‘Etiquette’ event gives U of O grads a business edge

Soon-to-be University of Ottawa grads, many entering the workforce for the first time, will continue to get a helping hand today as the uOttawa Alumni Association hosts its sixth annual etiquette dinner events.



Approximately 150 students at Tabaret Hall yesterday learned the dining and business etiquette that professionals need to know. Another 150 students will be going through the program today.


"It would help them acquire knowledge that they wouldn’t necessarily acquire in a classroom," said Marie-Helene Brisson, program coordinator for the university’s alumni relations office.

At the event, students gain skills that will help them look for a job, said Brisson.

Although Brisson remembers learning skills from her mother at Sunday dinner, society doesn’t work like that anymore, she said.

"Not everyone knows these things," she said. And what people do in social situations definitely makes a huge impact, she added.

In the last five years, there’s been a resurgence of interest in etiquette, said Julie Blais Comeau, a trainer and developer with The Civility Group.

Many of the things Blais Comeau is teaching are basics. But people are realizing the importance of it, she said.

"It’s about having people be comfortable and at ease in your presence," Blais Comeau said. "If you follow the lead of the guest of honour or your employer, you’ll be perceived as a good guest. It’s about being a good listener and having others like you. And if you know which fork to use, you’re a lot more relaxed and can focus on the business at hand."


tips to note

  • Some things taught include what utensils to use (start on the outside and work your way in) and how to shake hands (make eye contact, make web-to-web contact with the hands and shake two pumps from the elbow down.