Would you love to tell people what you think about their rude behavior? If you can do it politely, a career in etiquette consulting may be right for you.
What They Do
An etiquette consultant’s love for good manners and social graces can be the basis of a fun and lucrative career, as they advise people on the correct protocol for social and business situations.
Etiquette consultants are experts in one or several areas of etiquette protocol, such as business etiquette, children’s etiquette, communication etiquette, dining etiquette, international protocol, social etiquette, and wedding etiquette. They advise their clients on how to ensure their behavior is acceptable to the people they spend time with or want to impress.
Many etiquette consultants are self-employed and run their own businesses, although some are on staff at larger companies. Some even work for government offices, helping VIPs ensure they adhere to protocol with dignitaries from other cultures.
An etiquette consultant may work with brides to consult regarding the etiquette concerns of weddings, or with business people helping them train their staff on anything from polite telephone manners to business meeting tips. Many teach classes or give seminars on etiquette-related topics as well.
– As an etiquette consultant, you will spend time doing some or all of the following:
– Keeping up with etiquette trends
– Broadening your existing knowledge of etiquette
– Researching etiquette protocol for specific situations or cultures
– Marketing your services to new clients
– Meeting with clients to determine their needs
– Teaching etiquette classes and seminars
– Developing etiquette training materials
– Networking with potential clients and explaining what you do
– Writing on etiquette topics for newspapers and magazines
– Holding one-on-one training sessions with clients
Who is Likely to Succeed
If you are the person at your family get-togethers who loves to set the table and you never question which way to place a knife; if you think an afternoon spent reading Emily Post is one well spent; and if you instinctively handle potentially awkward situations with good taste and common sense, you may find that a career as an etiquette consultant is perfect for you.
The most successful etiquette consultants are diplomatic with their clients, resourceful in finding information, and have a good personal presentation. They are comfortable speaking with people one-on-one or to groups, and are confident self-promoters.
How to Learn It
You don’t need a college education to be a successful etiquette consultant. What you do need is a broad knowledge of proper etiquette for any given situation, and the ability to convey that knowledge to your clients successfully.
There are a number of excellent books that cover just about every conceivable issue regarding etiquette and protocol. Start with books that give you a general overview, such as Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior, Freshly Updated by Judith Martin.
Does your mother have a business meeting with a client from another country? Does your best friend have an upcoming interview, or a party that she wants to go off without a hitch? Start by honing your skills with friends and family to practice and work out in your own mind how you will present your information to paying clients.
Also, consider volunteering your expertise for nonprofit organizations that will help you build your professional resume in business situations. Make sure to ask those to whom you donate services for testimonials to aid you in getting paying clients.
Consider the area of etiquette that you may wish to specialize in, and see if there is training specific to it. Many successful etiquette consultants start their own training programs for other consultants, such as Gloria Starr’s Success Strategies (www.gloriastarr.com). The FabJob Guide to Become an Etiquette Consultant lists a number of training programs you can choose from, and is an excellent source of etiquette guidance itself.
Tag and Catherine Goulet are founders of FabJob.com. This article is an excerpt from their book Dream Careers. Visit www.FabJob.com to discover your dream career.