Q. I go to the gym with a coworker, and we rotate days on who drives. I tend to change my clothes more quickly, and since she takes longer, it makes me late getting back to work. How do I go about starting to drive separately without getting her upset?
S. K., Thomasville, NC
A. You’re correct: The key here is to solve the problem while not causing a rift. That means that “how” you talk to her is critical to a successful outcome. Your demeanor and tone of voice are as important as what you say. For example, what might upset your friend is if your tone of voice tells her that you’re irritated with her or that she’s doing something wrong. Focus on the problem which is your need to get back to work quickly. “Jenny, I’ve got a problem which is affecting our driving together. Unfortunately, I’ve got to get back to the office right after working out, so I’m going to drive over in my own car. I’ll meet you there.” Don’t ask her if this is okay with her. Simply, in a positive, friendly voice, let her know this is what you are going to do. The next day you can let her know that it really worked better for you to have your own car at the gym.
Q. I work for a small yet fantastic environmental non-profit. I’m holding a Meet and Greet with a few of our major donors, new members, business leaders and board members at the home of a gracious board member. Since most of these people know each other, should I make name tags? My instinct is yes. I just need a nudge in the right direction.
W. G., Bend, OR
A. Your instincts are serving you well—yes, nametags make sense especially because the people attending your event don’t all know each other well. Nametags make the whole process of meeting, greeting and remembering names so much easier, especially the remembering names part. One of the most frequently asked questions The Emily Post Institute receives is what to do when you have to make an introduction and you can’t remember a person’s name. With name tags the angst of that problem is removed, and people can more easily take advantage of mingling which is the whole point of your meet and greet.
By the way, if you’re in a situation where you need to introduce a person and you don’t remember their name (and they’re not wearing a name tag), the best solution is to admit your predicament, ask for the person’s name, and then make the introduction. “I’m sorry, could you please tell me your name?”
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Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton. She works with clients across many industries including technology, biotech and medical devices, financial services, and healthcare, and has over 20 years of human resources experience.
Elaine Varelas is managing partner at Keystone Partners, a career management firm in Boston and serves on the board of Career Partners International.
Cindy Atoji Keene is a freelance journalist with more than 25 years experience. E-mail her directly here.
Peter Post is the author of "The Etiquette Advantage in Business." Email questions about business etiquette to him directly here.
Stu Coleman, a partner and general manager at WinterWyman, manages the firm's Financial Contracting division, and provides strategic staffing services to Boston-area organizations needing Accounting and Finance workforce solutions and contract talent.
Tracy Cashman is Senior Vice President and Partner of the Information Technology search division at WinterWyman. She has 20 years of experience partnering with clients in the Boston area to conduct technology searches in a wide variety of industries and technology.
Paul Hellman is the founder of Express Potential, which specializes in executive communication skills. He consults and speaks internationally on how to capture attention & influence others. Email him directly here.