Palos Verdes Assembly
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Cell Phone Etiquette
(And Text Messages)

  • You are asked to refrain from phone usage and/or text messaging while participating in a Palos Verdes Assembly event.  Ladies may secure their cell phones in a handbag or dress pocket and gentlemen may secure their cell phones in their coat pocket.  Emergency phone calls may only be accepted in the lobby area, off the dance floor.
  • Speak softly. Cell phones are usually more “sound sensitive” than regular phones, so you don't need to yell to make yourself heard. And no amount of shouting will improve a bad connection.
  • Respect the personal space of others by taking your conversation 10 or more feet away from people. Ideally, take your phone call into a private space. Refrain from using your phone in a place where others can't escape your conversation, such as in an elevator or restaurant.
  • Do not interrupt a face-to-face conversation to take a cell-phone call or text message. The person you are actually with takes priority. If you have a phone conversation in front of that person, you're showing that he or she is unimportant to you. You are being rude.
  • Keep private matters private. Nobody wants to hear you fight with your girlfriend over your cell phone. If you use the phone and give out confidential or personal information, you could be overheard when talking in public and may become a victim of identity or property theft.
  • Turn your cell phone off during weddings, funerals, movies, live performances such as the ballet or musicals, many sports events, business meetings, classes, places of worship, restrooms, restaurants, libraries, museums, and medical waiting rooms. Or where there is a sign asking you to do so.
  • Do not dial and drive. Talking is dangerous and distracting for you as the driver, but dialing will increase your odds of an accident.
  • Be wary of novelty ring tones. Not everyone will appreciate hearing the latest tune or Beethoven's Fifth every time you receive a call. Try using your phone's "vibrate" function instead of the ringer in public.
  • All these suggested rules can be disregarded if you receive a true emergency call!



A college may require that you be interviewed by an admissions representative before acceptance, or you may want to have an interview at a college that you are considering applying for. Write to the Director of Admissions about two weeks prior to an anticipated interview. Don't just appear out of the blue. Tell them when you will be available and give some alternate dates if possible.


  1. Be on time for the interview. Better still, be there five minutes ahead of time to give yourself a chance to relax.
  1. Know the school's catalogue thoroughly so you don't ask questions regarding information which you should already know.
  1. Remember that the interview is for you alone; not parents, friends, or siblings.
  1. Dress appropriately; careful grooming is essential. Your appearance when you walk through the door is the interviewer's first impression of you.
  1. Try and act as natural as possible. They know you are nervous. Remember to:


  1. Never chew gum during an interview.
  1. Allow the interviewer to lead the conversation. He/she will surely give you an opportunity to talk about yourself. Tell of your accomplishments, but not in a bragging way.
  1. Your interviewer will probably end the interview by asking if you have any questions. Be sure and have some questions prepared beforehand which you wish to ask.
  1. The interviewer will indicate when the interview is over. Be sure and thank the interviewer for seeing you and say that you appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the college.
  1. It is proper to follow-up your interview by writing a thank you note to the person who interviewed you. Be sure and include one or two comments about that particular school.




Introducing oneself is sometimes the most practical way to begin a conversation with the stranger next to you. "I'm Joe Kane," attempts to ask a question that would require a response. For example, "I am a freshman at Peninsula High. What school do you attend?" The best way to make friends is to like people enough to become interested in what interests them and to be outgoing and friendly.


You can engage a person in conversation by asking them about H. - hobbies; E. -entertainment; L. - likes; and P. - plans. Again, encourage them to talk about themselves.


When you are talking to someone, look at him or her, not with a fixed stare, but enough so that it is obvious to your fellow conversationalist that he/she has your undivided attention.


Talking on the phone can sometimes feel awkward, especially when the conversation becomes uncomfortable. The best rule of thumb is to be calm, be patient, and don't panic.

Nearly all the mistakes commonly made in conversation are caused by not thinking or by lack of consideration. In talking to a person you have just met, the best approach is to try one topic after another. Examples of topics are school events, sports, and current events.


No matter how strongly tempted you are to pass along a nasty comment or to join in a group talking unkindly about another, don't do it. It doesn't just defame the character of the other, it takes away from your personality.


