Eric Francis Manu, Principal of British Protocol Academy and Vice Dean at Swiss Institute of Cultural Diplomacy (SICD)

Eric Francis Manu FRSA is an Executive Leadership Coach and Etiquette Consultant, TEDx Speaker, Lecturer, and Entrepreneur who has held positions in both the Financial Services and Corporate sectors. He is the founder and Principal of the International British Protocol Academy and a Success Philanthropist.  After graduating from the University of Cambridge, he became the Africa advisor for FIFA Ethics And Regulation Watch; Vice Dean of the Swiss Institute of Cultural Diplomacy; a School Governor and Trustee, and has represented several other organisations as a non-executive Director. He has also hosted award ceremonies and events for global brands and organisations. Including the multi-sector, China Britain Trade Expo. Currently studying at Havard Business Executive Education. In 2018 he was recognized by peers and colleagues for his contribution to the hospitality and etiquette industries, by being nominated for a global Hospitality Award, and subsequently became a prize winner of the Big Ben Award at the Houses of Parliament in London. Eric is a member of the Association for Coaching. His mission is to inspire and help others follow the rules of etiquette, thereby increase the effect of what can be achieved with kindness and compassion.


Helping young people transition into higher education involves more than just giving them academic support. Encouraging them to follow the rules of etiquette, and good manners, will also play an important part in their success. At the same time, it creates a better experience for everyone they meet at university or college.

The list below illustrates how students can act in a well-mannered way, and meet others’ expectations of them:

Communicating with others

Polite words and language should be used when speaking to lecturers, professors, and tutors; students, or anyone else. Conversely, when others are speaking it’s important to pay attention to what is being said. This shows an interest and respect for the other person’s point of view. Similarly, allowing them to talk without interruption, and then waiting politely to have the opportunity to contribute more to the conversation. Making eye contact or looking directly at the camera during an online call is also preferable.

Etiquette in the classroom or a group setting

Punctuality will be expected, so it’s always better to plan ahead to avoid being late for class. Leaving home a little earlier if need be. Students need to appreciate the importance of fulfilling their responsibilities, without complaint. For example, in meeting deadlines, doing the requisite amount of studying, and completing any other necessary tasks. Any disruptive behaviour is unacceptable so should be avoided at all costs. Such as using a mobile phone or engaging in conversation with others when a lecture is in progress. Similarly, taking care to only ask questions or give an opinion at the appropriate time.

If a student should have any concerns about someone else’s behaviour or be in actual conflict with him or her, this needs to be resolved as promptly and politely as possible. Seeking help from a member of the higher education authority if need be. It’s imperative for students to act with honesty, and integrity always. Higher education establishments usually have strict codes of practice regarding plagiarism, cheating, or any other form of dishonesty.

Looking good!

A student’s clothes should always be appropriate, irrespective of whether they are smart or casual, and be comfortable to wear. Following any policies set by the university or college, and so far, as possible adhering to personal style. This will create a positive impression of someone who is well organised, confident, and capable. Good personal hygiene and grooming habits are vital. Ensuring that hair, makeup, and nails are neat and well-maintained. It’s also necessary to pay attention to the smaller details. For example, clothing should be clean and wrinkle-free, and shoes polished.

Networking and social etiquette

Networking is a valuable tool for growing connections. Whether it is done formally or at a social event, strong relationships can be built with academic staff, other students, or business professionals. Responsible alcohol consumption is always important, and an understanding of the reasons for moderation. Having respect for others’ personal space and boundaries shows consideration for their feelings, so it’s necessary to maintain an appropriate distance between you.

Familiarity with basic dining etiquette is also important. Including the proper use of utensils, and appropriate topics of conversation at mealtimes. Expressing gratitude and being appreciative of an act of kindness can be done by saying thank you at the time, or in an email or note sent later.

Well-being and self-care

Looking after physical, mental, and emotional well-being should become a priority during higher education. If a student feels overwhelmed or stressed, then he or she needs to be aware that support can be sought from family members; peers; teaching staff, or counseling services. Taking regular breaks for rest, and relaxation is a vital part of this.  Parents can lead by example, by demonstrating healthy self-care practices of their own, which their children can model. Such as going to the gym, doing yoga, or meditating.

Why not make sure your child can cook a few simple meals, especially if he or she is living away from home for the first time? Nutrition is a vital part of staying healthy and can help build friendships with others who don’t have this skill.

Leadership and professional development

Students may continue building a curriculum vitae during higher education. Attending workshops or conferences not only allows them to keep up to date with recent developments in their area of study but can also lead to a passion for making a positive impact in that particular industry. Following the correct forms of etiquette at these events, when interacting with others who might be able to provide future opportunities like a professional internship, is important if full advantage of them is to be taken.

Cultivating relationships with mentors who can provide guidance, support, and valuable insight for the future might also prove to be beneficial. Having the right attitude for success is important, and a mentor can help with this.

Showing respect for educational resources and facilities

Library etiquette: Library users need to show respect for the resources and facilities provided in observing quiet zones, returning borrowed materials on time, and so on. Technology etiquette: Any guidelines or restrictions regarding the use of electronic devices in classrooms or libraries will need to be followed.

Other campus facilities: As with any other shared accommodation all of these facilities should be treated with care, and respect.

Digital and social media etiquette

Students will again be expected to behave in accordance with the correct form of etiquette whenever they are online. Whether this is on social media, in discussion forums, or virtual meetings. Online boundaries should be respected, and no inappropriate content shared.

Consideration and respect should also be given to others’ privacy and security. Sensitive information should not be shared without permission, and cybersecurity protocols adhered to. In an attempt to protect personal, and institutional data.

It’s also important to follow the rules of netiquette! For example, not using offensive language, or capital letters excessively since this might be interpreted as shouting.

Respect for diversity and inclusion:

Considering the needs of all students will be an integral part of your child’s experience of higher education. Students need to show understanding and respect for diverse cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds. The university or college is likely to foster an inclusive learning environment where everyone is given the opportunity to feel valued and heard, so, an awareness of the meaning of these terms, and using them politely is necessary. This includes individuals’ preferred pronouns, and not making assumptions about gender identity or expression. Also, in relation to those with disabilities, for whom accessible materials and accommodation will be provided.

You can see from this that following the rules of etiquette reflects a much deeper commitment to treating others with kindness, consideration, and respect. Although this article deals specifically with higher education, etiquette transcends everything we do. It can be practised or learned at any age, by anyone who is eager to achieve personal or professional success.

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