CHARLES JERMY: Brian O'Hara Earle is truly a Cornellian. In fact, there are 17 Cornell degrees among three generations of his family, and one of his sons is the fourth generation of his family to teach here. His other son is the University Archivist and is sitting right here-- the Peter J. Thaler University Archivist. Although Brian began his studies in the College of Engineering, he subsequently and happily--
BRIAN EARLE: He knows way too much about me.
CHARLES JERMY: --transferred to the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, from which he received his BS degree in Applied Business Management in 1968. After working with his wife as a co-youth director for two years on the Fort Yuma Indian Reservation in Arizona, an experience he says in which they learned far more than they taught and one that gave rise to his active involvement in Cornell's American Indian and Indigenous Studies program, he returned to Cornell for graduate work in Communication and Education.
As a Cornell faculty member in the College of Agriculture and Life Science Department of Communication, Brian taught and advised some 10,000 students. Although his students nicknamed him "the teacher of 1,000 ties," he maxed out at a little over 600 ties. The summer after he retired, he sold 125 at a garage sale, a bad move, he says. He wore a different tie every day of each semester and used the lecture theme, current event, or holiday for their selections-- so Dr. Seuss on Theodore Geisel's birthday, a holiday tie for the week of the holiday, a Dilbert tie when discussing corporate culture, and a $100 bill tie when discussing excessive CEO pay.
In the six years following Brian's official retirement in 2008, he has retired five more times. In 2015, his 45th and final year of formal teaching, out of the 200-plus students he had, 12 were children of former students and/or advisees. Brian developed several popular courses, incorporating current events in each lecture to make course material relevant. He also invited many guest speakers, often alumni of his courses, to enliven discussion.
As someone who truly cared about his students, Brian received numerous awards for his teaching and advising, and these gratify him the most. In fact, many alumni credit Brian as the sole reason they graduated from Cornell, thanks to his encouragement and personal interest in their success. Brian was selected three different years as a Most Influential teacher by three Merrill Presidential Scholars.
To become a Merrill Presidential Scholar you have to be in the top 1% of the senior class, and there are 30 chosen based on leadership and-- what is the other criterion? Service-- leadership and service. Anyway, I don't think anyone has been chosen three times as a Merrill Presidential Scholar.
Brian received the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Professor of Merit, an award his father, [? Wendel, ?] also received; and he received the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, also won by his son Cory; The Carpenter Award for Outstanding University Advising; the Edgerton Career Teaching Award; the Donald C. Burgett Outstanding Advisor Award; the Cornell Greek System Outstanding Faculty Award several times; the Alpha Gamma Rho Brother of the Century; and many others.
Upon his retirement in 2008, The Cornell Daily Sun published a front-page article about his career, an unusual achievement since faculty retirements are rarely covered. Also unprecedented was a Department of Communication letter to all its alumni to announce Brian's retirement and the renaming of its student activities fund as a Brian O. Earle-Kenneth J. Bissett Student Fund. It was Brian's mentoring of Ken Bisset, class of '89, and the comforting of his parents after Ken's tragic death that resulted in a significant bequest to the college.
Brian's activities on campus and in the community in support of young people are numerous, and his outreach efforts, always important to him, have continued in his retirement in more than 10 subject areas, from listening to networking and career development. Brian's other interests are many and include Cornell hockey, Native American issues, trivia, and music. He and his wife usually, but not this year, and their two sons play instruments in the Dryden Band.
Brian also enjoys collecting antiques and special interest automobiles. However, his fleet has been pared down to a 1953 Buick Roadmaster Convertible, a 50th birthday present from his family ad past students, and a 1927 Hudson that he bought when he was 15. He also enjoys the constant need to repair and improve the 1832 Greek revival house in which he lives.
For many years, Brian provided etiquette guidance to students in his extremely popular Business and Professional Speaking class, and that is the subject of his lecture. So tonight let's see how well we've learned our manners. Brian Earle, [INAUDIBLE]. And manners, they do matter.
BRIAN EARLE: Thank you, Chuck. He clearly has been talking to a lot of people to put that together. So thank you again. And one thing you didn't mention is that we were in grad school together. And I won't mention the year because it would indicate exactly how old we are. But a lot of those words, really, it's time and grade is part of it, and I'm really old. So that's where we're going on some of that.
But some of you might know that there are actually three Brian Earles [INAUDIBLE], and one is also closing down the summer session with the last concert of the year, the other Brian Earle, jazz clarinet. And then there's the Brian Earl who is the new basketball coach. Can you play with my mic?
CREW: Yes. You sounded a little muffled. There you go.
BRIAN EARLE: Thank you. Oh, that's much better. But I'm not tall enough to be him. So I did get a congratulatory note from the sports editor of the New York Post, however.
But instead you're getting me, the retired Brian Earle. And the unfortunate part about today is I've seriously put 20 pounds of potatoes in a five-pound bag. So at times, I'm going to move through slides pretty quickly. I'm sure they'll be posted somewhere so you can look at them again later.
But civility and manners matter, so welcome to "Etiquette Survivor." I'm a little nervous that this show is off the air. I'm going to have to change my shtick. But again, ever so briefly, I'm going to tell you a little bit about how I became interested in manners and civility, talk just a little bit about the bad news that's out there, some things we can do to improve it all, and then finally, the benefits, or the good news.
So when Bud asked me to do this, one of the first things he did, I think within a day, is he sent me a link to a great news article on manners from the Wall Street Journal. So I put up a feed to civility in the news. And it just got more and more depressing, honest to God. It was all incivility. It was not civility. And my family made me promise that I would not mention politics at all this evening. So we'll stay away from the incivility of politics, but I think you all know what I'm talking about it. It has not been good.
So I'm going to try to keep it on the light side instead. So remember the lack of civility, and this is the last I'll mention this, is the inhumanity is coming at an extraordinarily high cost to all of us. And it's real people that are involved. It's not just something you read. It's real people. And I think we need to recognize that and challenge ourselves to be that much better, stronger, and more civil to all those around us. And maybe that will have that butterfly effect and do more with the rest of the world.
But here are a couple of those things that I picked up. "Let's Give Good Manners and civility a Chance," that was in The Seattle Times just this week. "Civility, It's Not Just About You," and here again, the notion that you may think that you can just do your own thing, but you're affecting others, and that was from a small publication in Wisconsin. "Good Manners and Civility in America Are on Decline," and this was from MarketWatch and the Wall Street Journal.
National poll-- this is done every single year for the last six years by Weber Shandwick. So this is one that you might want to actually look at and see some of the statistics that they've come up with. It was done in January of this year. And right now, though the 70% of the population that they surveyed, and it was over 1,000, so it was a good [? end, ?] say that incivility in the country is at crisis levels. Nearly all, so 95%, say civility is a problem, and 74% saying civility has declined in the past few years. And with 67% saying it's a major issue or problem.
