Well Tamiko, thank you so much for
meeting me today it’s a pleasure to meet you. It’s a pleasure to meet you as well. And so for our viewers who aren’t familiar with who you are, would you mind telling us a little bit
about you a little bit about Minding Manners? Certainly, so my name is Tamiko
Zablith and I am an international etiquette consultant. We launched Minding Manners in Paris, France about 11 years ago and the goal was to
actually help young children who are expatriates acclimate to living in a
different country by learning new customs. And I love children dearly, but
I realized I didn’t want to spend all of my time really just working with
children so I went back to my passion which is the corporate world. And I realized that over my sort of 20-year career working internationally what had really helped me, even working in countries where I didn’t speak the
language, was the fact that I spoke their notion of an etiquette. So I think of etiquette as notion of
communication as a language. We learn how to do certain things what the expectation is we learn why
it’s expected and we can build solid, sinuous relationships. As a language I like that idea a lot. So what would, I mean what would the
world be like if we didn’t have etiquette or manners. It would be chaotic if you
think about it. What’s so important in any world and of course it has
different degrees in different countries but its law. So yes I said etiquette is like
communication, it’s like a language but it’s also like a law because it’s a set
of codes that tells us what is appropriate behavior and what’s not
appropriate behavior. Of course there isn’t a universal code because what’s
appropriate for one is going to be highly inappropriate for another one
which is why we need to do more research and understand why, understand history. You know, history sets out traditions and then traditions are passed on from
generation to generation and suddenly you say but that’s the way it has to be
done. And then you question why because that’s the way it’s always been done but then you go elsewhere and it’s been done exactly the opposite. So the rules help
us to build a cohesive social structure. It can help us build cohesive diplomatic
relations, it can help us build the business relationships so without it the
world will be chaos. Why is etiquette so important to the business world. I think actually etiquette is, I don’t want to say more important in the business world
when you think there’s a bottom line at hand in doing business. Social relationships you know they’re different implications. In business company’s objective is to increase market share, to make more money, to do
you know have better strong relationships and one thing will see for
instance, I’ll give you one example going from America to Saudi Arabia as a woman
for business. Very different. Very different! Where as in boardroom in New York or San
Francisco or LA we can be outspoken, we can share our ideas, we can say I. Whereas when I found myself in Al-Qabar the first time, I realized I needed
to write down my notes and passed my notes to a gentleman who was on my team. It’s humiliating isn’t it? Well, and this is when it becomes
interesting it’s only humiliating when it’s misunderstood. This is the point, so because I understood what was valued in their culture they didn’t minimize my,
what should we say, that the input business-wise, the interest was getting
the answer I had to figure out how to get the answer to them again we’re back to
communication. If I tell you a poem in perfect japanese with beautiful syntax and grammar, it’s wonderful. Will you be doing that? I might. Do you understand Japanese? No! And that’s the point. So no matter how beautiful it is if you don’t understand
my message, my message is lost. So in business my job was to get the contract, however I had to get the contract had to be done in a way that they would
understand and respect and not to be distracted. So I passed the note. I think so many people are not that savvy. We choose to be hurt first and not try to navigate that. Exactly! As far as international business etiquette and you see that the our division international
business etiquette is really about the master of the process of editing like
that was really interesting. Can you talk a little bit of more about that? The Edit is about minimizing distractions, again which I sort of alluded to in in
the last topic because we do things that people often find as being, well quite frankly the distraction. For instance in America we tend to talk with our hands a bit. And in Italy they, you know, we say
you put your hands behind your back as an Italian they can’t talk. Which is beautiful because the culture values relationships. So you lean in a little bit more you
make a better eye contact. You go off to Japan, of course you think keep that space of of distance because it might sort of make them feel that I’m infringing upon them personally. So it’s not necessarily taking who you are
and what you are in presenting that, it’s taking away what might not be necessary
in the that given moment. So for me in England it’s remembering not to move my hands too much because I’ve seen people sort of do this with their head and I realized the following the motion my hand. So edit by changing my body
language person. I edit with what I’m going to say. That’s what I would encourage everyone to do. Don’t try to add more, learn more, takeaway, minimization and you you have a
