A course in minding your “Ps” and “Qs” from a local resident
by Lane Roberts
Normally one wouldn’t hear a whistle-blowing drill sergeant in an assisted living facility, but this wasn’t a normal staff meeting. It was bootcamp. Courtesy Bootcamp, that is. Castle Country Assisted Living Facilities welcomed Courtesy Bootcamp at their Valley House location in April for a staff development meeting.
For one hour, staff members were put through their paces, practicing basic manners and common courtesies abandoned in the daily hustle and bustle of American life. The audience responded with hearty “Ma’am, yes, ma’am’s when prompted, and they laughed and applauded at some of the behavior tips. Owner Barbara Dice remarked, “(It) was a success. Everyone had a great and fun time.”
The brainchild of Castle Pines North resident Anthonette Klinkerman, Courtesy Bootcamp is a mobile etiquette school designed to bring lessons in common courtesy to places of business. She recognized how popular the idea of one-hour “bootcamps” had become, and after acknowledging the sheer size of some etiquette books, realized she had hit on something. “Courtesy Bootcamp: A one hour crash course in courtesy,” she called it, after the name struck her at dinner with friends one night.
Klinkerman began toying with the idea of an etiquette school three years ago as she reflected on the steady decline of manners all around her. When in sixth grade, she attended a Cotillion, taught by the very popular “Mr. Benjamin”, in Southern California. Years later, her nieces were attending Cotillion, and Klinkerman told the very same Mr. Benjamin of her wishes to continue his legacy.
Klinkerman has been teaching in the public school system for 12 years. She is originally from San Diego, California, and after meeting her husband, a Littleton native, moved to Colorado in 2000.
Klinkerman taught at the middle school level for ten years, part time in high school for three years, and was adjunct faculty for Arapahoe Community College for a year. She dove into the business world two years ago with an online greeting card and gift company, SendOutCards, and has since joined the Denver Tech Center’s chapter of the Business and Professional Women’s Network. She was recently nominated to be a part of the 2009 membership committee.
Her first Courtesy Bootcamp presentation caught the eyes of businessmen dining in the same restaurant where she was drilling a local Kiwanis group. “There is such a need for this,” one had told her.
The one-hour presentation covers the basics of courtesy in everything from electronic devices, to driving, to writing Thank You notes. Currently, it is designed with the business set in mind, but there are plans for expansion to conduct the bootcamp at schools, offices, and other organizations looking for a brush-up on manners. Klinkerman’s logic is that good manners translate into good customer service, which would then turn into customer retention down the road.
“Do you do business with a company that has rude personnel? I don’t,” she said. She once complimented an extraordinarily polite restaurant server by telling him it had been a while since she had encountered such exceptional treatment. The server responded, “Well, I’m Canadian.” “If that doesn’t speak volumes, I don’t know what does,” Klinkerman laughed.
“It’s not rocket science by any means,” said Klinkerman. “But it’s great watching the response. We all need a reminder now and then to be on our best behavior, and the results of simply being reminded are instantaneous.”
She went on to say, “I’ve suffered through more than my share of poor customer service. And the economy is no excuse for being rude. We’re all human, and would like to be treated as such. The Golden Rule still applies.”
For more information, please call 303-909-8745 or visit www.courtesybootcamp.com.