As an etiquette instructor, most people think my instruction revolves around lessons in poise and posture, the importance of a firm handshake, and proper table manners. What they don’t realize is that, before I get into any of the manners skills training, I begin each and every client session with a very frank conversation about the importance of a positive attitude as being essential to having good manners.

Learning how to be more positive actually led me to my interest in teaching manners in the first place. As a New Yorker, I was born with the natural tendency to look at the more cynical side of everything, often viewing the glass as half-empty rather than half-full. Growing up in a household with an unhappy parent certainly didn’t add to my ability to look on the brighter side of life. It certainly hasn’t been an easy road, however, I had the good fortune to marry someone who is eternally optimistic and has inspired me to move forward in the right direction.

A positive attitude has no prejudice. It is not bound by color, race, or religion. It does not care if one is rich or poor. Anyone has the right to display a positive attitude, and it makes that person much more attractive to others. As far as making a good first impression, a positive attitude (coupled with an ear-to-ear smile) is a sure-fire way to show others you are likable, friendly—and a full participant in your life.

When I decided to immerse myself in manners, I thought long and hard about this concept of a positive attitude and how it can affect our relationships, our interactions, and our everyday circumstances. I began to look at people of all ages and noticed how many walk around with what I call “mad on” faces, like they have the weight of the world on their shoulders, barely able to crack a smile. And I realized that having a positive attitude—like having good manners—is a choice, and requires discipline and practice.

Here are two pieces of etiquette advice that I share with my clients, and that I aspire to live by on a daily basis.

Possess a great attitude!

When you wake up each morning, choose to be upbeat and positive, as this helps to set the tone for the day. Life is one giant possibility, so why not embrace it with an open and willing attitude to try new things and take risks. You only have one lifetime, and there is no point in wallowing in negativity. Make a conscious choice to enjoy a happy and successful life.

Don’t Forget to Smile.

A smile is critical and often overlooked. Find something to be thankful for each day and put a smile on your face. This will win allies and attract friends. A smile is the most inviting of all gestures. If you smile on the outside, your insides will follow suit. Practice your smile each day in front of the mirror when brushing your teeth, and in no time you will have a perfect, authentic smile.


Beverly Hills Manners’ CEO, Lisa Gaché, is one of the foremost etiquette, manners and life skills experts.  Her educational and entertainment company, founded in 2006, is recognized for its new school approach.  Lisa has appeared in the media and contributed to various outlets, including CNNNPR“The Today Show,” KTLA-TVRadio Disney, Woman’s DayUSA TodayThe Los Angeles TimesThe New York Post and The New York Daily News.  Her contributions to blogs and websites range from the Los Angeles Times, AOL, The Huffington Post and Weddzilla.  Gaché has also been a guest expert on number of reality shows including VH1’s “Charm School” and Discovery Channel’s “Living with Ed.”