much better chance at success. I love that. So one thing I want to ask you about is
just the way that travel, technology has changed things. How is the ease of
modern-day travel sort of raised the stakes or that create more need for
business etiquette? The fact that we can go anywhere today, especially from London. What I love about being here is it’s two hours to anywhere. You know, two hours to Bulgaria, two hours to some parts of Russia, two hours to wherever. And that’s a positive and meaning we can get out and explore and discover new things. The downside is how much homework do we do before we go. We often go assuming that things will be
done the way they are done at home. Assuming that will arrive in Spain and
get to have dinner at seven o’clock. Assuming that our environment will adapt
to us. And this is the biggest problem, absolutely, so I think the travel is put
more of a reason or responsibility on us to just do a bit more homework. Makes
sense, you know, one thing I was going to ask you about is I think you bring up
this topic of if you don’t have time to do that homework and you know you are
going for a business deal or some sort of meeting. Is there, when we talk about
editing earlier, but is there sort of a culturally neutral approach that I can
take so that while I may not fit in perfectly and you know get an A-plus but
at least for truffles many feathers? Yes, we’ve all heard of the Golden Rule,
“Treat people the way you would like to be treated.” I want to challenge you to
think about Platinum rule, which hasn’t been written yet, I’ll write it one day. My Platinum Rule is “Treat people the way
they would like to be treated.” And this is really, really important because I’ll go back to our notion about Saudi Arabia. There’s so much misunderstanding about
women in Saudi Arabia. So to go back to the first part of your question, if we don’t have time. We all have 24 hours in a day. Shame on us if we don’t. Exactly, it’s how we choose to use that time and I can honestly say if its business or even social
relationships that are important, make time a priority to learn a little bit
about the values of another culture. Learn a little bit about should you walk
into a room and introduce yourself, as we do in the States, should I walk in and
say “Hi I’m Tamiko Zablith pleased to meet you.” Which is perfectly acceptable in our
community but in high society Europe, you never introduced yourself. It’s the
rudest thing in the world. You go to your hostess because it’s their duty to introduce you. So can you imagine something so simple
and so not meant to be offensive, how you can really be jeopardizing any
type of relationship. And really hurt the feelings of the hostess it feels maybe she’s not doing your job or… You’ve mentioned before that someone’s studying etiquette the what or the things they
need to do are often learned very quickly but the why is often overlooked. Can you talk a little about that? Absolutely when we think about why
people do certain things it will help us to be able to go into as you asked
earlier what sort of that neutral element that I can learn. Understand
what’s important in terms of the value system. I often like to give the diplomatic sort
of example, where if we take working with ambassadors or people coming from a
monarchy, we know that there’s a certain place in society there’s a hierarchy and
you know that when you address a Baron and you’re going to introduce them to a
Duke that you’d better say the Duke’s name first. That’s something I do every week by the
way. I figured, I just wanted to make sure I share this with you and interviewers. Always say the name of the most
important person first. Well it’s interesting one specially from
a monarchical sort of point of view because everyone knows their place but
when you come from a republic where everything is about equality you might
look at a scenario where, if we bring it down to business level, you may have a
junior manager in a board meeting who has a really good idea and they want to put
that idea out there. They can. The vice president puts his or her idea there as
well and they’re all listen to equally because it’s about equality. Whereas in dealing in other societies it might need to be the man who puts the idea. It might need to be the elder who puts out the idea. We tend to frown upon that
and say but it doesn’t matter because we’re a “Me” society other societies tend to
be collective and it’s about the team. The word I doesn’t exist in Japan so
when you understand the why, then you understand why you’re being asked to do
things in a certain way and you don’t frown upon when you don’t receive the
perceived respect do you think you deserve because you
realize they’re giving you respect in a different way. It seems like that really echoes what you’re saying earlier about do unto others as they would like to be, I don’t know how to say that. Do unto others as they would like to be. You know which really gets back to consider getting inside their head and being empathetic to their culture and their situation. So many of us associate good manners or etiquette with this idea of proper breeding, something either you have
you know growing up for you don’t because of your situation but it seems
like your role with Minding Manners is to really help those who weren’t still
with proper etiquette and improve themselves and maybe undo habits that