When you are unable to attend Assembly, you must call your patroness contact, and inform her of your absence. This sample conversation may help you. "Mrs. Humphrey, this is Scott Martin from Assembly. I will not be attending the dance Sunday evening. I'll be mailing my letter to Mrs. Meek explaining why I couldn't attend. Thank you -have a good evening."



Typewritten correspondence is acceptable, except for the following which should always be handwritten:

            1. Thank you notes, unless part of a long personal letter.
            2. Reply to a formal invitation.
            3. Letter of condolence.


A note of thanks, written by hand, should be sent as soon as possible after receiving a gift, preferably within two or three days. Even if you have thanked the gift-giver in person, a note is appreciated. The note need not be long, but it should express appreciation, mention the gift, and what it will be used for. If the gift is money, it is correct to state the amount in your note. Use expressions most natural to you and write enthusiastically, as if you were talking.

Example:            Dear Aunt Mary,

I can't thank you enough for the $50.00 check you sent me for graduation. It will be a real help during my summer vacation. I'm looking forward to seeing you in the fall to tell you all about my trip.

                                                With much love,

Thank you notes should always be sent to your hostess after an overnight (or longer) visit except in the case of close friends or relatives whom you see often.  If you have personally thanked the host before leaving a luncheon or dinner party, a thank you note is optional, but appreciated.  If you were the guest of honor, a note to the host is mandatory.


Reply as soon as possible to any invitation with R.S.V.P. on it.  These initials stand for the French phrase "Repondez, sil vous plait." (Answer, please.)  It is inexcusably rude to leave a hostess who has invited you to a party with no idea of how many people to expect. Your reply should "match" the invitation. A formal, third person invitation requires a third person reply.  When the R.S.V.P. is followed by a telephone number, do your best to telephone your answer. If you cannot get through, don't give up. A brief note or postcard would be appreciated rather than no reply at all.


Letters of condolence are too personal to follow a set form. One rule only should guide you. Say what you truly feel. Sit down as soon as you hear of the death, and let your thoughts be with the person you are writing to. Put your feelings on paper.


Formal invitations are engraved on white or cream cards. Some, like those for wedding receptions, may be written by hand on personal notepaper.


Mr. and Mrs. William Barkley
request the pleasure of your company
at a reception to celebrate the graduation of their daughter
Miss Kristen Barkley
Sunday afternoon, June the twenty-sixth
at four o'clock The Essex House New York City

Please reply to
555 Old Kensico Road
Thomwood, New York 90505


Whether the invitation is to a dance or a dinner, the following form may be used:

Mr. Tom Rowe
accepts with pleasure
the kind invitation of
Mr. and Mrs. James Allen Johnson, Jr.
for dinner
on Monday, the tenth of December
at eight o'clock


Mr. Tom Rowe
regrets that he is unable to accept
Mr. and Mrs. Smith's
kind invitation for dinner
on Monday, the tenth of December




Even for an experienced dater, asking someone for a date can be a scary experience. A considerate potential date will understand this and respond quickly, by either accepting or refusing an invitation as soon as possible, preferably the moment he/she receives the invitation. It is cruel to keep someone dangling, especially when the delay is a stalling tactic to avoid telling someone you do not want to go out with him or her.


Never be coy about asking for a date. Don't say, "So, would you like to go out with me sometime?" Even worse is, "Do you like to go to the movies?" A woman who loves movies, but does not want to go out with you, will not consider this an invitation. A woman who hates movies, but wants to go out with you, will be frustrated. Far better is the specific, direct invitation: "Would you like to have dinner and go to a movie with me Friday night?"


  1. A gracious acceptance should be enthusiastic: "I'd love to go to the movies with you Friday night."
  1. A refusal should be equally gracious, especially if you hope to receive another invitation. If possible, indicate why you cannot accept: "I'm sorry, but I've already made other plans and can't go to the movies with you Friday. I'd love to do it another time." In other words, make it clear that another invitation is welcome. The invitee, female or male, might also suggest another day: "I can't go out with you Friday, but what about a movie Saturday evening?"
  1. If you receive an invitation from someone with whom you do not wish to go out with, it is sometimes kinder to send out some signals to that effect rather than leading the person on. Start by saying no, very politely, and possibly offering some polite excuse. Some people do not read subtle messages though, and you may have to escalate the signals. When someone repeatedly asks you out, despite your offering no encouragement, make your excuses a little more forceful: "No, I can't go out that night. Thank you for asking me, though."

