Should you consider executive training?
It’s a question that’s been hitting my inbox a lot of late, mostly from women who have read and implemented the information in my image ebooks and now find that their polished appearance has gained them access to groups of people who are polished in appearance, manners, and culture. While these women are enjoying the attention and respect of these circles, some are feeling a little unsure of themselves in the cultural areas and are wondering if executive training is worth the time and expense.
Executive training, also known as executive finishing school, teaches people how to dine, drink, converse, correspond, and behave appropriately in various cultures and situations. From learning which fork to use to what gifts to give when, executive training offers polish to those “diamonds in the rough” so they can shine brilliantly wherever they go.
But it’s not just for executives. Sales people, entrepreneurs, politicians, rock stars, and athletes – anyone who feels awkward in social situations can benefit from executive training. So can you. Did you know that Sean Connery underwent similar training in order to play James Bond? He did – with great success.
But training can be expensive and time consuming, depending on what skills you seek. Here are your options:
Swiss Finishing Schools
The legendary Swiss finishing schools offer the most complete, well-rounded cultural education available. You’ll learn how to dress properly, run a household, entertain, observe protocol, employ staff, converse in multiple languages, organize large events, and use public relations to your advantage. You’ll also study architecture, interior design, antiques, music, theater, and art, with frequent field trips around Switzerland and to surrounding countries. By the time you leave, you’ll not only be able to set up and run a large household (some of which, like embassies or centuries-old estates, are the size of small corporations) you’ll also know how to entertain for various business or social or functions, hostessing five or five thousand with equal finesse. Royals, aristocrats, diplomats, and wealthy business owners have been sending their daughters to Switzerland since the 1950’s to partake of this French crème de la crème training.
Length of study: 3-9 months
Cost: Approximately US $50,000
Executive training consultations, classes, and seminars are offered by various people and organizations around the world and present an abbreviated version of the Swiss finishing school: they take out the home management and fine arts lessons and focus on personal appearance, etiquette, fine dining, and protocol. Classes can last a day, a weekend, a week, or meet weekly for six or eight weeks, depending on the trainer.
You can find image and etiquette consultants locally, nationally, or internationally, depending on where you live. Just go to your favorite search engine and type in “executive training + your state (or country)” and begin your due diligence search. Check curriculum, training, and testimonials. There are plenty of good programs out there, so you should be able to find one suited to your needs.
Length of study: Varies; can be days or weeks
Cost: Approximately US$450-$15,000 depending on program length and content
You can also undertake your own executive-style training by reading books and attending classes that pertain to your areas of interest. Take makeup classes, read wardrobe management books, attend a wine tasting or take a wine class, try your hand at French cooking, take a flower arranging class, go to the ballet, opera, and theater, and visit museums to learn about different artists and periods. Take speaking and acting classes to feel comfortable in front of large groups. You can work at your own pace and as your budget allows, taking more time in areas that interest you more, less in areas that don’t.
Length of study: Varies; can last a lifetime
Location: At home, libraries, museums, theaters, etc.
Cost: $0 – thousands, depending on your interests
Yes, doing it yourself is the least expensive, but it’s also the most time consuming, as it may take you years to learn everything. When you turn to professionals and structured programs, you’re paying for the shortcut. So don’t discount it if you’re in a hurry to learn.
Whichever approach you choose, DO invest in yourself by learning how to dress, speak, and behave in various situations. You’ll not only have more confidence in yourself, you’ll also garner the respect and confidence of others, which almost always leads to more opportunities.
Want to get a the right track to executive success quickly? Invest in The Industry Darling course, which shows you how to become the “total package.” If you wish you could be the next Martha Stewart or Suze Orman of your industry, The Industry Darling will show you how to do it this year. Click here for more.