they’ve developed. I’m sure that I have a lot of bad habits and now as I mentioned talking with your hands, I realize that I’m talking with my hands. That’s ok we’ll accept certain relations. It burns calories. So what is the process or method for
instilling ettiquette because I would imagine it’s not just about learning the what
and even know why but there has to be an element of sort of practice. And that’s the most important, so when we look at for instance, let’s take it from two
different perspectives, yes we work with a lot of people who
might be coming over who have no sort of background in terms of Western European
or Western etiquette which could be American as well and they need to learn
those customs but we also think about people such as Princess Diana she was a
lady before she became Princess Diana she also went to finishing school. So
it’s not just a question of of having things passed down in terms of proper
greeting to become a debutante, etc. It’s about learning what your peer group or you’re inspired peer group considers to be acceptable. So for instance posture. Yes, you have excellent posture. We always
tell people to imagine you have an imaginary helium balloon attached to
your head that balloon is going to lift you up towards the ceiling. Now you know,
but what if you don’t practice. So what we do is working with people who are beyond the age of 18 years old, we give them the elements in one week of what
they need to do, we practice with them during one week, but then it’s for you to
follow through. Its for you to make that a part of your everyday life and it can be achievable, it is achievable. But only with practice comes we don’t even
strive for perfection we just strive for excellence. Getting close to perfection. I would imagine it’s much harder to,
if you aren’t surrounding yourself with other people who at least are appreciating that those things that you’re learning. Your company Minding
Manners was the first to bring back this tradition of, we talked about the
European finishing school but you’ve said recently I think that that it’s in
a more accessible way. Can you talk a little bit about finishing school then versus now. Absolutely as the title sort
of says finishing, it was for ladies, which is really interesting I won’t certainly
go into it now. Men need to be finished too. I was just going to say. What I want people to sort of go up and Google online, the grand tour because many used to go on the Grand Tour in the
1600s. That was sort of the precursor to a finishing school where men would go off especially from England over to continental Europe and bring back what
they had learned, what were they learning, how to get on in society. What was considered correct demeanor as
Louis XIV sat down with his etiquette’s. Finishing school for ladies took place
at the end of their high school year. When personally I think they should be
preparing for university but as we know ages ago smart women didn’t get married
so it was this whole notion of being a good you know lady of the house, being
wonderfully domestic, being able to arrange flowers, being able to coordinate
the social schedule of your family. Don’t frown upon it. I know we have maybe perhaps
the viewers out there saying. It’s a beautiful thing. I was actually thinking that any man should be able to do those things as well. Well and that’s a difference in where we are today. We should all be able to do
everything but who has a year today to spend finishing school. That’s the difference. Of course it was
also about being able to put forth the face that you wanted the world to see. Today what’s a finished woman? A finished woman should be someone who has an academic intelligence, someone who has a cultural
intelligence. I think it’s nice to know how to arrange
flowers, it’s also important to know how to set a beautiful table. Personally can I cook? No, but I will be reading your blog to learn how to make a great steak. But I can lay a beautiful table. So those are the types of things that
really just take it to the next level most importantly what we do, that no one
else does yet is making finished woman someone who understands other cultures. I’ve heard some people talk about technological advances, sort of outpacing I guess the established
etiquette for those things. I think the examples that come to mind are cellphones or email. I think as those arose in popularity, I felt and I think a lot of other people
other people felt that there we didn’t really know exactly what the etiquette
was for those things. Did we really not know? Well, I think we have some idea but I
think it certainly wasn’t being observed right. So what are your thoughts? I think we look for excuses because at the end of the day whatever the technology
is or lack of, it all comes down to being respectful of those around you. So nothing bothers me more than when I
go out on a Friday evening and I watch a couple over dinner and they’re chatting
for about three minutes and then one of the telephones and mobile cell phone
rings. So he takes out his phone, sort of looking. And you see the lady and she’s
sort of looking around because what do you do there just two of you, so she
doesn’t know where to put her eyes. She sort of looks around the room feels a
bit uncomfortable. So finally what did she do? She takes out her phone. So, yes it’s a different device but really the etiquette remains the same when you’re
with someone, you are with someone, period. So with the mobile phones when you go out for dinner, you go to the Opera, you go to the cinema put it away. And that shouldn’t be something that even have to be written anywhere. What is important though, you know so