The same poll, incivility consequences to society-- increase in violent behavior, increased bullying or cyber bullying, discrimination and unfair treatment, humiliation and harassment, intimidation and threats. And all of these they feel are to some degree related to our incivility to each other. Another poll-- this comes out of the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago, also supported by the AP. This study was done in March-- again, about 1,000 people. This time they really worked harder at getting a real sample, so they use a survey platform that also brings in cell phones.
If you just use landlines, you tend to get a lot of gray-haired people who are a much different demographic than the real population. So this is a good survey. And again, for this one 74% of Americans feel that we've become more ill-mannered in the last 30 years. 68% disrespectful tone of political campaigns, and I promise I won't go there. And 23% of those polled had used the F-word daily. So almost 1/4 of those 1,000 polled, around 250 people, had used the F-word daily.
So I did a little search of F-word-- not that way, but just in surveys. And one of the big ones that came up was that the Parents Television Council. And this one was a little scary because they were looking at it from the perspective of children. And you'll notice that the use of the F-word on Fox is up 269%. Over all the networks it was used 111 times in the 8:00 PM slot, up from 10, 156 times in the 9:00 PM slot, up from the only one. And this was over the space of five years, 2006 to 2011.
That's pretty scary when you think of the children that are watching television at 8, 10 o'clock. And probably more of them watch Fox than the other networks. So I'm hoping that maybe they're downloading material instead. And this was just another piece from The Cornell Sun.
I was asked by a Sun reporter if I felt what I was doing in class, teaching social behavior, was legitimate? Should you really be doing that? Shouldn't you just be teaching your subject matter and your research and not talk about the notion of how you should behave? And I said, heck, yes, I think I should be doing this. And this particular reporter followed up with a survey from the Association of American Colleges and Universities, that the majority of faculty and students agree that teaching social and personal responsibilities has a place in the classroom, however, very few people have been doing it. And they interviewed three of us for this article-- Richard Baer, some of you may know, who taught wonderful course in ethics and natural resources.
But all of us agreed, and it was really an interesting process to go through. So what can we do to change in these difficult times? You've got to take ownership of your behavior. I want you to just think about the answer to these three questions. I complimented someone today by-- and everyone of us should compliment someone else on a daily basis. And you ought to it more than once.
I showed I was grateful today by-- and here again, we live in an incredibly successful, strong nation. By any measure, we are ahead of the competition, and we should be grateful for being here and being part of that. I showed respect to others today by-- so what did you do to respect another person's opinion?
When we have such polarizing statements out there about differences in our population, remember that the genetic difference in every one of us, from skin tone and hair and everything else, is minute. It's fractions of a percent that is actually different. So why should we be treating others so poorly? So these actions affect both the giver and the receiver. So if you do this, you're going to feel better. You will continue the actions and activity, and you'll be a role model for the person to whom you've given the respect, the compliment, or whatever.
Other simple steps-- pay attention to others, acknowledge others, think the best of others, listen to others, be inclusive of others, speak kindly in everything you do, and don't speak ill. These are from Pier Forni, and I've been following his work since the late '90s. I actually included him in a lecture probably in '98 or '99 and have continued since then. But he started the Civility Project at Johns Hopkins University.
He's really an Italian History scholar, but he studied one of the Italian philosophers, and that got him involved in thinking about the notion of civility. And John Hopkins, bless their heart, has embraced him, and he teaches the students, the faculty, and does workshops around the world at this point.
Be a "high story" person. You can choose to be a high story or a low story person, and this comes out of research from SHRM, the Society for Human Resources-- anyway, it's out of [? Iowa-- ?] Society for Human Research Management? I should know that. But in any case, high story organizations are ones where people are proud of what they do. They're proud of their history. They're proud of their heritage.
Can anyone think of a high story organization, one where virtually everyone that you hear quoted in the news or talked to or whatever is proud of that background and history? Shout one out.
AUDIENCE: Bell Labs.
BRIAN EARLE: Bell Labs, boy are you old. No, I'm just-- no, actually, one of my best friends worked at Bell Labs until he retired.
AUDIENCE: Morgan Stanley.
BRIAN EARLE: Morgan Stanley? I don't know Morgan Stanley well enough. Cornell, I think, is a good one, although it always disappoints me when I run across students who are unhappy with their experience here. I think somehow we've let them down if that's occurred. Almost all the high-tech companies have these high story backgrounds-- Dell starting in dorm room, Microsoft by two college dropouts, [? Wang ?] actually started in a garage. So they remember that. They think of it. Then they talk about it.
How about a low story organizations? People-- you go to the break room, and they're whining. They're complaining. They're bitching. They're unhappy with their management. They're [? unhappy ?] [? with ?] what goes on.
BRIAN EARLE: Government-- all right, and here again, low story organizations are predominantly from governmental agencies or ones where there isn't a lot of advancement or possibility for advancement. The term "going postal" comes from postal workers who have a grouch or a gripe of one kind or another and go in and blow everyone away. But the DMVs, and I'm proud to say the DMV in Cortland county and Tompkins County are fabulous.
I'm not so sure as you get closer to New York City whether that would be true. But they really don't follow this particular guideline. Millennials have been referred to as "Generation Rude." And I'm not sure whether Carleton Kendrick was the one who actually coined this word, but it's in his book, Take Out Your Nose Ring, Honey, We're Going to Grandma's. And he's a family therapist, and it's really a good book. But is there anything about Millennials, so individuals under 25, that would lead them to be called Generation Rude? Anybody, shout it.
Cell phone use-- all right.
BRIAN EARLE: Rejecting other opinions, great.
BRIAN EARLE: An attitude of entitlement-- wow, this is a great audience.
BRIAN EARLE: A lack of care of customer service. I think you're dead-on on that one as well. But poor netiquette-- using the internet poorly. There used to be a site called Juicy Campus, where people could make horrendous statements about someone totally anonymously. Fortunately, that's disappeared.
Cell phone use and proliferation-- my wife and I, we were at The Heights actually, and someone was on their phone their entire dinner. They never got off the phone. And afterwards we were really sorry we didn't tell one of the wait persons, hey, tell this person to take it outside because it affected everybody.
Abusive language-- and we've already mentioned profanity and its increase, that's pretty pervasive. Self-centeredness and entitlement-- the gentleman in the back, right on. Rudeness to service providers-- and I would include teachers as part of that. I've had to, the last eight years I taught, I had to have a no-laptop no-cell phone zone in my class. And I could have bought one of those little things that cuts it completely for that room, I would have done it. But it probably would have interfered with others.
But I post everything. I told my students, look, I want you to pay attention to me and think about the content. And every once in a while, I'd get to a point, like the SHRM example, where I couldn't remember something. I'd say, somebody look this up for me really quickly. And they just loved the excuse to get their cell phones out.
But road rage is another example of something that's increasing. I actually-- you can't see this, but the last segment of my cartoon tie here is a road rage one, where I'm yelling and screaming. And my license plate is RR for Road Rage. That was a cartoon tie done by one of my students as a thank you.
