Approximately 120 UCSB students learned to mind their P’s and Q’s this weekend at a business etiquette and protocol event.

Hosted by the UCSB Alumni Association, the event consisted of two seminars and a luncheon where participants were taught proper table manners. Susan Goodale, Program Director for the UCSB Alumni Association, said the affair aimed to polish students’ overall decorum and business-related behavior.

“[The event] provided students with an opportunity to refresh their etiquette skills and business protocol and give them an advantage when entering the competitive work force,” Goodale said.

Josue Aparicio, a second-year political science major, attended the seminar in order to pass on the lessons of polite society to his fraternity brothers at Theta Nu Kappa.

“We came to the conference for business etiquette, in order to teach the pledges and prepare them for the future work force,” Aparicio said. “We hope to hold workshops for our fraternity.”

Nonnie Owens, a certified etiquette teacher and consultant, led most of the seminar and advised students on a variety of behavioral taboos.

According to Owens, the key to making a great first impression is the ‘Rule of Twelve.’ According to her rule, students’ first twelve words should be some form of gratitude or thanks, their first twelve steps taken should be confident, the first twelve inches from someone’s head down should be well groomed well-groomed as well as the last twelve inches from mid-calf to the floor.

“If you want to stand out, it’s better to overdress than underdress,” Owen said. “[For women] the more skin [they show], the less power [they have].”

Lisa Flynn, a third-year psychology major, said she found such tips helpful.

“I’m always nervous in a situation where I don’t know anyone,” Flynn said. “Smiling, being confident and a good attitude is a good way to network and meet people.”

Touching on Facebook protocol, Owens advised students to be careful what they post on the Internet since future employers could base decisions on online content. If a future employer asks if you are on Facebook, Owens encouraged students to not lie, as employers can easily trace individual’s online footprints.

For the luncheon, students made their way to the Faculty Club where Owens guided the diners through a rehearsal meal. One central lesson, Owen said, was that the breadbasket gets passed counterclockwise.

When confused about which silverware to use, Owen advised participants to begin with the outermost silverware and work their way in. Finally, she also instructed students to remember the ‘B.M.W.’ of dining – bread goes on the left, the meal is in the center and the glass of water is to the right.

Sarah Cha, a fourth-year molecular cell-developmental biology major, said she was initially perplexed by the row of utensils before her.

“I didn’t know which fork to use,” Cha said. “Now I have the sources and information. Since I’m graduating I think these skills will be really useful.”