Image Building – Social Grace For Your Personal Marketing Brand – Chapter One

Welcome to Chapter 1 of a 4 part article, designed to familiarise folk with the skills required to successfully negotiate a social event with aplomb and grace.

Good social grace is sweet and admirable when witnessed, envious folk will remain envious, and folk who have good values will always make a mental note and ensure a follow-up social invitation is forthcoming in the near future.

In society, a “bright sophomore” is a dream all parent’s harbor; social grace makes for the evolution and graduation to senior, a pleasant event in the life of a young and promising candidate.

The choice of a social gathering like a dinner or luncheon is made as a matter of choice due to numerous social demands placed on people at such events.

Getting Started

Social grace is the culmination of a set of rules that guide social behavior, commonly known as etiquette. When practicing accepted etiquette, it is not a sign of weakness or social ineptitude it is the supreme sign that humankind is destined to be the rulers and masters of this planet.

The Invitation to a Social Dinner or Luncheon Party

Your invitation should be in a hard copy or electronic mail format with the abbreviation RSVP printed or hand written at the bottom of the invitation. What does the abbreviation RSVP represent on an invitation?

RSVP or “Respondez sil vous plait” is a term of French origin, translated it simply means “please respond”; when responding one should never procrastinate, a speedy response is essential in order to facilitate the planning of a smooth social function.

Dress Code

Formal dress is the following:

o For woman a dinner dress, (below the knee) with a shawl and clutch handbag. Some circles call it a “black number”
o For men it is always a tuxedo or dinner dress, normally black and white.
o Semi-Formal dress will be the more appropriate afternoon wear, woman may wear a trouser suit and shortened skirt, and men are permitted to don a conventional two-piece suit, or tie and jacket. Please note no denim wear is ever appropriate.
o Casual Wear will be the same as semi-formal for both sexes, with the exclusion of a tie for men. Always carry a tie as many institutions insist on the wearing of a tie in order to gain entry.


What time is the recommended time to arrive for a dinner/luncheon party?

Your invitation always will give a recommended time of when to arrive for the function, the time is time normally expressed as (18h00 for 18h30), and is a clear indication that the window of arrival should be respected. Always arrive with a minimum of ten minutes to spare,(18h20) thus allowing you sufficient time to introduce yourself and your partner or spouse to the host and other esteemed guests.

Grand Entrance

When making your entrance into the function venue a recommendation is that the male will always walk on the right with his partner on his left, this tradition stems from the grand days of chivalry and knights. The right hand was always free to greet fellow knights by lifting of the visor and to defend the honor of a maiden with the drawing of a sword from its scabbard. Later years the military introduced salutation as a formal greeting and show of respect, today, it is mandatory in the military to salute with ones right hand.

The Foyer or Reception Area

On arrival at the function venue, you will find that the foyer or reception area for a formal function is where one is welcomed with an aperitif. In the modern era, Sherry is drunk and an alternative of fruit juice available for the teetotalers.

Proper social behavior is to collect your drink and move away as speedily as possible thus affording those arriving after you an opportunity of collecting their aperitif with little or no impediment.

Having arrived at our function, how should our behavior influence the function and all those present?


Following simple, social, “rules of engagement” makes for a comfortable and rewarding evening or afternoon of socializing.

Refinement of our youth is the responsibility of all adults and educators alike…

Read Chapter Two…The Rules For Introductions at Dinner and Social Gatherings…