E- Zine - December 2003


Tips to Outclass Your Competition – Dinner table conversation “Rules of Engagement”

I hate asparagus. My food is cold. It’s hot in here. Complain, complain, and more complaining! Have you ever had someone ruin your dinner with constant negative talk? Follow these “rules of engagement” for pleasant dinnertime conversation:

  • No controversial or unpleasant subjects – politics, religion, the cost of things, crude jokes, divorce, health, your diet, food dislikes, complaining or gossiping.
  • Keep it light, pleasant, and informative.
  • Stay informed with topics such as books, movies, travel, entertainment or sports. Show a genuine interest in others by asking open-ended questions.
  • Keep the conversation up in the air like a volleyball passing it around to others. If someone asks you a question about yourself, keep it short and then ask them, “…and tell me about you?”
  • If someone asks you an inappropriate or personal question, consider a response something like “Mary, what a charming question. Could you please pass the butter? Or, Isn’t the weather beautiful today.”
Back by popular demand, I am offering private or semi-private dining tutorials. You will never be embarrassed again because you don’t know which fork to use or how to navigate your place setting. The holidays are just around the corner, so act fast. Enjoy your holidays with total confidence in your ability to dine like a diplomat.

Customer Service Techniques – 10 Holidays around the world.

The Top 10 Holidays That Are Coming Up Besides Thanksgiving and Christmas

You can also read this TopTen here.

Are you ready for the holidays? Whose holidays are you ready for? If you've got global and multicultural clients and friends as I do, here's a list to help you keep it all in mind.
  1. Eid al-Fitr (Muslim) -- lunar, when new moon is sighted, so around November 25, depending upon where you live.

    Eid Al-Fitr, or the Celebration of Breaking the Fast, marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Money is given to the poor, and to children, and everyone gets a new set of clothing.

  2. Saint Nicholas Day (Christian) -- December 6

    Popular for centuries esp. in Northern Europe, celebrating Saint Nicholas, a 4th century bishop of the city of Myra (in what is now Turkey), who was known for his kindness and generosity. Good children receive candies, cookies, apples and nuts, while naughty children receive switches or lumps of coal in their shoes.

  3. Bodhi Day (Buddhists) – December 8

    aka Rohatsu, celebrates the day in 596 BC when the Buddha achieved enlightenment.

  4. Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican) -- December 12

    One of the most important dates on the Mexican calendar, dedicated to the Mother of all Mexicans.

  5. St. Lucia Day (Swedish) -- December 13

    Each family awakens a young girl who dresses in a white robe with red ribbon around the waist, and wears a crown of candles on her head. She then brings breakfast to the family -- sweet buns flavored with saffron. The boys (called star boys) wear long white shirts and pointed hats and help carry the sweets. What do you say? God Jul!

  6. Hanukkah (Jewish) -- begins December 19

    Known also as Festival of Lights, this 8-day, 2,000-year-old holiday celebrates God's glory, an ancient victory of the Jews over their enemies, and the freedom Jews enjoy today.

  7. Winter Solstice - December 22

    Long before Christmas, people celebrated the Winter Solstice on the eve of the shortest day of the year. They burned a Yule log in a great bonfire, danced, sang, hung mistletoe from doorways of their home, and decorated with evergreens. The Chinese call it Dong Zhi. In Iran it's called Shabe-Yalda.

  8. Kwanzaa (African American) -- begins December 26

    Habari Gani? That's Swahili "What's the News?", the Kwanzaa greeting. Kwanzaa's seven days of celebration focus on seven principles: unity (umoja), self-determination (kujichagulia), collective work and responsibility (ujima), cooperative economics (ujamaa), purpose (nia), creativity (kuumba), and faith (imani). Kwanzaa is Swahili for "first fruits of the harvest."

  9. Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish, Scottish) -- December 26

    Way back when, servants had to work on Christmas, but were given the 26th off to visit their families. Their Landlords gave each servant a box with gifts and bonuses, and churches opened their alms boxes for the poor. Nowadays most people have the day off, and visit, go shopping and celebrate.

  10. Omisoka (Japanese) -- December 31

    The family gathers to get ready to celebrate the new year. They clean house (susu harai), put things in order and decorate. In the evening they have toshikoshi soba (buckwheat noodles) and then go to temple to make wishes known to buddhist or shinto divinities. At midnight, in all Buddhist temples, the bell (bonsho) is rung 108 times to announce the new year.

About the Submitter: This piece was originally submitted by Susan Dunn, MA Clinical Psychology, The EQ Coach, who can be reached at sdunn@susandunn.cc, or visited on the web.

Copyright 2000-2003 CoachVille, LLC. May be distributed if full attribution is given and copyright notice is included.

topten.org is a service of CoachVille.com, the leader in coach training.

If you have friends or do business with people from other cultures, show them global sensitivity by respecting their holidays and traditions. Many business deals are lost because of simple cultural misunderstandings. To learn “How to Succeed in the International Arena” call 405-341-3216 today or visit me on the web at http://www.protocolplus.net/seminar/international.html.

The Coach’s Corner – Never assume anything.

A doctor’s telephone rang one night, awakening him from fitful slumber. It was one of his regular patients, a young man in a wild state of alarm. “My wife, Doctor!” he shouted. “It’s her appendix. You’d better come around quick!” The doctor sighed and told the young man to go back to bed. “Give her some bicarbonate or ginger ale, and I’ll look in tomorrow,” he said. “She doesn’t have appendicitis.”

The husband became even wilder, insisting that she did too have appendicitis. “We’ll, she can’t have appendicitis!” the doctor shouted. “I took her appendix out three years ago, and I never heard of anyone having two appendixes.” “Ever hear of anybody having two wives?” the young man asked bitterly. The doctor went around right away and it was a good thing he did, because the second wife did have appendicitis. – Adapted from The New Yorker.

The doctor did not listen well – he listened to the words and jumped the gun with a judgment. Active listening involves clarifying what the other person says, noticing body language, and noticing the feelings behind the words.

Coaching questions:
  • Do you listen to others with an agenda in mind?
  • Do you actively listen and clarify what you heard?
  • Do you listen for what isn’t said?
  • Do you listen for energy and emotion?
Everything in coaching hinges on listening with your agenda in mind. The coach provides a mirror to be heard unlike any other place in your life. A personal coach may be one of the best investments in your future.

If you would like someone to really listen to you for the sole purpose of meeting your needs, hire me as your coach. Our coaching relationship is powerful, and when the going gets tough we stay in collaboration and work through to the other side. As your coach, you have my word that I am 100% committed to you being powerful, successful and to having the life you want.

To experience three complimentary coaching sessions, please visit http://www.protocolplus.net/schedule.html for information on my Etiquette/Coaching Package.

Quotes of the Month –

“A loving person lives in a loving world. A hostile person lives in a hostile world. Everyone you meet is your mirror.”
         --- Ken Keyes Jr.

“I knew that I was learning one of the most important lessons of my life: that instead of waiting for the perfect opportunity, I should work toward a realization that every opportunity is perfect.”
         --- Susan-Lori Parks

Ask the Expert - Hello, it’s so nice to see you.

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