By Lila Baltman
Lila Rose Baltman Public Relations
When SueAnn Brown was a young girl growing up in Paradise Valley in the 1960s and 70s, her mother, a local actress, used to host many glittering social events and elaborate dinner parties at their home. From an early age, Brown’s mother taught her the proper way to make introductions, how to shake hands, have good eye contact, and how to confidently talk and socialize with adults.
“I remember wearing a name tag, greeting my mother’s guests and sitting down to formal dinners having to hold conversations with grown-ups,” says Brown. “My experiences at those dinner parties and the valuable lessons my mother taught me about the importance of having good manners and social etiquette helped me tremendously while I was growing up…I learned how to be more outgoing and confident in social situations.”
Today, Brown lives in Scottsdale and is happily sharing those same, valuable etiquette lessons with hundreds of children and teens each year through her professional work as a certified etiquette instructor and owner of a thriving, in-demand business called It’s All About Etiquette.
For the past six years, since starting her business, parents from all across the Valley have been eagerly signing their children up for Brown’s entertaining and interactive, hands-on lessons. All classes are taught at the St. Bernard of Clairvaux Church in Scottsdale and have been designed for boys and girls, ages 6 to 12. There are also specially-designed etiquette classes for teens, ages 13 to 18.
“I’ve had several parents tell me how much their children enjoyed learning about dining etiquette in my class because they loved eating the special chicken dish with egg noodles I cooked and the healthy snacks I served,” Brown says with a laugh. “Parents also tell me that their children start to enjoy setting the dinner table for the family each night… After taking just one of my classes, parents immediately begin to see small changes and major improvements in their child’s behavior and manners at home.”
Some of the topics Brown covers in her children’s classes include: Self-introduction and introducing others, handshaking, eye contact and smiling, saying “please, thank you, you’re welcome,” making mistakes and apologizing, avoiding rude behavior, table skills and dining manners, behavior at the table, grooming and posture, telephone etiquette, writing thank you notes, and more. On the final day of class there’s also a special graduation ceremony that family and friends are invited to attend.
“I know that many parents do try and teach manners and etiquette to their children at home, and they absolutely should, but sometimes it just takes another adult to get children to really listen…I become the other adult that the kids listen to and effectively learn from.”
And it’s not just children and teens enrolling in Brown’s classes. Many large companies and corporations like Marriott and Charles Schwab and even the San Francisco Giants minor league baseball team have also hired Brown to educate and polish their employees’ social etiquette skills. Brown’s philosophy is this: You’re never too young or too old to learn about manners and etiquette.
Some of the topics for business professionals that Brown covers include: Handshakes, greetings and introductions, remembering names, making a powerful first impression, business card protocol, body language and nonverbal communication, how to make an entrance and work the room, effective meeting protocol, the art of small talk, master your mingling, appropriate attire and grooming, techno-etiquette, and more.
Prior to establishing It’s All About Etiquette, Brown spent eight years as a corporate trainer and workshop leader for an international image and skin care/cosmetic company. She earned a degree in business administration from Phoenix College and is also a graduate of The Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Brown is also a licensed esthetician and has worked as a make-up artist and taught classes at talent and modeling agencies.
She says her strong background in the fashion and beauty industries has helped tremendously when she offers expert wardrobe, makeup, and personal branding advice to business professionals.
“Nowadays, individuals need to learn proper manners and social skills more than ever,” adds Brown. “Competition for acceptance into colleges and good jobs is becoming increasingly tough and those who possess social skills that are well developed and natural will stand out in the crowd and have a big leg up on their peers. Respecting and valuing others and making others feel at ease are the key reasons why I think everyone in society needs to learn good manners and social etiquette.”
For more information about It’s All About Etiquette or to register for classes, call (480) 510-6346 or visit www.itsallaboutetiquette.com