But the AAA has been keeping stats on road rage, and it really has gone up every single year since they started taking it. Now, the face of road rage-- and this is contextual. So the face of road rage really varies by what area of a state or country you're part of. So in this particular one, the prime culprit is someone 35 to 50 driving a blue BMW. Now, I drive a blue BMW, but I'm out of the demographic, so I'm safe.
But the scary, scary part of this is the 11%. This is out of 790 drivers, 11% always or sometimes carried a gun, usually loaded, in their vehicle. So you can see how road rage can escalate horribly. But to show you how it varies by area of the country, what do you think the typical vehicle involved in road rage is in Texas?
BRIAN EARLE: A black Ford F-150, so it's not a blue BMW. Some other examples-- investment banker licked his fork at a client dinner and lost a $30 million portfolio. A prominent attorney scratched the back of his head with his fork during a fancy dinner. Also noticed-- Philadelphia groom's pager went off in the middle of the ceremony. I noticed Evan was married recently, and he made sure his cell phone was far from the ceremonial area.
A few more-- anyone know what this little item is on the upper left?
AUDIENCE: Salt cellar.
BRIAN EARLE: Salt cellar, beautiful. A student who saw salt cellars on a table thought it was something you snort, and was thinking marvelously the generosity of the host, until someone pointed out what was going on. A student at the Ritz Carlton, after the job interview, emptied the minibar. And when the recruiter mentioned it to the campus career office on Monday, they called him in, and he said, I thought it was like the soap and the shampo-- you just take it home.
Now, the Ritz Carleton does not put prices on the items in that mini bar, so it was probably $10 for every bottle of beer. It went up from there. And finally, Generation X, the Millennials have been seen at very important events with white socks or no socks, and honestly socks is probably the last thing we should worry about because it's gotten really the Wild West out there, as for socks go. But even in high places-- what's wrong with this picture?
BRIAN EARLE: This is the North Carolina women's lacrosse team National Championships being recognized by Bush. And about half of them were wearing flip-flops, which lead to this-- no flip-flops in the White House. It was a whole campaign that someone put together with bumper stickers and pins, and I don't think they were referring to the shoes.
Here's another one. What's Bill Gates doing wrong? He's got his hand in his pocket while he's shaking the hand of the President of South Korea-- bad move. And this one went viral on the internet for a lot of reasons. What's Obama doing wrong here in Japan? He's bowing and shaking hands. First place, the conservative media just went berserk saying that he should never bow to anyone. But he certainly shouldn't bow and shake hands at the same time. You can do one. You can do the other. That's fine.
ABC News poll-- 85% say a simple please and thank you would make things better. The interesting thing about this is that if eight out of 10, or 80%, think it's the failure of the parents, there've got to be a few parents in that 80% that are responsible, that aren't taking the hit for it. Impact on the bottom line-- this was an excellent survey again done but with a big N, almost 800 people, by Christine Pearson as one of the researchers. And it affects the bottom line.
So in this case 12% of the people that experience rude behavior on the job, quit. And if you're working for a high-end company, that could be a $60,000, $70,000 $100,000 training cost. That's a sunk cost that you lose when that person quits. 52% reported losing work time. So they're crying in the bathroom or doing something that affected their ability to do their work. 22% reported that they purposely decrease their work effort when they experienced rude behavior. And over 78% of those surveyed said that incivility had increased in the last 10 years.
So the case against against, or, I guess, for incivility or against civility is pretty strong, and it's out there in many, many different places. And I went back in time just to see if this was around a long time. And Peter Canisius complained about the behavior of students before he was a saint. But I'm not sure they were behaving much differently than they do in College Town during senior week. But he felt that they were a little bit out of control.
Are manners just old fashioned and out of touch? I get asked this one a lot, especially from the younger set that say, this is crazy. This as an old person's thing. And it's become an interesting exchange on listservs of individuals who are trainers or involved in teaching manners and etiquette. And yes, some of the old standards are shifting. There's no question about that.
But rules related to rude behavior will always be in style and appropriate. You can't be unkind or rude to others. You just can't. Examples of the change, though, are holding doors for a female is no longer an absolute. I held the door for a young woman at Olin Library recently. And she said, I didn't need your profanity help. So I'm a little gun shy about holding doors now. And the other one is it used to be a male would always take off their cap in the presence of the lady. Certainly not necessary in most informal environments, but I think you should still take it off inside.
It drives me crazy to go to a really nice restaurant and see somebody at the next table with their baseball cap on.
BRIAN EARLE: [? And ?] backwards on top of that, OK. And I think you can all fill in your own examples of--
BRIAN EARLE: Which?
BRIAN EARLE: Oh, yeah. We're not going to go there, though. So there would be far too many examples on both sides. The fun part-- so a brief reminder again, these are manners you've already been taught. So your grandmother, your parents, your school teachers have probably mentioned all these to you at one time or another. And I really got involved in this 25 years ago when I got asked by students, what should I have done at this interview luncheon, or what should I have done at this wine and cheese thing, when x happened? And they were really concerned about whether they had done the right thing.
One of my students, and intern, was taken out for drinks after her first week of an internship, and she was only 19. She panicked the rest of her summer that that was a test that her boss was trying to see if she'd fess up that she was under age and not drink. So it comes with a lot of different baggage as we go through this.
But I'll talk about the definition and value of etiquette, the place setting, which is a little daunting, tips on ordering unusual foods and working with the waitstaff. And I really stress working with the waitstaff. But the term etiquette actually evolved from Louis the XIV. He was upset at people's behavior. He had his minions write up a list of rules. And in order to be in his presence you had to show this list of rules, and that indicated to the gendarme that you were going to abide by them. And the old French word for a pamphlet or ticket is the evolution of etiquette.
But those rules have really been around for 4,000 years before Louis the XIV. The pharaohs also had lists of rules of behavior in certain situations. And these are not to make life difficult for us. They're to have an expectation of what we should do in a variety of situations. It's to make you more comfortable. It's to make those around you more comfortable. It's not a set of invariant rules that you must follow.
The first book published in the United States was 1715. And if you can read the fine print, this is about parents teaching children through their age of minority so they have good manners. Manners is Latin for "manus," or hand. So you can see that it has a lot to do with what we do with ourselves.
Social versus business etiquette-- social etiquette is based on age and gender. So if you're in a social environment, your grandmother is the queen of the engagement. Business model is based on the military model. So you pay deference to the person in highest authority. It doesn't matter how old they are. It used to be women had trouble in the work environment because of the confusion between the role of deference to gender and deference to your actual rank. So that has really pretty much disappeared at this point. But in business you pay deference to the client, number one, but also to whoever is of higher rank than you are.
Remember, you're judged by these competencies, sometimes in really funny ways. We had a student who was really a good student. He was on his fifth interview, I think, at Goldman Sachs. The fifth interview is where they pick you for your department. He drove down because he couldn't get a good plane thing. So he started out probably at 3:00 in the morning. He started his interviews at 9:00.
They took him to lunch. As soon as his sandwich was served, he started eating, and the recruiter got a note from the vice president, who was there, saying, this individual will not be working for us-- boom, end of story. So at the point where he was really ready to be selected for a particular department, he got canned.
