Luncheon lessons

Having access to top-flight business people every day of the week is the best part of my job…by far.

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By  James Bennett Published  May 11, 2006

|~||~||~|Having access to top-flight business people every day of the week is the best part of my job…by far. Of course, you meet all sorts. There are those who are only prepared to spend five minutes on the phone or give you a standard soundbite at a press conference; then there are those that kindly make room in their schedules for say 15 to 30 minutes with perhaps a few seconds for some quick snaps with a photographer; and then there are those that have a sudden flash of inspiration and say to themselves, “you know, maybe I should take the lead this time and invite him round for tea instead.” Jim Morrison, founder and über ruler of handset and telecoms company i-mate is thankfully one of the latter, having invited me to lunch at a lovely restaurant as he was preparing to pack one suitcase (as he always does) and jet around the world in less than two weeks – half a million miles a year in a plane, I’m not sure how he does it. As we were chatting though – in one of the most informal atmospheres any top-notch CEO worth his or her mettle has decided to take me – Morrison dropped into the conversation the fact that he’d taken etiquette lessons (including learning how to dance and mistakenly waltzing the former Australian Prime Minister’s wife during a ball) while serving as a submarine engineer for 12 years. It was then that my mind started dangerously racing. Perhaps I could start etiquette classes for CEOs in the region as well as those who come and visit on business? Many don’t need it I’m sure but others will do. Imagine the modules the class would teach. Straight after the more serious lessons on how to hold a press conference, employ a decent public relations team, shake hands with your peers and takeover a dangerous business rival, would come the etiquette classes for the flashier business leader: How to publicise your island: Bought a large stretch of beach lately? Well if you have you’ll want the whole world to know and we can teach you how. Don a suit emblazoned in your national flag, fly in your country’s symbolic national telephone box and prance around on some sand waving your hands in the air. What do you mean you look ridiculous? Of course you don’t. How to flaunt your riches: If your business is doing well, luxury has no boundaries, and we know you agree. Let’s face it, everyone likes a show off. Make sure you reveal your assets to others and always open up your financial matters to the competition. And remember, always wear expensive things and blow your own trumpet in front of colleagues and competitors. Laugh at other people’s mistakes: This is perhaps one of the cruelest things one can do, so do it. If someone’s not doing well or makes even the smallest of mistakes bring it to everyone’s attention, ridiculing them in front of all their colleagues immediately transforming them into an unemployable outcast. Naturally, these are fictional (well, all except the first one) and a large majority of CEOs adhere to a strict code of conduct that is to be commended, but sadly a small minority don’t. Perhaps, dancing lessons aside, etiquette should be taught to CEOs worldwide, then at least I’d get more informal lunches with you guys. Any takers?||**||

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