You never get a second chance to make a first impression.

Archive for March, 2012

With permission from Mr. Bill Purdin, at LegendInc in Marblehead, Massachusetts, we are happy to share with you these timeless tips on golf etiquette.  While seemingly serious in their clear and concise measure, they are also meant to be taken in the pleasant and humorous nature in which golf is often played.  As you set your sights on #10, heed the words of Mr. Purdin when he said, “My best game of golf was a 74…and it started with a bogey”.  

1. Tee. One player on the tee at a time. Stand even with the ball well outside of the teeing ground, left or right, while each player hits. This also applies to golf bag and equipment placement around the tee. It is a breach of etiquette to stand behind a golfer on the tee, or anywhere else on the golf course. (See Section I: The Rules of Golf) No golfer should have to ask you to move out of the way anywhere on the course, but especially on the tee, where players are concentrated like nowhere else. If you are a following foursome and arrive at a tee already occupied by the group in front, wait well off the tee for your turn. Joining them on the tee to watch the shots is a breach of etiquette, but if you do, follow the positioning rule above, at the very least. Always, remove your peg from the tee after hitting. It is a breach of etiquette to pound your tee into the ground or to leave it embedded in the teeing ground.

2. Speed of play. Always play without delay at all times. Paramount in this category is to be at your ball, ready to hit, when it is your turn. After the tee shot, all the way to holing out, the order of play is always farthest from the hole first, and there really are no exceptions. Always carry two uniquely-marked balls. Limit your divotless practice swings to just a few seconds, and never practice swing towards anyone. On the green, study your shot alternatives, line of putt, and putting strategy while others are preparing to hit. You should always hit well within 45 seconds of the previous golfer’s stroke. The only way to judge your speed is your position relative to the group in front of you. You are in position if, as you approach your next shot, they are just moving off. Don’t lag behind or crowd unnecessarily the group in front. Never talk or tell stories that in anyway, even for a few seconds, delay play. There is plenty of time between shots while walking or riding to the next shot for discourse and jocularity. Consider the score card after hitting, while proceeding to the next shot, never on the tee or green.

3. Cart use. Golf carts should speed up play not slow it down. After the tee shot, proceed to the first ball and drop off the player, then proceed, safely, to the other ball. The dropped-off player should take extra clubs, if there is any doubt. As a general rule, don’t wait while the other person disembarks, hits, re-embarks and before proceeding to the next ball. Enter the cart with your club in hand and then exit to your bag before hitting the next shot. No need to go the bag twice for every shot.

4. Gimmies and Mulligans. Never give a shot that matters unless it is beyond the realm of remote possibility that the player could miss it. A one-foot putt takes about as long to putt as to pick it up. The essence of the game is putting the ball into the hole and it is a courtesy to allow that to happen whenever possible. Mulligans are never allowed. Strategy in match play sometimes requires a give-putt situation, but in reality these “gamesmanship” maneuvers should be kept to a minimum and play allowed to take its normal course where skill and proficiency prevail over tactical machinations.

5. Bunkers. When you leave a bunker you should remove all evidence that you were ever there. A few extra careful strokes with the rake to smooth the sand is always required. Think of the times you have had to hit from another’s footprints or inconsiderate raking.

6. On The Green. Fix your ball marks like a craftsman, leaving no bare ground and an even, smooth surface where the ball mark was. Never dig under a ball mark and leverage the soil upwardly with your tee or tool: this dislodges and extirpates the tender plant structures. Pull the surrounding grass gently to the middle of the mark, starting at the highest point. Never stand along the line of another player’s putt, front or back. Get completely out of the way. Again, standing even with the ball left or right, at a considerate distance, is always correct. Never talk or whisper while another player is putting (see the 7th Commandment). When you mark and replace your ball on the green never advance it even infinitesimally, or appear to advance it. One of the most carefully-watched moves a golfer makes is marking and exactly replacing the ball. Be precise in this process, developing a system that is obvious and beyond any possible criticism. When removing the flag, don’t drop it onto the green with a slap; either lower it gently or remove it to the first cut around the green. The player whose ball is closest to the pin has the pin responsibilities. Never lean on your putter while on the green, and when retrieving your ball keep your feet and weight well away from the hole. Return the pin carefully without any damage to the hole. Proceed to the next hole immediately upon holing out.

7. When Another Player is addressing the ball. There are only two things that every other player should be doing when a player is addressing the ball: standing absolutely still and watching the player hit. Movement is unacceptable. Talking is unacceptable. Fussing with equipment is unacceptable. Looking around is unacceptable. Stand still and watch the shot. If you can’t render this simple courtesy, then you do not belong on a golf course.

