Business Class

By Hannah Wallace March 31, 2010

Social season in Southwest Florida is chock-full of events where you can support charities of your choice, make a great impression, and meet and mingle with like-minded individuals. But you can blow it if you fail to follow some general rules of etiquette.

It’s important to dress appropriately, arrive on time, brush up on current events and do a little research to find out who is attending and who you might want to meet. This way, you’ll have a chance to further business relationships and make new ones.

One thing that shouldn’t happen at charity events is blatant self-promotion. It’s not the place to hand out your résumé. It might be an appropriate topic of discussion, but it’s much better to follow up after the event with relevant materials than to take them with you to an event.

I was reminded of another faux pas recently when someone told me that a person at an event she was attending had fliers for a different fund raiser. The attendees might support the future event, but it was not the time nor the place to promote it. The event you are attending is to raise money for that charity. It’s OK to talk about future events for other charities, but it’s certainly not appropriate to hand out material promoting them while you’re attending someone else’s fund raiser.

Following basic protocol and being considerate of others are the best ways to promote yourself and the charities of your choice. ■

—Suzanne Willis, Southwest Florida etiquette consultant

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