Southeastern NEWS Southeastern Louisiana University Office of University Relations SLU 880, Hammond, LA 70402 504/549-2341/fax 504-549-2061 firstname.lastname@example.org www.selu.edu/NewsEvents Date: 4/28/98 Contact: Christina Chapple 24 SLU PROGRAM TEACHES SOCIAL SKILLS TO FUTURE BUSINESS HAMMOND -- The basics of etiquette are usually ingrained in us in childhood: "knives to the right, forks to the left."..."Don't chew with your mouth full."..."Get those elbows off the table!" But the finer niceties of dining are not necessarily part of the rough and tumble, catch-as- catch-can learning that goes on at family and school lunchroom meals. Yet faux pas-less table manners, not to mention professional demeanor and proper attire, are crucial to success in the workplace. So, the head of Southeastern Louisiana University's Master of Business Administration program, Brad O'Hara, decided this semester to add a unit on social skills to MBA students' studies of subjects such as finance, accounting and marketing. Twenty-three business graduate students learned about proper "professional demeanor" from Anna Bass, administrative assistant to Southeastern College of Business Dean Mike Budden; "dining etiquette" from Chris Eleser, a member of the university's developmental education faculty and a long time advisor for Phi Mu Fraternity; and "dressing for success" from two representatives from the Baton Rouge clothing store Garland and Co. The "pinnacle" of the week-long social skills course was a formal dinner on April 24 at the Alumni Center. The students sat down to what Eleser called a socially "challenging" meal along with special guests from campus and the community. Guests were Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jamene Dahmer, North Oaks Health Systems Community Relations Officer Michelle Sutton; Donna Taylor, vice president of Asset Management with Stirling Properties; Kim Hunter, executive assistant to Southeastern President Sally Clausen; Phil Livingston of president of the Hammond Region, Deposit Guaranty Bank; Keith Bobb-Semple, personnel director for the City of Hammond, and Don Ayres, president of First Guaranty Bank. Taylor and Sutton are Southeastern MBA Program alumni. Eleser reviewed the students on points of etiquette such how to position silverware if how a diner should position his silverware if he has to leave the table in the middle of a meal and properly handling soup spoons. "This is a learning experience," she told the guests, "so we appreciate your patience." "But do we get credit for this, too," laughed Bobb Semple. The students said the learning experience was fun as well as very useful. "I've really been enjoying this. It's answered a lot of questions," said Andre France of Hammond. "It's a wonderful opportunity to find out more about three very important aspects of business," agreed Bert Trecost, also of Hammond.