8. Clearly state your score when holed out. Making other players ask what you had on the hole is a breach of etiquette. At the time of holing out, as you retrieve the ball, clearly state,”Par,” or, “bogey,” or, “Eight.” Check the card occasionally to insure accuracy. Don’t say, “I’ll take a six.” Golf is all about accurate scoring. After the game is over the appropriate handicap adjustments can and should be made. Incidental to this rule is the requirement for each golfer to have a standard USGA handicap. Without an official handicap, you are not able to truly compete in golf, and in every match you play you have brought an element of unfairness to the game. Accurate handicaps provide the only fair basis for competition. Playing without a handicap is a breach of etiquette, especially in light of how easy and inexpensive it is to officially obtain one.

9. Settling up. Always have the exact amount needed to settle the game. Saying, “Do you have change for a twenty?” is a breach of etiquette.

10. Temperament. Babe Ruth said, “It is hard to beat a person who never gives up.” This should be your guide to behavior and temperament on a golf course. Golf is a game of days, next shots, and handicaps. You are never out of it until you get mad, become belligerent, start throwing things, in other words, until you give up. Never blame other golfers for your bad play out loud or even quietly to yourself, if you want to play well. Never blame another player for enforcing and championing the rules of golf. Don’t explain why your shot was bad, or good, and never yell out or whine after hitting a bad shot. Don’t be so competitive that you forget that golf is a game played competitively for enjoyment. Play like a gentleman, or a gentlewoman, in demeanor and attitude, because, in golf it is not what happens to you, it’s your attitude towards it that determines the ultimate outcome. Which would you prefer: a career round in the midst of bad temper, bad humor and embarrassment over your lack of decorum, or, a 10-shots-over-your-handicap-round where you still thoroughly enjoyed the effort and the game? Scoring and playing well is what golf is about, but that’s not what golf is all about.

And the Second Golden Rule of Golf (see top of the page for the Golden Rule) is to study The Official Rules Of Golf until you understand them, which is long after you first open the book looking for some specific rule that came up during a match. There is a basic principle involved, which all the rules protect: influence and affect nothing on the golf course except your own ball.

Trade shows can be an exciting venture for the exhibitor and attendee.  Those that are traveling may be visiting a new and exciting city where there will be “Welcome Receptions”, “Keynote Speakers”, fabulous restaurants to try and a little bit of sightseeing if time permits.  Trade shows are a great way to market your product if you are the vendor/exhibitor and can be very successful if promoted properly.  Depending on the trade or industry in question and how well the show is marketed to potential customers, you have the opportunity to make a favorable impression to anywhere from thousands to tens of thousands of attendees.   Unfortunately, many exhibitors – and “sales reps/attendees” will unknowingly commit a variety of booth blunders that may have a lasting effect on their business image and reputation.  

Remember, the days are gone when a faux pas was simply spread by “word of mouth gossip” and could easily be defended or clarified by hearing the other side of the story. One thing is still true though, “a picture is worth a thousand words”…AND..the words may be right there with the picture/video- on Facebook or YouTube!  One never knows when they are being photographed or recorded, legal or not, by the time it’s been removed, it’s probably too late. 


To help guide you towards a successful exhibit at your next trade show, here are my Top Ten…in “Letterman style”, “ways to improve your trade show etiquette” for the Exhibitor and Attendee:

Exhibitor/Vendor Etiquette:

#10 – Maintain Your Booth: Unless your particular industry is “Organizational Skills” and you are demonstrating the “messy look” for effect, your booth should be well-maintained, free of clutter, and appealing to the visitor.  Remember to keep boxes, cords, refills and other set-up tools, hidden under a skirted table.

#9 – Food and Drink:  You should never be caught eating or drinking in your booth.  While it is difficult to manage “manning your booth” all day without help or food, just keep in mind the operative word here is “caught”.  Once can’t expect you to work a 12-14 hour day setting up, breaking down, and greeting thousands without a bit of sustenance!  Look for the appropriate time that you may be able to discreetly eat fruit or something quick unless you have arrangements for your booth for your absence.

#8 – Never Chew Gum!  Okay, in my opinion, that should be anywhere, anytime, but….some habits are hard to break so if you’re a gum-chewer, please, refrain from doing so when you are meeting, greeting, explaining, or just standing and smiling.  Gum, by its very uncouth requirement of chewing it like cud – over and over until it forms a ball of tasteless rubber in your mouth, can knock the “polish and panache quotient down significantly”.