Another one, CEOs say how you treat the waitstaff is like a magical window into your soul. Because everyone kind of sucks up to the CEO, but how you treat your subordinates is a tremendous indicator of how you will treat others in every situation. So don't run the wait staff. Be nice to them. You never know who's watching and who may be evaluating your behavior.
MIT's-- it's not their career service office, but it's something like that. I was told that their students performed so poorly after they graduated that they really needed help on social interactions and dining and whatever else. So MIT put together a six-week charm school. It involved first impressions, dress for success, social etiquette, and then it finished with a big formal dining meal, where they had to dress up and behave appropriately. So I went to the charm school site just to look and see what they taught. And they were really serious about it.
But some other acts-- the seating, remember, to turn off your phone, any electronic device. Never put anything on the table. This goes back to the time of the plague. You paid deference to your guests by covering the rat droppings and wax and dirt and crud with a clean cloth. And in turn, your guests were not to put their helmets, their knives, their weapons and whatever on the table and violate the sanctity of that cloth.
So that's kind of an odd throwback, but it's really something you should consider. Unless it's a working lunch, where you have to have a tablet or something, don't put anything on the table. That's a real hard for people with cell phones, but you should not be sitting at a meal looking at your phone. So put it away.
We actually had an incident where our two sons were on couches at a 90-degree angle texting each other. So we had to put an end to that. You wait for the host or hostess to be seated. You follow their lead with everything. So whoever you're paying deference to, you wait for them to unfurl their napkin. You wait for them to start each course. And that's really important.
If you're in doubt as to who is in charge or what's going on, then simply wait and let somebody else make the first move. I do a lot of dining etiquette events, particularly in central New York, around the meal. And I always ask the career office to have faculty and staff members at each table. And I watch and see if the students will delay starting eating until the older faculty member or staff member starts. And 75% of the time they don't. They simply haven't learned that particular lesson very well.
The place setting-- remember, drink is five letters, right is five letters. Everything that you drink will be to the right of the center of the plate, period. So coffee, water, wine, everything will be the right of the center of the plate. Food is four letters. Left is four letters. So easy-- your bread plate, appetizers, if they're served to the side, will all be served to the left of the center of your plate.
Other ways remember this-- my son over here, who's a very fine German car aficionado, says it's easy. It's BMW-- Bread, Meal, Water. And I had a debutante who said that everyone in her debutante class was taught to make a small B with this hand and a small D with this hand. And you could put it under the tablecloth and look down and you know that bread is to your left and your drink is to your right. So there are a lot of different ways to do this.
But again, it's not an invariant set of rules. I was at a dinner on a round table, where it's really hard to tell that two faculty members were guests of two business people. The business person handed the rolls to the faculty member opposite me. He took a roll and put it on the bread plate of the person to his right. That person took a roll and put it on my bread plate and looked me right in the eye like, don't you screw this up. And that's good etiquette. It's making people comfortable.
Instead of telling him, oh you used the wrong bread plate, you twit, you just go with it. But who needs all this silverware? It's possible somebody in this room has actually seen this place setting. This is the White House. And I know [? Sivanthi ?] [? Myrick ?] has seen this place setting. People in Ithaca do get that opportunity. So I hope everyone gets this chance sometime.
But here's a more typical place setting. How many forks are up there?
BRIAN EARLE: Who said six? Raise your hand. You can see less than 5% of you figured out there are six. The outlier, there's a fork on the right side. The dessert fork is above it. But you have an appetizer fork, a salad fork, a meat fork, a fish fork, and then a fish knife, and a meat knife. And sometimes at a very nice restaurant-- and a pasta spoon-- they will take away the silverware that you don't need for whatever you've ordered. But most restaurants do not have the time and resources to do that. So you'll be left in some cases with well over half of your silverware.
One of my students sent me this picture, saying it could be much worse. So you see here there's lots of funky little forks. So that means there's probably some seafood involved or some really specialized appetizers. You see there's a bone plate. You have your own salt cellar and your own pepper. So this is pretty high end.
I actually receive a newsletter occasionally from a silverware company. And there are 75 different types of silverware-- not different designs, but types for different functions at a meal. So you can see if you were putting all 75 of those out on one place setting, it would be pretty bizarre.
I'll do that one.
[MUSIC - WEIRD AL YANKOVIC, "EAT IT"]
The reason I use that, especially with the younger set, is the last line-- if you don't like it, you can't send it back. If you're in any situation where you're being evaluated, it's not about the food. It's about the evaluation. It's about how you present yourself to the other parties there. So you can't be overly fussy about your food. You just have to suck it up. If you really don't like it, my recommendation is cut a little bite of it, stir it around your plate, talk to someone, cut another bite, stir it around your plate, talk to someone. So it doesn't look like you didn't touch it. So it won't be insulting or make the host nervous.
So you see this. What is it?
Somebody got it-- chicken with mushrooms. And Claude either owns the place or he's the cook. But if I see a Chinese or Japanese menu all in calligraphy, I have no clue. So then ask the waitstaff, is there a chicken entree? Is there something kosher? I'm vegetarian. Or I'm vegan. And they know what's available in the kitchen. They'll take care of you.
Remember, a good host has the guests order first. So don't go absolutely top end. Unless, if you pay attention, a good [INAUDIBLE]. The surf and turf here is fabulous, or you can't leave here without having their super stupendous dessert, whatever it might be. So listen carefully.
[INAUDIBLE]. Uh-oh, poor choices-- fried chicken, spaghetti, barbecued ribs. I have a son that will order barbecued ribs whenever they're available. But good choices are chicken breast, sirloin tips, tortellini. So you don't want to look like this person. And tortellini, you can see, is easy to eat, as long as you don't get it with some super sloppy sauce.
Some unusual foods-- these were all brought up to me in class, every single one of them, where a student-- A, I appreciate their willingness to share it with the class and not feeling like they were an idiot. So when someone brings something up in class, we discuss it. So what's tripe?
BRIAN EARLE: Good. You're in the mood for seafood. You see this on the menu.
The key here is "prairie." Sweetbreads-- this one is a little confusing because it's been morphed into covering a lot of different things. But the Culinary Institute of America says officially it's pancreas or thymus, so a very specific organ. This one is named after how it looks on your plate. So it kind of melts out on the plate, just really soft-- spleen. And lights-- I know if you're an Indiana Jones fan, you think eyeballs. But that's not it. So anyone else?
BRIAN EARLE: What?
BRIAN EARLE: No. Again, named after how it feels, looks, so it's lungs-- a light, spongy meat that you eat. And headcheese-- finally, you know this one. But you say, well, I wouldn't ever order any of these things or get tripped up by it. But remember, we are becoming such an international body of cuisine, that you may be invited by a good friend or a neighbor or someone who's moved to town to their favorite ethnic restaurant. And in other countries they eat every part of the animal.
So you have pig's ears, pig snout, pig tail, pig feet. Every part of the animal is used and eaten as part of that particular ethnic cuisine. When I go to a Chinese restaurant and see chicken feet, they bring them out on a plate standing right up. And my dad was a poultry scientist, so I know where those chicken feet have been, and it's just hard for me to get over that.