many people have said an email is just a quick note quick exchange and I know
that works in America you don’t have to start an email with dear so-and-so, but
in Europe people still do start with the dear. They value that social
relationship much more and an email is treated like a letter, at least the first
time. Then you develop your conversation and go back. And then sort of transactional responses back and forth. Is that okay then? That is okay. Once you you’ve established
the the introduction, the dear, you can sort of say okay that sounds good. That’s perfect, but I would say… That we did that before this interview. We did indeed. But with each new day then you sort of
restart with maybe the first one being good morning or sort of, you know
hello. One thing if I may I’d like to touch on the business emails. At the bottom of everyone’s business email address you often have your name your
company name and the telephone number. That does not mean you can sign off by
saying, best regards, finished. Because you didn’t have the name You still have to put your name, put Kyle
and that tells me that I can then address you by saying dear Kyle. If you put Kyle
Ingham then i’m going to address you do Mr. Ingham. So it’s that you wouldn’t give someone a business card without telling them your name. That’s true because I have seen emails
from people, where from their the name in the email from their email addresses, it’s
hard actually to tell what their first name is and then I course I look at the
to sign off and say, oh it’s Barry or… Absolutely. That’s actually a wonderful clue. You said that good manners are culturally bound and what is being right. In one country of course may be wrong and another. So I was just thinking when I first moved to France and met my fiance’s parents. You know in America we learned to keep our hands on our lap. We always get your hands on
the table, in American England you have to keep you on your lap and we had a
cocktail party it was brilliant the in-laws, the cousins, everyone was
smiling, it was brilliant. Then we sat down for dinner and I can
see everyone sort of doing these things with their eyebrows and looking around
and sort of, so I thought of what’s wrong? So later I asked my fiance is everything okay? And he said, well, he said my mother and
my sister kept asking what were you doing with your hands under the table. Oh, interesting. So this is the perfect example of what’s right in one country, completely wrong because Louis XIV,
1700s said, “You must keep your hands on the table at all times where I can see them.” So for French, for Spanish, for Italians,
if you don’t have your hands on the table. It’s an insult. My goodness. It’s amazing, isn’t it? That’s right, because think you’re right. Even though I don’t remember being trained that way I think I would also sit my hand with my
napkin in my lap. Exactly. We talked about etiquette being a life-enhancing experience, which I can see how it would be in the benefit to obviously a
diplomat or an international business person It seems fairly obvious but to the
average lay person, how would their lives be enhanced by learning etiquette? It’s about confidence and there’s something to be said about being able to go anywhere and
know that you’ll be fine. Being able to walk into a room for a cocktail party, which just about everyone does. To be able to know how to walk into that room and make a powerful impact, if powerful impact is your objective. Knowing that there are certain things you can do, for instance when you hold a drink in your
hand, so mixology. I often do. You’ve made a wonderful drink. How are you going to balance two, I’m not sure. If we’re holding one something as simple as being
able to walk in a room pass that drink to your left hand so that each person
who arrives, if you need to greet them with the handshake you’re not greeting them with a cold clammy hand and then having to go. Excuse me. That’s not really
delivering that image that you’re trying to do to purvey. And if you think about knowing again introductions, as we said know who should be introduced to whom. For some it doesn’t matter but some
it does and once you get it wrong we’ve pretty much alienated that potential
relationship from the beginning. Dining, going to a meal. Okay, perhaps you aren’t going to have a
six-course meal with 12 utensils surrounding you but isn’t it wonderful
when you actually know how to use a knife and a fork. I promise you that’s the reason I got a
job in Italy simply because I didn’t do the crossover method which is acceptable
in America, it’s not really acceptable in Europe. For those who don’t know, holding your fork if your fork is on the left side you would hold it there and your knife is
in your right side, you would hold it there and not switch. Indeed. But I want you to know this is what we educate Europeans on to realize that no we’re
not very clumsy in America and have to do all this crossing over and if you
want a little historical insight everyone used to do that even in Europe. To do the crossover? Everyone did the crossover because it’s natural. Etiquette actually stems through the Catholic religion no one knows that today. We
don’t realize it came through the Vatican through the Pope as he crowned
