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The day after a party a gracious guest will follow up with a thank you note or phone call. Do this within 1-2 days so your appreciation does not seem stale. The formula for a thank you looks like this:

Some dinner parties require a more formal protocol. For example, a military dinner will have strict guidelines as to where personnel will sit. If you are hosting a client dinner, you might also prefer a more formal arrangement. Even in a casual setting, you can choose to follow protocol to honor a special guest. The below description is based on a social party (vs. business), a rectangular table, and includes both men and women:

When hosting a dinner party, where you place your guests around the table is a crucial element for the success of your event. You presumably put thought into who you invited to the gathering. Do not stop there. The placement of each person around the table is something that should not be thrown together at the last minute.

I love entertaining friends and family in my home, especially during the holidays. But I must admit, it can be a bit overwhelming hosting a dinner party in the stage of life with little ones running around. The cooperation I receive from my toddlers is a significant factor in how efficient I am on a daily basis. Add in hosting a party, and it can be overwhelming. If you find yourself wanting to gather friends for a festive evening, here are my tried-and-true tips for entertaining with young children:

Planning a party can be fun, but do you know the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly? Have a rehearsal for your party. Yes, you heard correctly. You have spent a great deal of time planning your theme, creating your guestlist, and delivering your invitations. Now is the time to do a mock rehearsal which will allow you to create an action list of outstanding items around your home that might need attention. It also helps solidify any last-minute details.

These thirteen tips will get your through any dinner party. Here is a quick refresher. 

1. Leave The Cocktail Glass Behind:

If you are attending a dinner party, there may be cocktails offered before the meal begins. When the hostess signals it is time to head to the dining room, leave your drink behind. Why? The dining table has been pre-set with the glasses you will need and adding another to your place setting will only clutter the minimal real estate in front of you. Your palate is another reason to leave the cocktail behind. Many hostesses go to great lengths to pare wine with the food being served. Once seated at the table it is time to switch to wine or water.

You just received an invitation to a party, and the attire says: Shabby Chic; Razzle Dazzle; Cowboy Couture. What??? Word to hostesses: when listing the attire on the invitation for a party, make it clear. We do not want our guests to solve a riddle to understand what is expected of them. There is a phrase I like to quote, “To be unclear is to be unkind.”

Table manners are the area in which I receive the most questions, but it is introductions that have people the most baffled. After I explain the correct way to conduct an introduction, I often get that starry-eyed stare that tells me, “I really don’t understand what you just said.” To help all of us, I have broken down the process into a simple format. Before I proceed, let me say this. Do not let a lack of confidence in managing an introduction keep you from DOING an introduction. Even if you are unsure, most people do not care.

When attending a party, there are certain expectations we have of our hostess. We appreciate everything she has done, but we do assume there will be food, drinks, a clean bathroom, and a home that does not smell like the local pet store. What some people forget is there are also expectations of the guest. When a hostess plans a party, a great deal of time is spent deciding who she will invite. What group of friends go well together?

Have you ever seen someone walk into a party looking scared, so unsure of themselves, and then watched them slink off to an obscure corner? Their body language screamed, “I wish I was anywhere but here!”

You are invited!!! There is something special we feel when we receive an invitation. It is the anticipation of a celebration, the excitement of choosing what to wear, but more importantly, it is the affirmation that tells us, “I was chosen!” We know a hostess has responsibilities to ensure her party is a success, but did you know there are expectations of the guests? And your first job begins when you receive an invitation that says RSVP. Follow the six steps below and the hostess will be singing your praises!

  • Lisa Lou

Image: Story of an Interview



I had an interesting conversation with a friend today. Her son is in his 20s, and he made it to the final 3 for a job he is seeking. After a one-on-one interview with one of the executives, her son relayed an interesting conversation that had occurred. The executive told him, “You are smart, a go-getter and you know what you are doing, but the thing that has set you apart from the other two candidates is the way you dress. Whether we offer you the job or not, I want you to know how important this is. The other two guys showed up in sports coats and no tie. You have always been dressed in a suit and have shown us that your image matters. This is important, because if we hire you, you will be representing this firm, and we have to know you will represent us well.”

Whoa!!!! I felt like this executive had been reading my blogs! This is EXACTLY why image matters! You can read some of my other articles that talk more in depth about image, but I just wanted to use this example as an important reminder that how we present ourselves can make a difference in our level of success.

Our bodies are like a billboard on the main street of a busy intersection. When we walk into a room, we are telling people what they should think about us. A first impression will be formed about you in 2 seconds, EVEN if the other person never speaks to you. I often hear people say, “But that isn’t fair. Someone shouldn’t form an opinion about me without getting to know me first.” Wrong! The other person is forming an opinion about you, because you are telling them what to think about you! It is not the other way around.


When you are groomed, and your clothes are tailored to fit your body type it shows you care about yourself. It shows you take pride in who you are as a person. I always clarify when I speak of image, I am never referring to what one person might perceive as physically attractive. What constitutes beauty in modern society changes with each generation and is based on what is promoted in pop culture. In the Marilyn Monroe days, a curvy figure was what the world desired. Then came the toothpick-thin era where boney, narrow hips were all the rage. Now, we have moved to the bigger and more voluptuous “behind” as a sign of what others find attractive. Hey, that is good news for me. My pear-shaped body means I am back in vogue!

When we take pride in ourselves, groom ourselves, and wear clothes that fit, it does not matter what size we are, we will be seen by others as beautiful! Why? Because it is the pride and confidence that shines from within that is the real gem.


Counseling offices in universities across the country have begun bringing back etiquette, image, and protocol courses for their graduating seniors. Why? They have begun noticing many graduates are not being offered jobs in the work force, even when they have well-rounded resumes that appear to make them a desirable candidate. When these departments began asking companies why their students were not being hired, the common thread that was missing among the applicants was a basic knowledge of soft and social skills. These include dining and business etiquette, good communication, a well-groomed image, along with other intangible skills. It was not uncommon for an employer to say, “The candidate looks great on paper, but there is no way I can put them in front of a client. They would not represent us well.”

Nicholas Wyman with Forbes, stated, “Sadly, many college graduates lack both practical work experience as well as soft skills. These are the crucial people skills you need to land a job…”

Professor Cary Cooper of the Manchester Business School said, “…some graduates lack social skills and the ability to conduct face-to-face conversations.”

Image matters, because first impressions matter, and when you take pride in yourself you are portraying confidence in who you are as a person. As we have seen with my friend’s son, the positive portrayal of his image, along with his soft skills, may be the deciding factor to him securing his dream job.

The best news about obtaining soft skills and portraying a good image? It is 100% in your control!

Together with you,

Lisa Lou