A dual American and British citizen, Myka Meier the Founder and Director of Beaumont Etiquette, a NYC based company which teaches international social, dining, business and royal etiquette to adults and youth. Myka trained in part in London under a former member of The Royal Household of Her Majesty the Queen and had two years experience working on a global endeavor initiated by its patron, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. Myka has been featured on international media including Good Morning America, People Magazine and ABC World News.
1—What is your number one go to rule on proper etiquette?
A: Throw kindness out like it’s confetti. From service staff, friends and strangers, to the man who has nothing…you should treat everyone the same and be kind to all. There is nothing good that can come out of treating someone badly.
2- When you witness bad manners how does that make you feel?
A: Oh dear…it happens all too often! If I see something that someone does without knowing it is bad manners, I genuinely feel a desire to help them (although I’ll never correct them or give unsolicited advice unless they ask). If I see someone with bad manners who knows better, I’m quite frankly embarrassed for them - there is just no excuse!
3-When visiting someone for the weekend what do you bring as a welcome gift?
A: The first golden rule of being a good guest is to never show up empty handed. Ever. You should not bring wine (your host may feel obliged to pour it even if they already had the wines chosen for the weekend), so I would recommend bringing something thoughtful like a neutrally scented candle, monogrammed cocktail napkins, or a gift from your favorite local shop that has a great story. It does not have to be expensive, just thoughtful. Remember to write a hand written thank you letter after the weekend too.
4-What should you wear on your first interview with a new company?
A: My favorite advice is to dress for the position you want, not the one you are in. Wear something that makes you feel confident and powerful. Take into consideration the company or brand culture and try to ensure you mirror that as much as possible. Know your audience! For instance, you may wear a gorgeous dark colored formal suit to an interview at a bank, however you would never wear the same suit to an interview at a trendy advertising agency. I would always advise never to wear jeans, no matter what industry you’re in...too casual a look can make it appear that you simply did not care enough to put effort into your "first impression" outfit.
5-What tips can you share on cell phone manners?
A: Sometimes I wish I had a hook just for cell phones like they used to have to pull people off stage. If you are interacting with someone face to face in any capacity, for heaven’s sake darling ones…put it away!! This means at coffee or over lunch, when you’re talking to a cashier or doorman… essentially when you’re corresponding to anyone. Cell phones should never be taken out at a restaurant or kept on the table and should remain unseen. If you must receive a call, excuse yourself and take it outside.
6-Philanthropist and iconic socialite Brook Astor once said good manners come from a good heart…do you agree with her?
A: A lady after my own heart and I could not agree more! Quite simply, to have good manners is to be thoughtful, considerate and respectful to everyone around you. Good manners means putting others first and being generous and kind hearted. For instance, a polite hostess will ensure every guest feels welcome, is comfortable, has been introduced to everyone and is well taken care of over and above their own wellbeing.
7-How do you become the most wanted dinner guest?
A: Beside having great table manners, the most popular dinner guest is someone who is engaging, likable and friendly to everyone at the party. Talk to all guests, ask interesting questions and make sure you don’t talk too much about yourself. Exude confidence and be positive in conversation - nobody wants to hear about your latest illness. Oh and pretty please smile - it means your approachable and is contagious!
8-Your thoughts about summer attire in the office place?
A: Just because the temperature has drastically changed does not mean your work wardrobe should. Stay professional and if you think it’s borderline, then don’t wear it. Showing too much skin is never appropriate at work, so unless you’re a lifeguard, save it for East Hampton.
9-Are manners learned or are they a way of life?
A: Both. Manners are not only for a certain social class - they are for everyone and should be part of every day life.
10-If there was an app for good manners what would it say?
A: I imagine it to be an app where you could put in scenarios and it would give you responses like a Magic 8 ball. If you’re doing something and you think it’s wrong, it probably is. Etiquette is a lot of common sense. “Should I have opened that door for her?” We all know the Magic 8 ball is going to tell us “signs point to yes”