Take it from the animated woman who teaches the Texas Rangers how to eat soup: social graces are important to business success.

“There’s a general lack of social skills in our society,” said Susan Huston, who operates an etiquette consulting business from her Arlington home. The Number One etiquette mistake is the “wet-noodle handshake.”

Huston gives wide-ranging training sessions and workshops to adults and children alike on how to dress, eat, sit, use a cell phone, and make introductions.

Huston said it’s easier for an outsider like herself to tell employees of a company how to dress, groom, and conduct, themselves. Coming from a boss, the same information would seem intrusive, she said.

“I’m down to earth, and I make it funny,” Huston said of her own secrets of success. “I use humor to teach. If you can entertain 8-year-olds and 14-year-olds for two hours, then adults aren’t hard at all.”

Why are old-fashioned table manners so important in a dot.com business world?

“If people can’t relax and enjoy themselves at a business lunch, then that reflects back on their business,” she said.

Incidentally, Huston mentioned, the water glass is always positioned over the knife at a place setting.

“You see people get the wrong water glass all the time,” she said. “When one at a table takes the wrong glass, it throws the whole table off.”


Shirley Jinkins, Star-Telegram Staff Writer
Excerpts from Hometown Lifestyles, Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Sunday, October 22, 2000