Artichokes-- there's a headhunter who takes every client out to lunch, orders them an artichoke, does not order it for himself. His philosophy is if they are not sophisticated enough to eat an artichoke, he will not represent them. So these are individuals looking at $200,000 jobs who can't eat an artichoke. They lose the position.
I put in cherry tomatoes because you need to disarm them. You need to eat them while there's still something on your plate. Don't save them until there's nothing there because they'll just, fwp, across the table. So the idea is while there's still salad there, gently poke them in the middle with a fork and then cut them in half. That totally disarms them.
Clams and oysters I got asked about because someone said, well, how are you supposed to eat Clams Casino? And I said, if they come on a plate with no utensil, you can slurp them right out of the shell. But if they come with the utensil, you're expected to eat them with the utensil. So watch out for those little funky forks.
Corn on the cob-- student invited to New York City, they took him to dinner for American Feast in February. And it was turkey, corn on the cob, stuffing. Whoop, have to be careful with this. And he said, what do you do with corn on the cob when you're trying to be neat? And I said, cut it off the cob. Just hold it up, cut it off, and eat it with your fork.
These are shish kabobs. We were at a restaurant, where two gentlemen whose necks were bigger than their heads, ordered shish kabob and proceeded to eat it off the skewer-- so, fwoom. And within 10 minutes, everybody in the restaurant is, did you see that? It was pretty grim. So the idea is as soon as it's served, go to a nice hard piece, usually a piece of meat or a pineapple. Pull them all off the skewers-- everything off the skewer onto your plate. Put the skewer on the back side of the plate and eat it as you would a regular entree.
Sushi consumption has gone up roughly 10% a year for almost as long as I've been measuring this. That means that there's a lot more out there. I went to the sushi chef at Wegmans and said, what is the biggest offense that you've seen in the consumption of sushi? What do you think he said?
BRIAN EARLE: I think I heard it from somebody.
BRIAN EARLE: The whole piece thing is a little problematic. A good sushi chef makes it a single bite, so you eat the whole thing. Because if you try to bite it in half, it breaks up. But he said, I can't stand the way people pour soy sauce on these delicacies. He said, the idea behind the ginger or wasabi or soy sauce is to very gently dip just a corner of it in the sauce, place it on your tongue so the flavors mingle a little bit, and then eat it. He said it's a very delicate, specific process.
Soup-- I'm not going to belabor this. Don't blow on it. Don't lift it up. And you don't have to put your nose in the bowl. The idea is to still keep your posture and bring the spoon to your mouth, rather than leaning your head into the bowl. I went to West Point and watched them eat a meal there. And the West Point cadets have to eat every meal absolutely at a 90-degree angle to their legs. And it was interesting to watch.
Some reminders-- napkin, you wait for the host. If you're leaving temporarily, you can put it on your chair. When you're done with the meal, you can put it to the left of the plate. Or if the plate's been removed, you can put it in the center of your setting. In Europe waiters are trained that if someone leaves the napkin on their chair, it means they're not returning, that they are, for some reason, unsatisfied with the service. So you need to be aware of some of those issues as well.
BRIAN EARLE: It's bad to leave it on the chair when you're done. It's also considered less proper to put it in the plate. You should put it off to the side. It just makes it easier for the waitstaff to handle things. Remember, regardless of your age, and maybe the older you get the more you spill-- I'm not sure-- but you will spill. Just do the best you can to cover it up, take care of it.
If you have a foreign object in your food, you take it out the way it went in. So if it's a fish bone, very gently put it back on the fork and put on the side of your plate. Remember that good etiquette is making people comfortable. So you don't put your napkin up and hack into it and make everyone at the table think, oh, what's going on here? Do it as subtly and easily as you can. If you're eating olives that have pits, with your fingers, you can take the pits out with your fingers.
So the last thing-- the thing your mother told you is probably true. Small bites so you can talk. Mouth closed so you don't offend others. Eat slowly. I took a leadership class at the Culinary Institute of America to look at leadership in the hospitality industry. It was a five-course meal starting at 6:00, and then we were supposed have a seminar at 8:00. At 6:20 the maitre d' came to me and says, Mr. Earle, I'm so sorry the kitchen cannot keep up with your students. They motored through two courses in 20 minutes, and they had three to go, and there was no way the kitchen could get them served in time. So eat slowly. Just behave.
There's [INAUDIBLE] that my wife will absolutely not invite back to the house because he eats so fast and so noisily. And anytime he was invited, he's done 10 minutes before the rest of us are even getting going. The things your grandmother told you may or may not be true, dependent on the culture. How many have been part of the clean plate club, where you were admonished to clean your plate? Raise your hands. I Is there anybody in the room who was told to leave a little something on your plate?
In a number of cultures leaving something on your plate indicates to the host or hostess that you're full. And if you keep eating, they will try to keep bringing you food as long as you keep cleaning your plate. So it's a good idea to check the protocol websites for different countries if you're going to do a lot of traveling.
Passing-- always offer an item before you take something from a plate of rolls, for example. It's even best to pass it and hope it gets back. But ideally, you pass to your right, but this is another one of those rules, where if someone does it wrong, except in our household-- I get teased about this. You don't call him on it. You just accept it. It's no big deal. So pass to the right. It's fairly easy to remember because the majority of us are right handed. So just think of passing to the majority.
You always salt and pepper together. Although 90% of the time someone's going to ask for salt, it's considered a single condiment. Be careful with master utensils. You shouldn't whack it on your plate. The goal here is not give any possibility of cross-contamination. So you don't put the butter on your roll from a master butter dish. You don't put the serving spoons or forks on your plate because it may contaminate the item.
Don't season your food before you taste it. This is JC Penney, and JC Penny and Henry Ford both, if someone seasoned their food before they ate and they were in the process of management evaluations, they would not be promoted because their philosophy was that you are making decisions before you have all the information.
But even more importantly now, it's considered poor form for the chefs. the chefs in 90% of the places you eat have worked extraordinarily hard to make every dish and every part of the meal special. And they've seasoned it in a manner that they believe is appropriate. The high-end restaurants in many places now are not even putting salt and pepper on the table because they don't want you A, to consume too much sodium. But B, they don't want you to mess up the flavor that the chef has put together.
I was in a dining discussion on North Campus, and you'd watch the freshman, whatever was on their plate, they just took the salt shaker upside down and motored over it. This is another one. You don't cut a roll or a slice of bread. You break it up, and this goes back again to tradition. You break it up into a couple pieces, butter them, eat them, and then go back in and grab a couple more.
Don't overdo it at a buffet. You can always go back. I think all of us can think of someone, where they walked past us with 120 shrimp on their plate. That's not necessary. Don't pig out on the most expensive item. I was with two gentlemen at a one-plate buffet, where you've got one plate. And one was telling the other, if you stack the broccoli up around the whole edge of the rim, you get an extra two inches on-- so don't want that.
