Augusta State students get hands-on lesson in business etiquette

A tiara, a folder full of envelopes, a fake fish and a dinner plate didn’t seem to have a lot in common except for a single word.


“These things make an impression,” said Debra Lassiter, the founder of the Etiquette and Leadership Institute of Athens, Ga., who made a presentation to about 120 Augusta State University students on March 29 at the Jaguar Student Activities Center Ballroom.

Wearing a tiara or a crown, a person might feel more important or self-confident; the envelopes represented thank-you notes a person should write after a job interview or an internship; a fake fish represented the dead, wimpy handshake that always makes a bad impression; and a dinner plate represented dining etiquette, which Lassiter also discussed with the students.

“Dining makes an impression,” she said. “Would you wow a potential employer with your dining skills? Hopefully after tonight, the answer will be ‘Yes.’ ”

Julie Goley, the director of the ASU Career Center, said this is the seventh year for the event.

“There is basic business etiquette,” she said.

Dining often plays a role in business situations, so a lot of the meal focused on proper dining habits, such as which piece of silverware to use, how to pass food items, how to hold a glass and how to properly use a napkin.

But she addressed other aspects of protocol including writing those thank-you notes, proper handshakes and appropriate dress.

Andrew Dixon, a management major, said he had taken an etiquette class in middle school, but he needed a refresher.

“I’m a little rusty,” he said.

As he looks to transition from college into the business world, he said he feels having these skills will be very important.

Biology major Kelsey Donnelly might not use her dining etiquette to wow her future students, but she still saw value in attending the event.

She said she thought it would be good to know what was presented.

Goley said Lassiter has presented six of the seven programs.

“Students ask for her to come back. She’s accessible to the students and makes the event fun,” she said.

Students attending the dinner received an etiquette packet so they wouldn’t forget Lassiter’s tips.


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