Little Things Count

Little Things Count

I was recently teaching a manners class to third graders. The subject of the day was the etiquette of public places. We were covering escalators, elevators, revolving doors and simply who opens the door for whom. As a teacher you always wonder if any of the information you are teaching is sinking in. As it turns out little minds are like sponges. I was thrilled to find out they each had an opportunity to open the door for their mom. Each of those moms, when asked, had to think back over their weeks activities. They were shocked that they had not paid attention and caught the newly learned gesture! Sometimes the little things go unnoticed but without them our social experiences break down.

“It’s the little things we do or say that make or break the beauty of the average passing day. Hearts like doors, will open with ease to very, very little keys, and don’t forget that two of these are “I thank you,” and “if you please.” The Protocol School of Washington

I think we all take for granted the little interactions we have with people and how we waltz through them on a daily basis. It turns out people don’t instinctively know all “the little things” of how to behave in our society. They need to pay attention. I believe that people learn the correct behavior in a situation by watching what others are doing.

The Elevator- Great invention! What is the etiquette of the elevator? When you are on a crowded elevator and you are in the front, step out and let the folks in the back exit the elevator. If you are closest to the control panel you may be asked to select a floor for someone. If more time is needed to exit the elevator, you will be the one to hold the elevator doors open longer.

Escalators- Why is it important to know the etiquette of the moving steps? Mainly so people don’t run into each other So when you are riding that escalator, if you are 15-20 minutes early for an appointment stand to the right. If you are running late, walk up the slow moving stairs on the left side.

The Revolving Door- Unless you live in a big city or stay in hotels a lot you don’t see these much anymore. How do people who have never seen a revolving door know how to enter them? If the door is already moving step in and walk with the door. If it is stationary a gentleman should enter first to get it moving for the next passenger who would enter the next chamber. Simply say “Allow me.”

Opening a Door is still expected from a gentleman. However the rule really is if you are the first person to the door you should open it for others. If someone is having trouble please offer to hold the door for them. If someone holds the door for you please say “Thank You”

Knowing the little things can get you noticed. The job market is tough these days. Knowing the little things can make a big difference, such as having your resume printed on a high quality resume paper can enhance your chances of getting that next job.

So embrace the little things. Stay aware of what people are doing in daily situations. Don’t forget your please and thank yous! Thinking of others will alway make a difference.

Cricket Wantland is a graduate of The Protocol School of Washington and is a Certified Consultant of Corporate Etiquette, International Protocol and Children’s Etiquette. She lives in Southern California and offers classes and training to all ages. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter or check out her website at

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One Comment

  1. smartin
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Thank You, Cricket. As always, you show us the right way in a common sense, no nonsense fashion. Those are some lucky third graders!

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