each king of each European country, of course the etiquette is you don’t cut fish with a knife because it was representative of the body of Christ. Now does that matter from someone who might be Muslim or someone who might be Jewish. Doesn’t matter if you’re Christian but that’s where the rule came from. Well, you did ask me about my fish and
chips before we started the interview and I have to admit I did use a knife. And that was absolutely fine but if you’re dining at Buckingham Palace and the Queen’s
serves fish and chips then you would not. That’s the difference have the knowledge
and not need it versus being there one day meeting it and thinking gosh I wish I knew. That’s a really good point, I like that
idea of sort of being somewhere and feeling armed to handle the situation so
to speak but not necessarily needing to to put it out there. That’s it. It just makes it a little bit more confident where you go. You know I had in being
with you, I’d like to think that you know when you when you come home after a long hard day of teaching etiquette and being proper that you know perhaps you
shed this persona and that everything so it goes out the window. Is there an element for you of relaxing and kind of becoming less proper in your environment
or would you think your friends and family would say that you’re you’re just
as proper in private company as you are. Wish you could ask my daughter
because she says, “Mom why don’t you ever just relax. Why is the helium balloons still above
your head? It’s a bit like Audrey Hepburn when you think about she was a ballerina her entire life, you know starting very young during a sort of the
occupation and she said it would be impossible for her to slouch such simply
because of what you said earlier practice. I took my first course preparing for the debutante when I was 15 and I loved it. You know most of my friends didn’t
because their mothers made them but because I’m always with people from
other cultures it has just become so ingrained in me to always make them
comfortable and your posture conveys so much more than you may think. It tells people or it makes people believe. If you can’t control your body, you can’t control your mind. So again working with Asian clientele, it’s really important to make sure
they know that you have clarity of mind and that posture and feng shui and yoga, all of these concepts come into play. So I’m pretty much this way all the time, I
will admit only for you that my one downfall is popcorn. There is nothing like a handful of popcorn.
Is the crossover better with popcorn? Can you cut popcorn with a knife? Popcorn, you can eat with your hand. Well, you know, I think like you
said it does become habit and that’s a good thing because it especially for you
know that earlier that you learn it as much like learning an instrument, when
you’re younger it sort of becomes part of your DNA. I feel like for all those people out there who you know are going to learn earlier that’s better. What drew you to this line of work? I’m curious to know what you think you might be doing if you weren’t doing this?
What drew me to it was being able to go to other cultures and try to find a way
to make my mark that was in my twenties I moved to Europe I was working in
advertising it was very competitive and I was determined to to to make sure my
team was number one. But we’re being sent off to cultures that I didn’t know much about, I realize what made me step forward in Japan when I speak no
Japanese was the fact that I figured out how to relate with them. So I wanted to
pass that on to people respect others. If wasn’t working an etiquette however I
would work in health and wellness, which is really etiquette
for yourself respect yourself, respect your body, respect your mind. Building those appropriate habits. Brilliant, absolutely. That’s wonderful. Well so just to wrap things up, for our
viewers who perhaps would like to start being a bit more etiquette savvy and
sophisticated. what’s one thing that you can tell them
to stop doing right now and then one thing that you can have them start doing? It’s a really good question Kyle, I would say
stop putting yourself first in your mind and I know it’s difficult in the land of
Facebook you know look at me Instagram Here I am. Selfies hit what’s
behind me. I just had breakfast look at it. Exactly. It’s really not interesting.
You know someone once said you know people with small minds talk about
people you know people with average-size minds talk about things and people with
a really great mind talk about events. Go out and do something. I’m starting an
Italian course at the end of this month. Well it but it’s something little do
something to enhance who you are. Make yourself more interesting, be the
best version of you possible. That will make you feel better
and it will also meet the people around you enjoy being around you. In terms of
what should we do I would say traveling. Yes, I was gonna say. Yes, travel. Now of course that’s not easy for everyone and of course we have to take that into
consideration within, watch the Discovery Channel, read National Geographic take your mind on a voyage because that’s where the beauty begins. I love it. Well Tamiko thank you again for meeting with me. It’s been a pleasure. My pleasure. Learnde a lot. Thank you so much Kyle. Hey everyone thanks again for watching. If you liked this video please hit like below also make sure download my free PDF guide, “48-Hour Gentlemen: Your One Weekend Plan to More Confidence Poise and Manly Know-How.” Thanks again see you soon.