#7 – Dress Appropriately – It is impossible to impose one dress code on the variety of trades there are.  Suppose it’s the surfing industry?  Companies promoting surf boards, wax, clothing lines, sunscreens, vacation destinations, competitions, and fabulous flip-flops are not likely to be dressed in suits and ties to present their booth or product.  The theme of such a show would be one of the draws for many as they stroll comfortably in flowered shirts, shorts and sandals.  The point is…the exhibitor still  must use modesty and taste while making choices appropriate to their industry.

#6 – Never Leave Your Booth Unattended – Yes, I addressed this briefly in # 9 but more on how to manage this challenge:  If you are the only rep (not the best case scenario) to  man your booth, you will need to make “booth buddies” on either or both sides of you.  Hopefully, they are not your biggest competitor.  No one expects the neighbor to answer questions or sell product.  The idea is to get out and get back briskly so your customers are happy to wait…or to come back shortly.  Choose a slow time so as not to distract your buddy from his own work and don’t take advantage by stepping out for an  hour long lunch at the nearby oceanfront bistro!  Make your necessary stops at the restroom, grab a quick lunch and head back with abundant gratitude to your neighbor.  

#5 –Don’t Oversell – Not a one of us wants to be “oversold”.  The vendor that talks too much and offers too much too soon…will likely sell the least.  Be approachable, friendly, ask a few questions to engage your customer or simply ask them if you can have a moment of their valuable time to demonstrate a particular product.  We all know the “massage chair” guy has them lined up, right?  They don’t have to say much…just listen to the customer in the chair ooohing and ahhhing for 10 minutes!

#4 – Speaking of Booth Buddies – Whether it’s your own booth buddy or the neighboring booths of which I spoke in # 6, keep the friendly chatter to a minimum.  People are strolling by and trying to check you out without you knowing they are checking you out.  Attendees may not want to interrupt if they see you engaged in a conversation.  Some people are uncomfortable with certain social graces, like how to enter a conversation properly.  If you are with a customer, briefly make eye contact with the passer-by, smile, and nod slightly to indicate they are welcome to approach and listen (if you are not in a private appointment situation at the time, and generally, the convention floor is not conducive for same).

#3 – Visiting the Competition – Touchy situation here.  It’s pretty tempting to want to take a little time to see how everyone else is displaying, sample some yummy treats or grab the fliers/cards/brochures of our competitors.  Remember, word spreads fast.  Someone knows someone who knows you, your booth, your product and your reputation.  While it’s not illegal to visit the competitor booths, it is highly unethical to whisper to others in their area to stop by your booth and check out your great prices on XYZ!  That goes for negative gossip about your competition as well.  I’m more about honesty and integrity in these situations.  I’m happy to pass by a booth and if addressed by the vendor or some mutual silent dance of interest has been displayed, I will politely introduce myself,  my company, where on the floor our booth is, compliment their own booth and wish them great success during the show.  Small talk among peers and competitors is expected, just know your boundaries.  Keep it short, polite, and positive.

#2 – Keep Fully Stocked – Never run out of anything.  Brochures, fliers, cards, candies, samples, raffle tickets, entry forms, novelty items, tote bags, napkins/plates/cups/utensils (if food items are the industry) need to be readily available until the last customer has left the show!

#1 – ...and the #1 “way to improve your trade show exhibitor etiquette”  – Exercise the “Three G’s” – Grip, Grin, and Greet – Always be ready to engage your potential customers with a smile, a firm handshake and a warm and sincere greeting.  Welcome them to the show, and thank them especially, for taking the time to stop by your booth.  Make sure you make direct eye contact during the handshake – not so long as to scare them with your fixed eyeballs, just the few seconds it takes to shake their hand in 2-3 movements.  Like in every social situation,  never underestimate the power of the first impression; which takes place in the first seven seconds – and most often begins with…the “3 G’s”.

Attendee Etiquette: 

#10 – Wear Comfortable Shoes – Again, consider the type of industry but as a visitor, while you are still expected to display appropriate attire, tasteful comfortable shoes will go a long way when pounding the pavement for several hours.

#9 – Don’t Overstay Your Welcome – Again, as in most social situations, overstaying one’s welcome is rude and can cost the vendor business.  Visit many booths, get your questions answered, accept the novelties offered and move along doggie!

