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Simple gestures, powerful impact


When you are dining out, do you use spoon for eating, dunk biscuit in tea cup? Do you take out things like pillow, headset when you get off a flight? Do you roam around in public places with running nose and coughing without wearing masks?

Well better avoid these habits because this is not the right etiquette. It’s showing respect for yourself and others. One can make the world a nicer place with these simple gestures.

Desserts like pie, tart, crepes, or cakes, may be eaten with either a dessert spoon or teaspoon or a dessert fork, or even both together. The fork is used for eating, the spoon for pushing and cutting or vice-versa.

“Etiquette is the art of revealing and showing the best version of ourselves,” says Carmen Hajjar, a Lebanese certified etiquette consultant in Muscat.

According to Carmen, etiquette has no age, whether young or old and you can learn at any stage. The basic rules of etiquette and tips, Carmen says, are kindness, respect, and consideration.

“We should always be kind, respectful and considerate to others’ feelings and traditions.”

Carmen was always inspired by good people around and beholding their etiquettes led to a passion for learning more about the basic principles of life.

With a massive following on Instagram of over 350K, Carman (IG@carmenhajjar) used the pandemic effectively to drive home her point to her followers.

Her posts explained the necessity of washing hands, to mask up, and to follow social distancing during the pandemic.

Her much sought after Arabic videos on Instagram reached millions of viewers and influenced many to follow. She also posted videos about the importance of respecting privacy and keeping distance and not imposing ourselves on others especially in social events and occasions.

Her Instagram page has loads of information on etiquettes on soup, shrimp, sushi, guest, travel, gym, toothpick, Covid, networking, and on how to attend interviews.

As a media influencer, Carmen says social media is all about content, whether it is educational, cultural or purely entertainment as content is what drives followers to your page.

Carmen became a certified trainer from Europrotocol, The European School of Protocol, and Minding Manners, the international business etiquette and protocol coaching, where she combined both culture, rules and regulations in order to expand her knowledge about the topic that she loved since her childhood. This she combined with constant research as there is always something new to learn, she mentions.

“Becoming an etiquette consultant and trainer is not an easy task to accomplish. You have to enhance social encounters and create a more pleasant and amicable way of conducting yourself,” she says.

“You also will have to go through a condensed training programme from a reputable institution to obtain the certification and spend hours doing research and reading about different cultures and people’s behaviour based on their ethical standards and traditions while respecting their beliefs especially when it comes to religious rituals and customs,” she explains.

“I love etiquette and I was passionate about it long before I made my decision to seek professional training and live in a constantly changing world. Unfortunately life is becoming so fast that most of the time we oversee so many important details in our day to day routine that may affect our reputation and image in a negative way,” she adds.

As an international certified etiquette and protocol instructor her passion as a professional educator, with extensive training and certifications from the most reputed international organisations have given Carmen an edge over her peers.

From training Lebanese diplomats to teaching kids or holding private sessions, she now has set her eyes on the younger generation on sharing the nuances of the art.

Respecting people value their effort and time, especially in a relationship is Carmen’s advice to the current generation. Every day is a lesson, stay optimistic especially during the difficult times of life, she concludes.

(With inputs from Adela Eileen)


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