Charleston School of Protocol Banner
"Teaching business etiquette as the subtle, redefining confidence which enables people to excel and succeed in today's corporate culture."~ Cindy Grosso, Founder

Free Newsletter - Your Manners Matter Minute

As Seen On The Dr. Phil Show!
Watch Dr. Phill

Free Newsletter - Your Manners Matter Minute

"Your Manners Matter Minute"
Subscribe to Newsletter

Is a Free, Subscriber Based, Tip of the Month Publication.

What is your EtiQ?

What is your EtiQ?


Best birthday behavior: Etiquette tips for party hosts  Read More >>

The 8 Best Etiquette Rules We Learned From Grandma  Read More >>

A Life Well Lived - Having Style 

Political Politesse


Political Politesse

Assessing The Addressing, Appraising The Applause
January 25, 2007
WEIR, Courant Staff Writer


A few things we noticed during President Bush's State of the Union address Tuesday:
Madame Speaker:





Bush began his speech noting that he was the first president to begin the State of the Union message with the words "Madame Speaker," referring to Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif. But why "madame?" As opposed to the male honorific "mister," it's rarely used in everyday speech. And when it is, it often has to do with brothels.

Don't tell that to Judith Martin, better known as etiquette columnist Miss Manners. She was glad to hear Pelosi addressed as "madame" and that its "smutty connotations" seem to be fading.

"I was very pleased that they used the term `madame speaker' without any snickers," she says.

But isn't it a little antiquated? How about "Ms. Speaker?"

"No," Martin says emphatically. "Why are you fooling around with it? People have accepted it, so don't make trouble. It seemed to come off very naturally last night."

Madame Blinky vs. the Veep's Thousand-Yard Stare: The normal blink rate is 10 to 20 per minute, says body-language expert Patti Wood. She counted 60 to 70 per minute on Nancy Pelosi Tuesday night.

"I believe that it was a combination of nervousness and her displeasure with [Bush] in general," says Wood, author of "Success Signals - Body Language in Business."

Vice President Dick Cheney, on the other hand, did not blink once for the entire 50-minute speech. Or maybe it just seemed that way in contrast to Pelosi.

Not blinking, Wood says, "can mean that you're disinterested and that you've checked out. Which is my read on Cheney."

Clapping for Yourself: A few of the folks honored by the president joined in on the applause when their names were mentioned. The etiquette experts agree: This is not done.

Martin says the faux pas is understandable for anyone receiving presidential huzzahs on national television. It doesn't happen every day; they're embarrassed and don't know what to do. Ideally, though, such situations call for the "modest, humbled and pleased" look.

Cindy Grosso, who operates the Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette in
South Carolina, concurs. Clapping for yourself, she says, is like raising your glass with the others when you're the subject of a toast, another common mistake. It's best to smile, look around and nod your head in thanks.

Contact William Weir at

Author: William Wier

Source: The Harfort Courant

<< Back

Footer Image