Don't mix your food up on the plate. This again, it goes back to the dedication to the chef. At home it's fine to swish your piece of meat through the mashed potatoes and eat it together. But at a restaurant eat them separately so those delicate flavors are enhanced and maintained.
[MUSIC - UB40, "RED RED WINE"]
I'm showing my age. But how many know what group that is?
BRIAN EARLE: UB40. We have about 5% of you. That' said.
The presentation-- and I went to a wine steward, a very good wine steward, to ask about this. He said the number one thing is check the label. He said if we have a dyslexic server and you order a '98 and they pull an '89, you're not getting that '89 for the '98 price. He said, if we uncork it, you pay for it. And that may be $100 more because you didn't check the label and make sure it was what you ordered. He said that's the big thing. And he said the rest of this is garbage.
The look and feel of the cork-- he said that in our lifetime very shortly we're all going to have composite corks or even screw-top bottles. He said it's better for the wine. It's hard to get good cork. But you're sniffing and smelling the cork, feeling it to make sure it hasn't dried out. If someone stored the wine upright and allowed the cork to dry out, it could definitely affect the wine. But I must say in my long lifetime I have never received a bad bottle of wine, and that doesn't mean my tastes are really bad. It doesn't spoil very often. It has to be treated really poorly.
But you smell the cork, make sure it doesn't smell bad. He'll pour a little bit in your glass. The idea is for you to swirl it just a little bit. Watch the legs of the wine come down the glass. That tells you it's slow, it's sweet. If it's quick, it's a dry wine, just like you ordered. And swirling it gets the aroma in the glass. And then stick your nose right down in it, sniff it, and then take a sip, swish it around your mouth. Make sure it's what you desire. And when you say yes, I'll take it, the wine steward may serve the table for you, or he may hand you the bottle. And that means you are the one to go around the table and serve it. You don't just serve yourself and pass it over to somebody else. Take, again, advantage of that.
You hold stemware by the stem. It's made that way on purpose. The wine is served at the temperature where it is most pleasant. If you hold it like a baseball, you're changing the temperature of the wine. I've seen so many people do that. You're not going to drop it if you hold it just below the base of the bowl.
When pouring wine, fill it to the widest part of the glass. Usually that's about half way up. That allows you, again, to get the full aroma of the wine so you can really smell it. It lets the wine breathe. And you can always get seconds. You don't to fill it up to a 1/4 inch of the top, as some students do.
Remember, summary-- the wait staff, really try to use their knowledge and watch what they're doing. They're going to serve from the left. They're going to take off from the right. So during those portions of the meal, just don't make any sudden moves, and you'll save yourself a lot of grief. Also, the drinks will be served from the right because that's where they are.
Use their knowledge. Get to know them. Think about it. We were in Florence at the same hotel for a number of nights. We talked to the wait staff. We had the same gentleman. And he learned I was a teacher. And the second night he said, I know you're a teacher. We have some wonderful local wines that are a much better price. And he brought us local wines that were 1/3 the price of everything on the menu. And he was wonderful. And then he told us he sent his sons to a great university in the United States.
So what would a wait person in Florence consider the world's best university?
BRIAN EARLE: Notre Dame.
But if we hadn't talked to him, if we hadn't got to know the individual, we wouldn't have found out about his family and had the benefit of his knowledge. So talk to people. Remember to treat them with respect and professionalism. At the close, remember the place setting, when you're done, place your silverware at 10 to four on the plate. The MIT charm school says place your silverware at 120 degrees, which I thought was amusing.
But remember, the bill, whoever invited you should pay the bill. If it's a social situation and there are eight of you going out. And you know somebody is going to have five drinks and you're having a salad and water, then you better make arrangements beforehand to not split the bill equally. So that's your job. Tipping-- what's the average tip in the United States right now, according to the Cornell School of Hotel Administration?
BRIAN EARLE: I hear 15%, 20%. It's 17.78%. But actually, I don't think any of you are figuring that out. So it means about half of the tipping is at 15%, and half a 20%. Higher end places, usually at 20%. You should never not tip the wait staff. I mean that sincerely. They're paid less than the minimum wage because they're expected to make money on tips. And if you stiff them, especially on the bill, they're responsible for that. But if you give them no tip, it's really difficult. If you don't like something, complain to the maitre d', and you never know what might happen.
Communication-- I'm going to rush through these. But basic thing here is pay attention to people. Don't do Sudoku and Facebook when you're in someone else's presence, that's just really rude. Written materials-- I received this email as part of one of my recent business management courses. "Hey, you guys, I know my outline is overdo--" spelled wrong-- "I want to speak to you about capitol--" spelled wrong-- "markets. I need your advise." I'll give him that one. I would prefer a C, but I could go with the S.
"Except my apologies--" he got "accept" wrong. "I wont do this again--" and no students use punctuation anymore, so I've given up on that. "I want to get a good grade in this class. TTFN--" Ta Ta For Now.
I had to go to my resources to figure that one out. I sent it back, said return this to me corrected, and I'll consider it. And I got it back with still the homonyms wrong-- couldn't do it. Again, prompt replies-- you really shouldn't let someone wait on email, and I know my children and family are laughing at this because they're often called-- would you tell your father to answer his email. But do as I say. That prompt replies are always appreciated.
RSVP should be replied to within 24 hours. And if you haven't figured it out yet, reply and say, I'll get back to you as soon as I can, or I'll get back to you in a couple days on that. But you let them know that you received it so people don't worried. Attention to detail always part of this.
Email etiquette-- this one drives me crazy. I'm on a listserv for an organization where they'll start out a string with a particular subject line, and then it changes to a whole different subject, but they keep using the same subject line. So you wonder, did I miss something? So change the subject line. Use it wisely. If you don't put anything in the subject, there are a number of spam filters that kick it right out. It won't even be delivered if there's is no subject line.
But instead of "lunch," say "12:30 is fine," if someone's invited you and asked when is a good time for you. The rest of that is common sense-- no shouting. You don't write in capitals. You start out with the same pleasantries you would in speaking to someone in the hallway. So right now in Ithaca you might ask, I hope you're not spending too much time watering your flowers, or-- we're on a well-- I hope your well is doing OK, or whatever.
If you're writing a mean or nasty or just horrendously angry letter, write it, save it as a draft. Reread it in 12 hours. Odds are you will eliminate a whole bunch of that particular letter. Be careful with Reply All and cc. Some of you may have remembered the two tech people in the Johnson School who replied all to their steamy romance, and within hours were fired. So be careful with that. Plus, they made the national news-- not good.
Social media-- now about 80% of us who are on the net use social media some form. But be careful when you are overly tired, jet lagged, under the weather for any reason. Beer tweeting is now becoming almost as common as a butt tweeting used to be when you sat on your phone and called somebody. This is just one recent example. This is a PR professional. And as she left Heathrow Airport to fly to South Africa, she tweeted this. Look at the number of retweets-- 752 shortly after she left the airport.
