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After meeting and interviewing Conan O'Brien for the very first time, "Saturday Night Live's" executive producer Lorne Michaels recollects he was most impressed with:

a) His degree from Harvard University
b) His subversive sense of humor
c) His red hair
d) His manners

Yep, you guessed it. "Conan was very polite," said Michaels. Not only did his good manners stand out, they remain memorable in Michaels' mind to this day. O'Brien walked away with a spot on the show and another admirer.

Here's a roundup of polite opportunities just ripe for the taking:

Please…no monosyllabic answers. If you must, go to bed earlier but put some energy and enthusiasm for our mutual interests in your conversations.

Do not walk me through your social calendar when calling to set up a date. (I get it. You're busy.)

Close the loop. Always acknowledge receipt of an email to confirm that you've read the message and plan to take the necessary action.

I can hear you. Unless you're taking notes, it's rude to talk on the phone while simultaneously answering your email.

Hold the door. J'adore this simple gesture that demonstrates consideration for someone else.

Introduce yourself to people you do not know. Yes, it's nice to see friends and colleagues at get-togethers but it's even nicer (and more polite) to first greet someone new.

Stand up when shaking hands and when someone enters the room (both gestures have style written all over them.)

The guest should always sit in the front passenger seat of the car.

Say 'I'm sorry.' If you missed a meeting, double-booked a dinner date, neglected to return a phone call or interrupted a conversation, apologize and take responsibility.

What are you thinking? Your cell phone or blackberry on the table when out for dinner with friends?

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© Copyright 2008 Ellen Lubin-Sherman


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