From the Board – August 2012

How to Lose in the Etiquette Game

by Georgia I. Hesse

It’s about time: Be late, habitually, whether for a scheduled meeting, a sponsored event, an interview, or during a press trip. This custom will confirm how important you are, how dreadfully busy and on demand.
Talk about other, better press trips while you are on one. In Tahiti, complain that the French have made “the natives” snippy, while British heritage has produced kindlier, more gentle Fijians. Nobody who matters will overhear.
Arrive on foreign shores unprepared. Who knew the fashionable Italians wish women to have their cute American shoulders covered while in cathedrals? Packing a shawl is such a waste of space. Just because women in Dubai wear cover-ups on their public beaches doesn’t mean you have to. (Wear a mini? Play in the Ritz-Carlton pool.)
Don’t bother to pay for extras in a host hotel. You are an invited guest and the honor bar is there to honor you. Also, if you are not responsible for the dinner bill, why should you be expected to tip?
When a publication sends you on assignment, it will specify a deadline. On a hosted trip, you will not be asked to produce a story immediately. Take your time, think it over. If nothing jells in a month (or a year), don’t feel remorseful. When your article does appear, it’s likely to be a masterpiece.
Grill your editor about that story you submitted. Call him anytime; that will confirm your passion for his publication. Reassure him that if he isn’t interested in it, several other (perhaps more important) editors are.
Hist! What’s that crumpling sound you hear? (Editors keep their wastebaskets close to their tossing hand.)


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