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Lisa Mirza Grotts
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Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, on-air contributor, and the author of A Traveler’s Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the City & County of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (, certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by The New York Times, Condé Nast Traveler, and the Los Angeles Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on and

Entries by Lisa Mirza Grotts

New Year Communications Guide

(0) Comments | Posted February 26, 2015 | 8:43 PM

When communicating with others in the business world, be sure what you say and write has impact. Here are tips for both verbal and written communications.

Verbal Communication

• Speak clearly (don't mumble) and loud enough (but not too loud), while standing or sitting up straight and looking your...

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Fifty Shades of Food

(0) Comments | Posted February 13, 2015 | 8:45 AM

Some foods are tricky to eat in public. When at lunch or dinner with friends or colleagues, stick with the foods you feel most comfortable eating. With Valentine's Day around the corner, practice makes perfect with all foods!

These are accepted techniques for eating bothersome foods:

Bacon should be...

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Personal Image: Positive and Negative Signals

(0) Comments | Posted January 20, 2015 | 12:06 PM

When dealing with other people, it's important to be able to read their expressions. But it's just as important to understand what your facial expressions may be saying to others. Emily Post has it right: "Your outward appearance is not only an important aspect of how you present yourself --...

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The Power of No

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2014 | 4:10 PM

"I'm as proud of what we don't do as I am of what we do." --Steve Jobs

No. Nyet. Non. Nein. No matter you say it, the meaning is still the same, but this tiny word can be very hard to say. What is it about the word no that...

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Snapshots of India: Sights, Smells and Sounds

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2014 | 2:41 AM

If you don't know where you're going, any road will lead you there. --Lewis Carroll

Orange may be the new black, but India is saffron, indigo, marigold and emerald all rolled into one. The colors hit your senses at every turn, as does the sheer size of the crowds in...

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Bar and Bat Mitzvahs

(0) Comments | Posted November 16, 2014 | 10:12 PM

The Bar Mitzvah is to the Jews as Confirmation is to several Christian denominations. It occurs when a Jewish boy turns thirteen, and it takes place on the first Saturday after that birthday. The Bar Mitzvah, meaning "son of the commandment," is used to denote both the ceremony itself as...

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Your First Job Interview: How to Nail It, in 20 Easy Steps!

(0) Comments | Posted October 16, 2014 | 12:56 PM

Put your best foot forward, because it's all about the first impression. Remember: You only have one shot! There are three B's for every interview: Be prepared, be polite, and be on time. But here are 20 more specific steps to a successful interview:

1. Learn about the company you're...

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Dealing with Sticky Situations: How to Share the Bill

(0) Comments | Posted October 2, 2014 | 11:48 PM

When was the last time someone in your party asked for a separate restaurant check? Well, it's still done every day, but it's a pain for the servers, and some restaurants won't do it at all. Splitting the check by each person handing over his or her credit card is...

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Forms of Table Service

(0) Comments | Posted September 19, 2014 | 9:10 PM

Downton Abbey, here we come. Those addicted to the PBS drama, like me, can't help but notice that a large part of the series is centered around food. Many scenes feature formal dinners where the dress is black tie or white tie, and the Crawley family and their guests are...

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Concert Etiquette

(0) Comments | Posted September 5, 2014 | 3:56 PM

As a former music major, classical music is emotionally overwhelming for me. So naturally my experience is spoiled when a performance is interrupted by a cell phone ringing or someone unwrapping candy. Fortunately, at live performances we are reminded that phones and pagers must be turned off before the concert...

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The Art of Meaningful Mixing: How to Network Before, During, and After an Event

(1) Comments | Posted August 19, 2014 | 10:46 PM

Ever feel queasy about going to an event where you don't know other guests? Talking to strangers does not come naturally to many people, but it's important to learn to do so. Social events are your opportunity to make new friends and business acquaintances.

Here are some helpful hints...

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How to Improve Your People Skills

(0) Comments | Posted August 2, 2014 | 2:15 PM

Learning to solve problems and work with people can be the best way to exhibit class. Remember: Your people skills are your social skills.

Collaborative Problem Solving

• Define the problem in terms of needs.

• Brainstorm possible solutions.

• Select the solution that will best meet everyone's needs.


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Listening Habits: What Drives You Crazy?

(0) Comments | Posted July 17, 2014 | 6:17 PM

Here are the top 30 things that make me crazy when I'm trying to talk to people. I'll bet most of them drive you crazy, too.

1. Interrupting

2. Lack of eye contact

3. Holding side conversations

4. No response or feedback

5. Asking questions that have already been...

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The Ten Commandments of Cruise Ship Buffets

(0) Comments | Posted July 7, 2014 | 3:37 PM

Whether you're being served at a table or you serve yourself, the rules of courteous behavior still apply. Here are 10 basic rules to follow when you're on a cruise and faced with serving yourself at a buffet.

1. Thou shall be patient in line. Buffet lines can be long,...

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Handshakes That Grab Respect

(1) Comments | Posted June 23, 2014 | 8:03 PM

Make no mistake: You are judged by your handshake. A firm, friendly handshake with good eye contact shows self-confidence. And far more than you realize, you unconsciously judge others by the way they shake your hand. When a person shakes your hand easily and earnestly, he or she creates a...

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High School Graduation Etiquette Q & A

(0) Comments | Posted June 13, 2014 | 11:26 PM

What we think, or what we know, or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do. -- John Ruskin

Ruskin may have said it best. We all have a story with a beginning and an end. What's most important is what...

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Business Meetings: Making a Good Impression

(0) Comments | Posted May 10, 2014 | 1:25 AM

There are several ways to guarantee that your next business meeting is a success. Making a good impression is key. Here are fifteen tips on how to do just that.

1. Be on time if not ten minutes early for an appointment.

2. Be aware that you will be...

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Giving and Accepting Criticism

(0) Comments | Posted April 21, 2014 | 7:52 PM

Giving criticism of any kind is difficult, though it is often the job of managers and business executives to do so. If we want to be helpful when correcting the mistakes of others, we must always be mindful of the way we do it. Of course, accepting criticism can be...

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Doctor's Office Etiquette: While You Wait

(1) Comments | Posted April 6, 2014 | 11:30 PM

We all know that doctors are often unable to meet their appointment times. The waiting room is called that for a reason. But you can make the wait more pleasant for yourself and others by following a few guidelines.

• Don't sprawl out on the furniture as if you're...

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Textiquette: Good, Bad, and Off Limits

(0) Comments | Posted March 28, 2014 | 3:02 PM

Because it's so fast and so convenient, texting is now the No. 1 form of communication. But because this tool is so powerful, it has ground rules and responsibilities. Since texting has no boundaries or face-to-face communication, it can cause misunderstandings and even lend itself to abuse. Words matter, especially...

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