When she arrived in South Africa, there was a letter from her boss firing her, and there was a crowd of people waiting to boo her and talk to her inappropriately. If you follow the rest of this string, she got death threats and really got hammered on this. Just be careful. I'm not going to worry about this one, but social media, a nice 3/4 [INAUDIBLE] of the mug shots that I see so many of. And really watch out with tagging things. Use professional email addresses.
I was on the admissions and financial aid committee for five years and chaired it for two. We discovered the admissions officers were keeping a list of the worst email addresses with each entering class. And these are some that actually came from freshman applying to Cornell. And I've kept in touch with one of them, and I'm not going to say who.
With Twitter, use hashtags wisely. Don't do this BOharatheman@Cornell. It should be something really simple, just your initials and your name so people can figure out who it is. It's not a contest to see how many people you have. And you can use some punctuation.
BRIAN EARLE: Don't talk back. For conversation, any time you're going to an event, you should have a 30 second story about who you are. I don't care how old you are. Think about 30 seconds that you can share with others that will involve them in your life activities and make them want to know more about you. And for students we call this an elevator pitch. It might be a little bit longer. But no matter who you are, you should have [INAUDIBLE] that gets people involved in your life.
Smile, nod, grunt appropriately at others so you listen actively. You can talk about the event. You can talk about the weather. You can talk about current topics. Do not talk about politics or religion. And that's a rule that now is so much more important. When asked a question, always answer in at least two sentences. The number of times I'd ask a student, student, how do you like your major? Yep. That tells me nothing. Or, did you get the courses you wanted? Yep. I'm trying to figure out what they had, what they got for courses.
Be aware of international differences. I already mentioned Obama bowing and shaking hands at the same time. Don't use your left hand. In many cultures it's reserved for uncleanly activities. Hand shaking is appropriate generally everywhere. Don't show the sole of your shoe and some cultures. That's really insulting to who it's pointed at. Don't touch individuals without either given permission or being touched first.
Be really careful with gifts. White paper indicates death in some cultures, and we wrap everything in white tissue paper. So just find out. Use the protocol sites that are available to you so that you [? don't ?] make those kind of mistakes.
So take aways-- although we may think there is little we can do to improve civility, we can all be kinder to others. We can all be more respectful, and it can make a real difference. You are role model for all those with whom you interact. So in the next three or four weeks, well, and longer than that-- next two months-- you get in a heated conversation with someone on the opposite side of the political spectrum, really see if you can be as open and as non-confrontational and as polite as possible. And maybe that person will also see the value in doing that.
I mentioned that good etiquette is not an invariant set of rules. There's a wonderful story about the Queen of England at a state dinner, where someone at her table, some commoner-- he was probably an Earl or worse. But in any case, they had finger bowls. And that person reached out and drank out of the finger bowl. And the Queen immediately reached out to her finger bowl and lifted it up and took a sip. And that was her indication to the table, we are not going to make this person uncomfortable. We're not going to make fun of this person. And that particular rule is something we're not going to worry about. They're guidelines. They're to help us understand expectations and do the best we can in a variety of situations.
[MUSIC - COOKIE MONSTER, "C IS FOR COOKIE"]
C is also for conclusion. When you have children, you get the box DVD set of Sesame Street and characters. It's a shame to not use them, but civility and proper etiquette are common sense, honest to god. If you think you're doing the wrong thing, you probably are. If you think that's the right thing to do, again, it's probably right.
It can have a critical impact on our success, personal and professional, at home with our families, and the world around you. I mentioned the butterfly effect, the notion that a butterfly just gently flapping its wings in one part of the world could have an effect around the world in a tiny, tiny way. It takes little effort to be civil and use proper manners, and it should be part of all of our activities, really.
So I want you to get out there, to practice. I want you to enjoy the experience and really see if you can make a difference in particularly the world around you. But overall, if all of us were more civil, the world would certainly be a much better place. Forni, I bring it up again, but he said, "the future of civility in America needn't be dismal. It's not true that nice guys finish last." He said that those smart people in this century are "those individuals and organizations that look at others with inherent value, and they're the ones that will succeed." So he really pushes that.
Winnie the Pooh also said it well, "a little thought for others makes all the difference." And Mahatma Gandhi, "be the change you want to see in the world," to demonstrate it.
I'll hang around and answer questions as long as anyone is interested. I do have a slide of additional information for the overachievers. But Peter Post and his sister have totally revised the Emily Post franchise, if you will. But the rest of these are really good. Mannersmith, by Jodi Smith-- she's a Cornell graduate so I encourage you to follow the Cornellians. So Mannersmith is another website that does really nice work with this. Latitia tissue Baldrige is dead, but she was the protocol manager of the White House. So if you're interested in any cross-cultural issues, you can either google the State Department and what's going on and what's appropriate in different countries or simply google customs, manners and Yugoslavia-- not Yugoslavia-- Uganda or whatever, and you'll get an answer.
I'll hang around up front and answer questions as long as anyone is interested. Thank you. You were a great audience. You had great answers.
Appreciate you coming. Oh, he said, invite questions. So go ahead.
BRIAN EARLE: That was just that particular executive's take on manners. The question was, the student that made it to the fifth interview at Goldman Sachs and was turned down for eating before everyone was served and not paying deference to the executive. That executive clearly felt that that was important manner that that student needed to understand in order to work at Goldman Sachs. They wanted that person to reflect the Goldman Sachs' standard. So that was enough.
AUDIENCE: What are your thoughts [INAUDIBLE].
BRIAN EARLE: Her question is sending condolences by email. This is a tough one. Even in the past four or five years, it was expected that you would send serious condolences by letter-- write it out. But now almost every manners website said any thank you or condolence is better than none at all. So certainly doing it by email is OK. If you want to follow it up and do both, that's even better.
My wife often writes notes, handwritten notes to people. And she gets wonderful feedback from the individuals who receive them. So it is still a good thing to do. Good question. Jean.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] thank you [INAUDIBLE].
BRIAN EARLE: Lack of thank-you notes-- odds that you'll get a thank you for something are slim in this day and age. And I'm really not sure why. But if you look at Ask-- who's the one from Freeville? Ask Amy-- about every three or four weeks there's some parent or grandparent that's not getting a thank you for really wonderful gifts that they've bestowed on their grandchildren or children. It's just not done very often.
There's some rules you can do. You can tell your kids they can't use a toy until they write a thank-you note. We have a wonderful example here in the front row. What are you doing with your thank-you notes?
AUDIENCE: So I have a follow-up question. Do you have to send a thank-you note for a card [INAUDIBLE]?
BRIAN EARLE: Do you have to send a thank you note for a card that doesn't include a gift? So there was no check involved.
AUDIENCE: It was a nice gesture, so should we send a thank-you note [INAUDIBLE]?
BRIAN EARLE: I would put that at sort of the lower end of the list. You could certainly do all the rest. And then if you want to thank them for coming, that would be wonderful. Yeah, they just were married, and they're opening one or two gifts a day, writing the thank-you note before they go on to the next gift. It's just fabulous.
AUDIENCE: Brian, we stopped giving the gifts.
