The all-important bottom line may still reign supreme, but that hasn’t stopped many in the business world from trying to climb the ladder of success with style.
Etiquette training schools report that their enrollments are on the rise—a trend they say is driven by those who feel proper use of social and business graces gives them an edge.
"It's becoming a very competitive world,” said Patricia Fitzpatrick, founder and director of the Etiquette School. “People are seeking etiquette training to stay on top of their game."
In 2012, the Etiquette School of New York, based in Manhattan, a 20 percent increase in enrollment and in 2013 the increase is nearing 40 percent.
About 85 percent of professional success is due to "soft" skills, such as social and people skills, and 15 percent is due to technical knowledge and skills, according to three separate research projects by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation and the Stanford Research Institute.
"There is a lack of social graces or soft skills in society, but the wealthy already have etiquette skills and knowledge. Many of them grew up in a very formal family environment or they learn etiquette in boarding school or from their grandmothers," said Fitzgerald.
Credit union executive Carol Kerr calls etiquette training the key to increased revenue and word of mouth sales.
She's requiring 20 members of her client-facing staff to complete the American School of Protocol's Power, Presence & Style etiquette class.
"The standard we are trying to achieve is excellence and polish. I expect the class to improve and enhance our business and attract new clients by teaching our employees to be professional and gracious," said Kerr, who is head of client services at Member Driven Technologies, a credit union service organization in Detroit.
Kerr graduated from the class herself in the early 1990s when she worked in sales at an Atlanta-based technology sales company.