What people do on dates depend upon where they are in a relationship with someone and their age. Any couple's first few dates are generally more structured than later dates. Dates are also an excellent opportunity for a couple to pursue their individual interests and to introduce each other to them. One of the joys of friendship, after all, is to interest a friend in something new that he or she might not otherwise have done.



It is more important for people to be introduced in a warm, friendly manner rather than to worry about formality.

If in doubt...remember the four G's who are always introduced first...
Guests of honor, with the guest of honor taking precedence over the previous three G's.

"Lindsay, I'd like you to meet Bill Smith. Bill, this is Lindsay Barkley."

To meet and greet someone, extend your hand with a firm (not bone-crushing, please) handshake, when introduced. Keep it short.

If you are the only person in a group who knows the others' names, it is your responsibility to introduce people.

Forgetting names happens to everyone. It's best to be gracious, perhaps make a complimentary statement. "I want to introduce you to the best ski instructor this side of the Rockies."

Admit your forgetfulness, and let him or her introduce themselves. If you find yourself in a situation where someone might not remember you, always offer your name right away, never embarrass someone by saying, "You don't remember me, do you?" 



Telephone before hand, to determine if the company is accepting applications. Find out if you need to make an appointment or if you can just walk in and fill out an application.
Looks do count. When applying for a job, look your best. Your future employer's first impression of you is the way you look when you walk through the door.


1. Driver's license.
2. Social security number.
3. The names, addresses, and phone numbers of three personal references.
4. The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all former employers.


1. Know something about the company.
2. Have a business attitude.
3. Don't be shy.
4. Remember to smile, make eye contact, and shake hands firmly.
5. State your name clearly.
6. Answer questions clearly with yes and no's; not grunts, yeahs, and uh-huh's.
7. At the end of the interview, thank the interviewer for his/her time.
If you aren't hired right away, don't hesitate to check in periodically to see how the job situation is. This way they will remember you. 



A speech or talk is not an article to be read aloud. It should be the oral projection of your personality, experiences, and ideas.



You have the most audience attention right after the introduction. Don't waste it on “small talk” get to the meat of what you have to say.


Your speech should have one theme. You may have one or two points, but one main idea. Think of your speech as a symphony with two or three movements that tie it together.


Draw a picture in the listeners' minds. When you write your speech, list personal experiences that tie into your theme. Personal experiences can paint pictures in the listeners' minds.


Use simple language that you and your audience both can understand. Your speech draft should look like a radio script rather than a newspaper article. It should sound like you normally talk.


Your ending should summarize your theme. Something from the heart will stick with the audience and make your speech memorable.

Your audience will appreciate it if you keep it SHORT AND SWEET!



Anyone receiving an invitation with an R.S.V.P. on it is OBLIGED to reply promptly and certainly no later than the response date given.  It is inexcusably rude to leave a hostess with no idea of how many guests to expect at a party.

Ways to R.S.V.P.: Your PROMPT reply should "match" the invitation.

  1. A formal, third-person invitation requires a third-person reply.
  2. When the R.S.V.P. is followed by a telephone number, telephone your answer.
  3. If the invitation says "regrets only" don't send or call an acceptance unless you have something to discuss with the hostess.
  4. If there is no R.S.V.P. at all, you are not obligated to reply, but it is never wrong to do so, and any hostess will appreciate your effort.
  5. Do not offer to bring a guest. It will place the hostess in the awkward position of having to turn you down, or rearrange her food or seating.
  6. If you plans change and you cannot attend after saying yes, you are to let the hostess know immediately and send a regret note as well.
  7. A hostess gift is always acceptable. However, if you choose to bring wine or food, the hostess may not serve it. Do not insist.