#8 – Consumption of Food – Okay, one of the best trade shows I ever attended was a “natural and organic food expo” and wow….SO MUCH FOOD…although I’m sure I would enjoy ANY FOOD EXPO for that matter.  One thing for sure, every booth has SOMETHING to taste.  “TASTE”…that’s what I said.  Lingering around your favorite food booth to have lunch on their samples is a “tres faux pas”.  Graciously accept the sample, comment on the delightful flavor, ask questions if interested in the product and  again, move along doggie!

#7 – Tote Bag Etiquette – Many booths offer “insignia/logo tote bags” to promote their company.  Love that.  Many can be used at the grocery as your recycle bag.  Refrain from over-filling your bag with everything from every booth because you have some sort of “hoarding mentality” and feel you must take everything in case you ever need it.  It’s one thing to collect items of interest for further evaluation, consumption or use, but it won’t go un-noticed as you sling bags on each shoulder and both arms as though you just scored at Nordstrum or are living out some Rodeo Drive scene from “Pretty Woman”!  

#6 – Crowd Control – Some conventions are packed with attendees.  Maneuvering the floor gracefully, let alone finding the booths you’ve circled on your Exhibit Map, can be daunting.  Using the always popular phrases of “Excuse me, pardon me, may I, etc.” will get you through that mess much more quickly than shoving, elbowing and trying to get the front spot at  … guessed it…the massage chair booth!  Once there, sign up or get in line and wait your turn like a good sport.

#5 – Refills – Again, speaking of filling your bag/s…maybe the vendor won’t notice that you’ve been back three times to “sample” the chocolate covered strawberries or throw more key chains in your bag but I wouldn’t risk the embarrassment.  

#4 – Social Interruptions – It’s never easy or comfortable to interrupt a conversation but knowing how to do so with grace and proper etiquette can boost your confidence in so doing.  If a vendor is busy with another customer, wait for a moment to see if he plans to address your needs; pick up some information from the table and after a brief acceptable period,  politely offer two options as you are walking away; 1.)  Upon making eye contact, simply say “thank you, I’ll just take this info and stop by when you’re not busy”, or 2.), Say to the customer “Excuse me”, then to the vendor “I don’t mind waiting unless you’ll be a while”. Both of these options give the vendor a moment to reply, because you have in fact, been just as polite to his customer in your inquiry.

#3 – Again With the 3 G’s?? – Yes.  One never knows where the relationship is headed in business; so whether you are the vendor or attendee, make your first impression, your best impression.  See Tip # 1 of Vendor Etiquette. Why is it not #1 here?   Well, it could be, but the #1 tip here is equally important and to some, even more important.

#2 – The Power of  Thank You – Just because you paid to get in the door doesn’t mean you shouldn’t appreciate the effort of the vendors and venue staff.  Saying “thank you” for the goodies you take, the information you receive, directions to nearby tourist spots and any other reason to say “thank you”  should never be underestimated.  It is a powerful little “two-word” statement and never over-used.  Alternatively, if you’ve been given considerable time and attention from an exhibitor and the possibility of even working together in the future on some shared concept, make sure you send a “hand-written” Thank You note within the first week of said time together.  Not everyone has a beautifully engraved stationary wardrobe for such occasions, but even a nice pre-printed monogrammed note kit from a stationary or office supply store will serve the purpose.  Note cards that are conducive to the industry are also acceptable, for instance, I am in the etiquette business and while I love a lovely 100% cotton engraved look and feel, I am happy to send an artist’s watercolor rendering of tea service or flowers or any other such image that recognizes the artist…and complements the business at the same time.

#1...and the #1 way to improve your Attendee Etiquette is….. DON’T BE A SNEAK! – Business to Business Protocol – You’re in the same industry as the vendor but you didn’t pay to exhibit your wares.  You came to sell your product on the sly!  This is one of the biggest taboos of trade show etiquette and it can happen in a number of ways, but to name a few:  Direct solicitation of other attendees while parading the floor; sneakily posing as an interested customer at a competitor’s booth to gather useful data; and pitching a vendor on your product while they are busy trying to address their customers.  Nothing will seal your reputation quicker than this little plot you have in mind, so step up…either rent a booth and work it or pay your attendee registration fee and listen and learn about your industry in an appropriate manner.

I hope these etiquette tips will help you enjoy your next trip to the convention floor, whether as an exhibitor/vendor or attendee.  Conventions can be a great time for all, albeit hard work for many, but knowing the social and business etiquette associated with the event, will help everyone to have a wonderful experience to share with friends, family, peers and employers.



