in the Bell Memorial Union Auditorium. For $10, attendees will enjoy a four-course meal—and learn how to eat it politely. RSVP to the Chico State Career Center at 898-5253.

What does etiquette mean?

Etiquette means civility, respect, kindness and courtesy. It involves being aware of your behavior and how it affects other people. Etiquette is not about pompous, pretentious behavior. It’s about consideration for other people.

Can you give me an example of poor etiquette?

Back in my corporate life, I knew a young fellow right out of college who was on my sales staff. One day I received a phone call from a client who was a very polished gentleman. He called me and said, “Don’t send this person to take me to lunch ever again. First of all, he showed up a few minutes late, so I had to wait for him. Although he had on a sport coat and slacks, his white shirt looked like it had never been ironed. He sat across from me with his rumpled shirt and ate with the most boorish table manners I have ever seen. I was embarrassed and couldn’t wait for it to be over.”

How did this lapse in etiquette affect your salesperson and the company?

I was mortified. He broke the business etiquette expectations because he showed up late and used poor manners during dining. It was a blemish on him, me as supervisor, and the company.

When did you become interested in teaching etiquette?

I was the vice president of sales and marketing for a firm, where I was responsible for hiring and training personnel and the sales staff. I would then be responsible for holding high-level meetings with clients and dealing with entertainment budgets for luncheons, events and receptions. It was important for me to be aware of business and dining etiquette so I could incorporate that training with my sales staff.

How did you learn manners growing up?

I was very fortunate to grow up in a large family of five kids who valued manners. We sat down to dinner every night as a family.