  1. Can you turn your cell phone to vibrate?
  2. Sit up straight; not rigidly, but avoid slouching.
  3. Keep your elbows off the table when eating, although they may be rested on the table between courses or when you are not eating.
  4. Do not talk with your mouth full of food.
  5. Do not wave around a fork or any utensil with food on it.
  6. Once you have put food on a utensil, eat it. Do not hold it in midair while you talk -or listen.
  7. Cut food into small, bite-sized pieces, one piece at a time. No one over the age of two should cut all his food into small pieces before eating it.
  8. Eat slowly. Do not inhale food, but rather chew it.
  9. Chew food quietly. Do not slurp or make any other unattractive noises when eating.
  10. Reach for foods that are easily within your reach. Ask others to pass foods that are not near you.
  11. Always say "Please" and "Thank You" when foods are passed to you or when accepting or declining food.
  12. If you are eating in someone's home, remember that someone prepared the meal, and compliment the cook.
  13. If you must leave the table during the meal or before everyone else has finished, excuse yourself.
  14. No one should begin eating until all the food is served, and everyone should wait for the hostess or the host to take the first bite.
  15. Unless grace will be said, put your napkin in your lap as soon as you sit down. If grace will be offered, do not put the napkin in your lap until it has been said.
  16. Leave your napkin on the table when you are finished. Do not “ball” it up, or leave it on your chair.
  17. Leave your fork and knife on a diagonal across your plate to indicate you are finished.
  18. When there are waiters serving and clearing, acknowledge their presence, and lean slightly out of their way. Say thank you.
  19. Push your chair in when you leave.



Afternoon teas are given in honor of visiting celebrities, new neighbors, a house guest, to "warm" a new house, or for no reason other than wanting to entertain your friends.

Invitations to a formal tea can be printed, written, or fill-in the blank. Personal notepaper invitations are very acceptable, also.

The tea table may be set up in any room or rooms that have adequate space and easy access and exit. A large tray is set at either end of the table, one for the tea and one for the coffee or punch. The food for a tea party is quite different from other types of parties. For one thing, much of the food is sweet. Cookies, cupcakes, fruitcakes, or slices of iced cake are almost always offered. In addition, for those who do not have a "sweet tooth," tea sandwiches are served. Tea sandwiches are small, made on very thin bread, and are usually cold; however, hot food such as cheese puffs, etc., are acceptable. The sandwiches are light and delicate; watercress, rolled in thin bread, a cherry tomato sliced on a round of bread, cream cheese on date-and-nut bread, and crabmeat on toast are typical choices for tea-party menus.

It is an honor to be invited to pour tea or coffee. Offer to pour for an older person at your table.

Ladies: Afternoon dresses or suits are very appropriate. Hats and gloves are acceptable. Gloves are always removed with the coat. Gentlemen: Business suits are appropriate.

When a tea is given for someone, or to celebrate something special, it is to some extent "formal." When there is a guest or guests of honor, the host and the guest of honor should stand together near the door to greet and talk with the arriving guests. You may return to the tea table as many times as you wish, but you may not overload your plate at any one time. It is your responsibility to introduce yourself to anyone you do not know. When you are ready to leave, you simply thank your host and hostess, say good-bye to the guest of honor, and leave. Be sure to write a thank you note to your hostess immediately following the tea.



Tipping, is for many people in the service industry, and who are dependent on a "reward" for good service, in addition to their regular salaries.

Tips should be merited. When service is bad, the personnel deliberately rude, careless, or inattentive, the amount of the tip should be reduced. A this time, it would be appropriate to approach the manager (or owner) and express your displeasure at the service you received. If everyone continues to tip at the same rate, regardless of the effort made to please, there is no incentive to make any extra effort at all. We are all at the mercy of the "system," but by rewarding good service more generously and withholding a gratuity when service is bad, we can help to make tipping acceptable.

A standard tip for waiters or waitresses is 15% of the bill. (A good way to calculate this, is 2 times the current California tax rate of 8.75%)
If the service is extraordinarily good, slightly more is appropriate, say 20%.

Remember to tip 15% for the beautician, manicurist, or barber. There are other people who should receive monetary rewards for their services. A couple of dollars is appropriate for the valet attendant, car wash attendant, and the pizza delivery person.

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