Chic Spotlight: Etiquette Expert, Ann Marie Sabath

Chic Spotlight: Etiquette Expert, Ann Marie Sabath

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Cincy Chic: For more than two decades, you’ve been doing international etiquette consulting for Fortune 500 companies. Can you tell us why you started At Ease, Inc.?
Ann Marie Sabath:
At Ease Inc. was started for three reasons:

1. To assist individuals in learning what they don’t know.
2. To give individuals what we call those 200 half-percents for winning 100 percent of the way in business.
3. To teach individuals those little courtesies for differentiating themselves from their competition.

Cincy Chic: At Ease spans the globe with offices in Taiwan, Australia, Slovakia, Egypt, as well as nationally in Boston, New York, Chicago, Cleveland and Cincinnati. Are there similar business etiquette issues, that no matter what culture you’re in, people universally have to deal with?

Sabath: Universally, the greatest challenge is putting people first and then projects. Whether you are doing business across the globe or in the “land of please” — Cincinnati, rather than following the “Golden Rule” (Do unto others as you would have others do unto you), follow the “Platinum Rule” (placing focus on others by interacting with them the way they deem necessary rather than as you see appropriate).

 Cincy Chic: Tell us about your background.
I spent 15 years representing the educational and marketing sectors. This helped lay the foundation for founding At Ease Inc., a 21-year-old business-etiquette training firm.0408OAKLEY.gif

Cincy Chic: You travel a lot for work and business. How do you manage to keep your sanity and do you have any tips for other women business travelers?
The best advice I can offer is to map out a work/life balance. In other words, work hard and play hard. Take your airtime for focusing on your personal interests.

Cincy Chic: What advice do you have for local small-business entrepreneurs who want to take their business to the next level and expand their brand either naturally or globally?
The best advice I can give for expanding business locally or globally is to spend more than 70 percent of your workday working “on” business rather than “in” business. Delegate, delegate, delegate.

By building a strong domestic business, overtime global business opportunities will occur.

Cincy Chic: What is the most common business etiquette faux pas that you see people commit?
The most commonly made business etiquette faux pas is over-promising and under-delivering.

Cincy Chic: Your book One Minute Manners is a handy-dandy guide offering quick solutions to the 157 most awkward situations you will ever face at work. How did you go about compiling the list and how did you choose No. 1?
0208GIBBERMAN.gif Sabath: The 157 most awkward situations were compiled as a result of training more than 90,000 professionals representing Fortune 500 clients and small businesses alike. Program participants consistently asked questions about these awkward situations.

Cincy Chic: In your book, Beyond Business Casual: What to Wear to Work If You Want to Get Ahead, you “address” what one’s attire has to say about how far their careers will advance. What advice do you have for the serious fashionistas who don’t want to compromise their personality for a corporate dress culture?
If people are serious about getting ahead, they will dress for the positions they want rather than the one they have. Serious fashionistas definitely have a place in the business world in more creative environments.

Cincy Chic: How do you spend your free time?
Playing golf and tennis.

Cincy Chic: What do you love about Cincinnati?
I love Cincinnati since it is the most polite city in the country. After all, who says “please” or “bitte” more than Cincinnatians? As we all know, it is a very livable city, offers a great quality of life and very loyal clients.