BRIAN EARLE: So you just, no thank you, no gift.
AUDIENCE: No thank you, no gift [INAUDIBLE].
BRIAN EARLE: Yeah, Jody and I have done that with a couple cousins also-- 18, they're cut off.
AUDIENCE: Do you have any sense of the level of civility in the United States versus [INAUDIBLE]?
BRIAN EARLE: His question is do I have any sense of civility in the United States versus other countries? In other countries by measurement of rude behavior or incivil remarks or behavior toward people are significantly ahead of the United States. And who knows why. But countries like Denmark, most of the Scandinavian countries would be ranked much higher than in the US in the use of manners or civility.
Britain has a very civil facade. And even in parliament in Britain, they will say, you, sir, have a foreign object in your ear, or whatever. They do it very, very politely. But they still get the message across.
Anyone else? That's a good question.
BRIAN EARLE: No. He said, is it necessary to fold your napkin after a meal? No, you can just simply place it in whatever manner it ends up to the side of the plate. I'm just saying not put it in the plate and make it messy, but you don't have to fold it up.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] civility [INAUDIBLE]?
BRIAN EARLE: Well, fortunately-- she asked, can I comment on civility in the media? Fortunately, letters to the editor are often edited significantly. So we don't see the absolute worst part of it. But some of them are certainly not appropriate. They cross the boundary of good taste, and they're mean. And anytime you see a mean piece in the media it should be discounted. And part of the problem is we now have far more extremes in the media than we used to.
When I began teaching, we had three networks. And they were all pretty similar, and they all followed pretty much the same rules. And now we have so many absolute fringe networks out there and blogs and so on, that they can do anything they want. And that starts to cloud the rest.
AUDIENCE: Well, you were talking in the beginning about parents and children and children [INAUDIBLE] say please and thank you. [INAUDIBLE] very, very often it's totally obvious not that they're ungrateful or [INAUDIBLE], but they simply have been taught. Do you think that it matters if parents model being polite by please and thank you when they speak to their children?
BRIAN EARLE: Absolutely. And actually, CS Lewis was a person who really thought that parents' rudeness to children was horrible, that they were not modeling the proper behavior. Her comment is shouldn't parents be modeling the behavior to their children? And absolutely, so please and thank you should be a part of the parent's behavior as the role model for others, just as we are role models for all those with whom we interact-- so a great question. Check out CS Lewis. He spoke very directly to that.
BRIAN EARLE: What do you say to a coworker who's been rude to you? In this particular age, there are a number of people would say, let it ride if you can, because you never know how wild and crazy that person might be if you really comment on that rude behavior. So if you can let it go and hope it doesn't happen again, fine. If it's rude behavior that affects your work environment, you can go to a supervisor and have a supervisor handle it.
If it's rude behavior amongst friends, there, usually you can say, I was disappointed the other day when you did x because I felt-- and talk about how you feel about it, not what they did, but how you feel. And often they'll get the message and follow up on it. Oh, sorry.
AUDIENCE: [INAUDIBLE] left-handers?
BRIAN EARLE: Any advice for severe left-handers? Don't go to Muslim countries. That's--
BRIAN EARLE: If you're really severely left handed, you just have to tie it down and stick in your pocket in some cultures so you don't have that problem. My father handled it by becoming totally ambidextrous. He could write his name simultaneously with both hands because he was whacked if he wrote with his left hand in school. That probably didn't happen to you, Art. Anyone else? Go ahead.
AUDIENCE: What about addressing physicians or PhDs [INAUDIBLE]?
BRIAN EARLE: So his question is addressing PhDs or physicians in a social setting. And I assume the question is, do you call them doctor? It would depend on the formality of the event. If you're here at a very Cornell-centric event, then it would be really nice to call them Doctor so-and-so or Professor so-and-so and use their full title. If it's a barbecue or a picnic, kind of pay attention to how they refer to themselves, and you can often follow the clue of the person that's there.
AUDIENCE: What about minors?
BRIAN EARLE: About minors?
BRIAN EARLE: The question again, following up with what's my opinion on minors. And the younger children, they often don't understand titles and the differences. So it's hard to hold them accountable. But if you want to be called Mr. or Doctor, whatever, when you are introduced to them, you tell them. You can call me Dr. Earle, or you can call me Professor Earle, or you can call me Brian.
And with my students over the years, I made an informal [? swag ?] study on this. The more formal the title that students call me, the higher their grade-- honest. It really followed that pretty much straightforwardly. And I don't think it was because I was unhappy with the ones who say, hey, Brian. It's just that those students were a little less intense than the ones that would always call me by title.
BRIAN EARLE: I really don't know. I have--
BRIAN EARLE: Yeah, I would assume it really depends on the environment that that particular practice has developed. I know at Guthrie, for the most part, it's pretty informal, and they would expect you to call them their first name. Oh, wow. Class is dismissed whenever [? Bud ?] wants us out of here.
BRIAN EARLE: Right. And I've often done that proactively. When someone calls me Professor Earle, whatever, I say, call me Brian. If it's an informal setting, I don't want to have to worry about that. Plus they remember my name better that way.
BRIAN EARLE: Well, thank you for coming.
AUDIENCE: My question is, what [INAUDIBLE] people [INAUDIBLE]?
BRIAN EARLE: It depends on how upset I am and at the rudeness. I told you at the restaurant the person talking on the phone, and I wasn't tough enough to pull the trigger and ask someone to tell them to stop. So if it is affecting other people really negatively-- one of the news feeds that I got talked about, a bus, where someone was clearly handicapped, and three really capable people were sitting in the handicap seats on the bus and wouldn't get up. And so another person on that bus got up and insisted that they take their seat because it was near the front of the bus.
That's when it infringes on others. I think that's where you step up to the plate and say, hey, look, let that person have your seat. Or take your things off that chair so other people can sit down-- whatever it is that [INAUDIBLE], take care of it.
AUDIENCE: I was wondering [INAUDIBLE]?
BRIAN EARLE: I think that deference to age standard is really disappearing. So it's going to be less and less likely that you will call an older neighbor Mr. So-and-so or Ms. So-and-so. They'll call him by whatever name they may know them by, perhaps both names, but perhaps the first name. And I think it's going to be really hard to reverse the clock on that one. It's just been so common, that it's not likely to happen.
BRIAN EARLE: And so it's not necessarily disrespectful, depending on your perspective.
AUDIENCE: Right. [INAUDIBLE].
BRIAN EARLE: Her point is that it's not necessary to use titles to still teach respect and have respect for the other party, and I think that's a very good point. So thank you. One more, and he hasn't rented the building long enough. Anybody else? Thank you. I never expected so many questions, so thank you.
ANNOUNCER: This has been a production of Cornell University, on the web at cornell.edu.
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Brian O. Earle, long a standard-bearer for proper etiquette, offered a light-hearted talk about civility and manners July 27, 2016, as part of the School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions' free summer events series. Earle has championed the cause of good manners since his early days of teaching in Cornell’s Department of Communications.