A Royal treat: what the American Etiquette queen taught me.
When my branding manager, Monica Kline, of IDentity Brand Management, last February told me that as part of my rebrand and training I was to take an etiquette course, I couldn’t contain my laughter.
“Etiquette??” Immediately I started thinking about the scene in “Pretty Woman” where Julia Roberts is trying to remember which fork to choose.
I soon learned that the course I was to take was with the Myka Meier; the world renowned American born Etiquette Expert, founder of Beaumont Etiquette at the Plaza Hotel, who is known for coaching Kate Middleton and most recently, Meghan Markle. As someone who neither followed the royal weddings nor understands all the royal hoopla, I did not know of Myka, although when I spoke to many of my former colleagues and some current clients in journalism, they all were quite excited for me. After doing the appropriate google search, I quickly learned of Myka’s success and her extensive media exposure.
Intrigued, and definitely intimidated, after teaching two classes and running hills in Central Park, I quickly showered, changed into a dress, stockings and high heels in 85 degree weather and promptly arrived for my 11:30 meeting with Myka. Armed with my list of “do not bring up” topics for conversation, I was determined not to make a royal fool of myself.
What I learned: 7 Seconds For a First Impression
“It takes 7 seconds to make a first impression,” Myka tells me.
This, of course, was not the first thing Myka said to me.
My first impression of Myka: kind, warm, gracious, polished, and relatable. Definitely not the “prim and proper” master of etiquette I had imagined. Myka definitely looked the part with her pink dress which outlined though didn’t overly flaunt her well-trained and toned figure, her hair neatly back in a low bun, her nails perfectly polished, and her make-up unnoticeable but there, ideal for an 11:30 am Tuesday meeting. In essence, she looked completely natural, at ease, and effortlessly attractive and approachable.
I immediately relaxed.
“Meeting Me Where I Am”
Within the first ten minutes of our four hour meeting, I was filling Myka in on my whole story. A born-and-raised New Yorker, former television producer and counter-terrorism analyst, five time marathon runner, mom of a 6 year old-turned- fitness entrepreneur who has rebranded three times and is now looking to work with brands and the media on a consistent basis.
So, you may ask, where in this do I need to know which fork I use for my salad verses my main course? Or how to hold a tea vs coffee cup (there IS a difference), where to put my bag when I am sitting at a table for two with my back to the door, and of course, how to hold my wine glass with a stem verses my wine goblet? (Note; below picture shows poor form)
Myka made it clear that, during my four hour intensive, we would target my specific needs. No two of her clients are the same and while we may have common goals, we all need to be approached differently.
As soon as I heard Myka say that, I smiled.
“I have been saying for years that, when it comes to fitness, I meet my clients where they are,” I told her. “My workouts are challenging yet modifyable, depending on your level and if you are working through an injury. No two people are the same. I have now extended that concept to my fitness concierge brand where, when it comes to both fitness and wellness, depending on your schedule and budget I will meet you where you are.”
What Does a Fitness Entrepreneur Have In Common With The Queen of Etiquette?
On first glance, not much.
But somewhere between seconds 6-7 (okay, maybe a bit longer), I realized there is more than meets the eye.
Yes, Myka and I have entirely different brands. But we both aim to be relatable, reasonable and, as I said earlier, we “meet you where you are.” Both “in the same wheelhouse” in terms of age, with a young daughter at home, we have both taken, in essence, the road less traveled when it comes to our professions. Around hour three of our four hour session, Myka informed me that she is a “floridian born flip-flop wearing girl,” who studied at a finishing school in London, learned proper etiquette and is now bringing it to the public in a translatable way.
In essence; I am just like you.
Going forward, I will definitely be incorporating what Myka suggested into my brand. You may see me with a few “signature” items when I teach; and some of the changes will be much more subtle.
And, it is possible that little Sophia will get some pointers; particularly when I see her elbows on the table and her hands in her pasta instead of utensils.