A top corporate etiquette trainer had two tips last Wednesday for Fairfield students to remember: everyone you meet is a potential client and you never have a second chance to craft their first impression of you in the business world.

Ann Marie Sabath, president of At Ease Inc., discussed how perfecting one’s body language, knowing how to properly mingle with strangers, exemplifying proficient table manners, and giving a precise business introduction are the key ingredients to mastering the feared first impression at the Dolan School of Business’ “Gaining that Competitive Edge” annual seminar series.

“You are given two ears and a mouth for a reason, listen more than you speak … pause and count to two so that you avoid interruptions,” said Sabath.

Money is usually an area of discussion that may cause awkwardness and confrontation. What is one to do if asked how much they make? Sabath believes that the best way to dodge this question is to simply say, “The company I represent is very fair to me.” This response helps you to remain tactful and diplomatic, without having to give away your most confidential information.

Many students entering the business world must know that even the feared rejection letter can be made into a chance for another golden opportunity. According to Sabath, “If you receive a rejection letter in the mail, be sure to follow up with a thank you card, as long as it is not a chummy Hallmark card.”

Over 90,000 professionals in the business, industry, government and educational sectors have been taught by Sabath, whether it was a Lunch ‘N Learn program or an on-site workshop. She has written seven other books on professional etiquette and augmenting client relationships.

Sabath’s clients include Marriott International, Citigroup, Procter & Gamble and American Express. Sabath has been profiled everywhere from Forbes to the Wall Street Journal.

The Assistant Dean of Graduate Programs Myrsini Papoutsis helped make this special event possible.  “I thought that it was a phenomenal presentation, Sabath really knows her stuff, and she is very well researched on the international cultures,” she said.

Senior Frank Romano believes that “many college students have tremendous knowledge, but they do not know how to market themselves. Tonight’s event helped guide students with the concrete skills that are necessary inside and outside the workplace.”

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