Very happy new year to all my wonderful readers. Please accept my profound depth of gratitude for your dedication to the column. This is wishing everyone the best the year has to offer as we strive to entrench a culture of civility through sustained courteous behavior.

Welcome back to your favourite column, the page that ensures you constantly win with people by putting the best foot forward. It is a new year, and the excitement is excusable. Why the frenzy and flurry of activities to herald the New Year you may wonder? The answer is not far fetched – every year holds enormous promises. Man is not wired for stagnation, and so indulges in permissible reverie of utopian, which presents disruption and pivotal moments as a certainty. These congenital aspirations to become better and fulfil divine purpose are unpacked in the annual new year resolution and goal setting ceremonies on the eve of the new year. The enthusiasm which characterizes the “cross over’ is a pointer to the fact that every heart pants after a concomitant improvement. The new year wish list validates the theory that everybody wants ‘more’ out of life, hence the imperativeness to up the game of life.

In this edition we shall be sharing some basic tips, which would be expanded in subsequent series. The simple definition by Emily Post that, ‘when two people come together and their behaviors affect each other, you have etiquette,’ should be the watchword. Etiquette should therefore take precedence over every other consideration because your wishes cannot be achieved in isolation. Wake up and smell the coffee, you cannot succeed without others.

The etiquette advantage which should top your goal for the new year puts you firmly in charge hence the kickoff for 2019 is to develop a charismatic (defined in the dictionary as “exercising a compelling charm which inspires devotion to others) attitude. By implication, the recipe for social engagement entails a selfless approach rather than an obsession with self.

Treat everyone with dignity:  Are you amused at the uncommon social dexterity on display as the political campaigns draw to a dizzying climax? The governor wolfing down a local delicacy at the motor park, another sewing clothes in a corner shop surrounded by market women while the one whose highfaluting grammatical gymnastics will make the Queen of England green with envy is now an expert communicator in broken English? You win when you connect with people! That is what sets the pace for social relevance.

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The cardinal pillars of etiquette are premised on respect and consideration for others. This should colour your perception of others. A courteous behavior guarantees a positive outcome irrespective of the circumstance.

Step up to the Diamond Rule:  Strive to develop a charming personality through an unpretentious devotion to other people. Relationships evolve, aim to become a better you this year by scaling up your social matrix. Your network should be boosted through deliberate strategic planning to advance the quality of your affiliations. Etiquette consists of unwritten codes, which in reality are more impactful than the ironclad documented rules. Arm yourself with the Diamond Rule. The golden rule prescribes that you treat people the way you want them to treat you while the Platinum Rule stipulates that you do unto others the way they would want to be treated. However, the ultimate is the Diamond Rule which demands that you do unto others the way someone special did unto you. Imagine treating subordinates the way your sweet mum or significant other does to you. Add value to people, become a social asset and not a civil liability. Disrupt your status and transform into a go-to person, whom people gravitate to. Maintain a positive attitude with a welcoming smile and become an encourager who depletes the negativity account pervading our environment. 

Get off the couch!  Dear potato couch, I regret to inform you that you are missing out in life. There is a bigger fish to fry out there. ‘If the dog does not bark, it’s entitlement will go to the goat,’ is my favourite adage. Be honest with yourself, don’t you truly admire people who light up a room with their magnetic personality? ‘Man is a social animal’, ‘No man is an island’, ‘Life is meant to be lived’, ‘Men are ladders’, need I say more? One of your goals this year must be to socialize online or offline. Even the so called recluse who is permanently browsing the internet is simply seeking to connect with others. When the chips are down, you would need people! It is imperative to rework your net-worth to include a robust social network. Add value to people, become a social asset and not a liability.

You can win big bearing in mind that in the game of life. Just like in the Game of Thrones, a middle ground is a mirage. Develop your winning ways through etiquette.