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The Matter of Manners

First impressions count. When your mentee goes out into the community or embarks on life after graduation, he will be judged by how he acts. Knowing the proper etiquette for behavior in public will help your mentee win allies and jobs.

How did you learn to be polite? Did it always come naturally to say “please” and “thank you” or send a note of appreciation? Have you known since birth how to introduce people? Who taught you to talk on the phone? If you’re like most people, you needed some instruction and reminders to get into the habit of practicing good manners. Your mentees may need instruction too, sometimes later in life than you might expect.

       How to teach it:

  • Role model good manners. Say “please” and “thank you” to your mentee and others while mentoring. Answer questions with “yes” or “no,” not “yup,” “nope,” or “uh-huh.” Always treat other mentors and students with kindness and respect.
  • Have your mentee practice introducing people during mentoring. Also, explain that it’s nice to say, “Pleased to meet you” when meeting someone for the first time. Show your mentee how to shake hands (solid and firm, but not too hard) and look someone in the eye during a first greeting.
  • Write thank you notes for gifts and events hosted by others.
  • Explain how to be a good listener with active body language, asking questions, and not interrupting. Practice by taking turns telling a short personal story.
  • Use your cell phone as a prop to help your mentee answer a phone call properly. He shouldn’t say, “Yeah,” or some other casual phrase. Instead, he should use the standard greeting: “Hello?” Make sure to mention that a child should never tell an unknown caller a parent isn’t home or give out personal information. When placing a call, they should first identify themselves. Also, practice saying goodbye before hanging up.
  • Tell your mentee that he can win esteem by using the terms “sir” and “ma’am” when speaking with adults.









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