Having grown up in New Olreans, frequenting Mardi Gras parades was routine and always exciting and I doubt that in those crazy mass crowds of foot-stomping, line-dancing, bead-stealing paradaholics you will ever see a modicum of etiquette.  After all…Mardi Gras is about “madness” and seeing who can get the most beads around their neck without falling over.  However, with St. Patrick’s Day approaching and Memorial Day and Independence Day right on it’s heels, here are a few etiquette tips that can help make the experience an enjoyable and memorable one for all ages.

  • View Blocking:  Everyone wants to see the parade; unfortunately, everyone can’t have the front row.  Early settlers claim their spots, sometimes with chairs or just blankets on which to sit or stand.  The problem comes in when small children are behind all the big people (even those with children of their own).  Try to be considerate of the excitement a child has in seeing the bands, floats and firetrucks.  On occasion, scoot aside and offer the child a chance to grab a peek in front of you…after all, etiquette is about consideration and gracious moments.
  • Reserving Space:  As mentioned earlier, many will arrive as early as possible to claim their spot but keep in mind, the street and sidewalk are public property and available to all.  No one has a “right” to a spot if they leave to go get beer.  If you vacate your spot, it is not “reserved” so unless you have other family members with you to occupy it for you, don’t expect it to be available upon your return. 
  • Speaking of Beer:  Where I grew up, I have to admit, alcohol is a HUGE part of parade fun.  Of course, New Orleans is quite different from any other place in the world. Most states have laws prohibiting alcohol, depending on the city ordinances and liability issues.  Then again, many events will allow drinking out of plastic containers.  The point is….while social drinking and sharing fun times with friends at an event is commonplace, it is imperative to remember that there are children all around.  Know your limit.  Nothing is more crass than a loud, sloppy drunk screaming profanities at the marching band because he doesn’t like the piece they’re playing.  Such behavior can turn ugly….when Daddy’s little girl is asking what the “F” word means.
  • Ouch! That’s My Hand You’re Smashing!:  Again, in the Big Easy, you WILL get your hands and feet stomped on, smashed, broken and bruised.  “Dem doubloons  is like gold to da cajun folk and you will get hurt trying to claim your prize”!  Around the rest of the world, most parades don’t “throw things” out to the crowds, but some do.  For instance, in New Orleans at the St. Patrick’s Day parade, you can expect to catch cabbages and potatoes hurling through the air, green beads, doubloons (these are little metal coins with the name of the parade embossed on them and some are actually collectibles).  If you’re at a parade where candy, nik-naks, etc. are being thrown to the crowds, don’t stomp your foot on the item to claim it, lest you crush someone’s hand that was going for it at the same time.  It’s first to the product that gets it so back off and acquiesce. 
  • Blocking Businesses and Driveways:  Yes, it’s hard to find  a parking spot for a big fun parade but blocking someone’s business or a resident’s driveway is absolutely unacceptable.  Just because they live or work on the parade route does not give you free reign to park and run.  Sometimes, if it’s worth it to you, offering payment for such a privilege is an option.  One never knows if the owner is interested in the premium dollar just to have a car sitting for a few hours.  If you find yourself in such desperate need, and the owner is outside, politely approach and ask with a smile and good nature if their “space” is for rent.  The worst they can say is no.  Never disturb the resident or business owner by knocking on their door or interrupting their business for such a measure. 
  • Our American Flag:  While everyone may have been raised differently and told different rules regarding how we show respect for our American flag, any measure of respect is certainly better than none.  More often than not, when the Color Guard begins the parade, I rarely see anyone saluting the flag or removing their hat.  That being said, no one expects you to do so every time a band comes marching through.  It should be apparent that the first sighting of the American flag in the parade, respect should be shown in the form of  either your hand over your heart or saluting the flag as it passes….and ALWAYS remove your hat – men and women.  Many have paid a dear price in the name of the American flag and you can be sure, every veteran on that parade route is watching…and hurting….by the lack of respect shown for the sacrifices he/she made.
  • Backpacks:  If you’re traveling with a backpack, and it’s a good idea since you’ll not want to leave your spot if you can help it, try to keep it in front of you and lowered rather than slung on your back; chances are someone behind you will be getting bumped and swiped by your big wad of canvas every time you move.  Again….consideration is key. 
  • Litter:  It should go without saying that leaving your litter behind is just plain rude and disrespectful of the very public property to which you’ve been given the opportunity to enjoy such events.  Clean up your mess. …and teach your children the same.