ENMU committee focuses on business etiquette

Alisa Boswell

Eastern New Mexico University faculty members recently began a new committee on campus, the Etiquette Committee, geared towards preparing students for the working world by teaching them professional etiquette, dress sense and more.

“THE ENMU Foundation and the Alumni Association originally had the idea when they were brainstorming about alumni and outreach,” Foundation Director Noelle Bartl said.

College of Business Dean Chris Taylor thought the same thing after experiencing etiquette dinners at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

Taylor said he, Bartl and other faculty members combined forces to form the committee and held a trial etiquette dinner in February.

“The idea was the dignitaries could be sitting at the table with students to do more mentoring,” Taylor said. “We wanted to pilot it in the spring , so we could know what to expect.”

Taylor said the dinner was highly successful with 180 people in attendance.

He and committee member Judith Haislett said although etiquette dinners are not unique to universities, ENMU’s committee is giving their etiquette training a unique twist by taking it beyond just a dinner.

“We’re going to expand it as not just dress for success but interviewing skills, language and more,” Taylor said. “This committee is more about a complete etiquette initiative. I like that.”

Haislett said another dinner will be held in February 2012 and committee members are discussing the idea of workshops and short plays or skits on etiquette for the 2012-13 school year.

“This has been a really fun project from the start,” Haislett said. “Why wait until your senior year? Why not integrate these things slowly now, so they become habit later?”

Haislett said for the fall semester, the committee has put one etiquette tip a week out to campus staff and students for the last three weeks through e-mail and posters.

She said tip one was to eliminate the words “like,” “really” and “awesome” for one week and tip two was to check your e-mail address to see if it had a professionally appropriate name.

The fourth and final tip for the semester will be issued next week.

“We chose to focus this first year on verbal and electronic communications,” Haislett said. “We’re taking it a little further and presenting it in different ways throughout the year, so students have access to it at all times.”

Committee members said they plan to continue the etiquette tips, dinner and more indefinitely.

“”We’ve had some great feedback from students and faculty,” Haislett said. “They liked what we were putting out there because some of the tips are things they hadn’t thought of.”