Did You Know?
Where did "etiquette" originate, and why the resurgence in business etiquette now?
We tip our hats to the French, and more specifically, to King Louis XIV for the origin of the word, etiquette. In the 1600s, King Louis XIV resided at Versailles in France, which was a transformed royal hunting lodge that became the world’s largest palace. When his gardener, an aged Scotsman, was charged with seeding the massive lawns of Versailles, he grew frustrated with trespassers who continually trampled on the beautiful lawns. The gardener cleverly thought he would stop their rude acts by placing warning signs or tickets saying “Keep off the grass!” In French, these warning signs were called, 'etiquets'. However, the dukes and duchesses ignored the signs (etiquets) and continued trampling. When the gardener complained to the King, the King ordered an edict demanding that no one was to go beyond the bounds of the "etiquets." Eventually, this decree applied to all rules of proper behavior and became the accepted convention for good manners throughout the centuries. Therefore, the King’s intentions to tame the nobility and impress foreign dignitaries was achieved by setting the example for civility, decorum, and good breeding throughout the land.
Flash forward to the 20th and 21st centuries when teaching good manners was considered part of a child’s upbringing in the 1960s. Schools included etiquette as part of a well-rounded curriculum emphasizing social graces and table manners, and charm schools prevailed who taught “White Gloves and Party Manners”. The liberated 60s and 70s brought about a decline in the popularity of etiquette programs. A renewed interest in the 80s, the return to traditional values in the 90s, and now the fierce competition in the global marketplace have simply made corporate etiquette an essential modern tool in gaining a competitive advantage.