Aug 3, 201209:36 PMIn Her Business
Colleen Harding of Cleveland School of Etiquette on Loving What You Do
Colleen Harding is a professional protocol consultant who is certified in traditional and corporate etiquette byThe American School of Protocol in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to opening the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Etiquette, she spent over twenty years in the business market as a sales professional. She a veteran broadcast sales executive in both radio and television. In addition, she spent nine years in the telecommunication industry working in both the Cleveland and Columbus markets. She understands the definition of competition and knows the importance of being polished to gain the competitive edge today.
“Politeness and consideration for others is like investing pennies and getting dollars back”
What drives your passion for your business?
The need for protocol training drives my business. I watch how people interact today. I watch how people dine in restaurants; how they speak on cell phones; how they dress in church or in professional environments; how they dress for Casual Fridays; if they send thank you notes; how they introduce themselves and others; and how they carry themselves in business and social situations. It’s very interesting to me.
I believe that a person who is polished and professional is significantly more credible and confident in all aspects of their lives. Protocol training develops the confidence and enhances ones personal/professional image.
When a person understands the protocol necessary for a particular environment, they carry themselves very differently. It makes you want to be around them. It makes you trust them in business and admire them socially because they are prepared for whatever situation or setting they venture into.
What is one significant challenge you have faced in growing your business?
One challenge has been how to get some individuals to see protocol training as an investment in his/her image. Some see the value in protocol training but they don’t want to pay for it. It is a small challenge I have encountered. I don’t apologize for my fees. If a person or company is serious about their image, they know the value. If you are a college graduate and you have prepare yourself scholastically, why would you even flinch at paying for training that would prepare you socially and professionally? If you are a corporation, you know the value of your own professional image in the market place. Conveying that message in the form of protocol training ensures that your employees depict the same image.
What are some of the ways that you have addressed this challenge?
I work with the individuals who are serious about becoming polished and professional. I offer classes regularly for young people and adults privately and in small group settings on how to properly interact in a personal, business and professional world.
What advise would you have for other women business owners?
Stay true to your course and your plan and do what you love. When you do what you love, you never go to work. Someone once told me, “figure out what you love, then figure out how to get paid to do it.” I think that was great advice because if you do what you love, your going to be great at it and eventually the money will come.
Don’t get discouraged. If things don’t work out or something falls through, don’t over think it or stew. Walk away for a bit and then come back and yell “NEXT” and move on! I do believe the best lessons come from minor tragedies and disappointments. They give us an opportunity to show people who we are and what we are made of. They also come with great lessons if we are open to learning from them.
To learn more about the Cleveland School of Etiquette, visit their website www.clevelandschoolofetiquette.com or call (216) 970-5889
In Her Business is an article series published by The Women's Book. It connects readers to innovative and growth-oriented women business owners. Do you know someone who would make a great profile? Got a tip to share? Contact us.