"Should I speak to strangers when riding in an elevator? At what point in an interview should I ask about salary range? How do I write a pleasant thank-you note for a gift I hated? How do I ask for a date?"
The answers to these questions and many others can be found at MIT's fifth annual Charm School during IAP on Thursday, Jan. 30. The event has become an MIT tradition and has garnered nationwide fame, including spots on Good Morning America and CNN.
Etiquette-related subjects will be taught in an informal atmosphere from noon-4 pm in Lobbies 7 and 10. No preregistration is required; students are free to choose from the many topics offered. Subjects covered will include Nerd Love (Asking for a Date), Clothing Statements, Ballroom Dance, Buttering Up Big Shots, Small Talk, Impressive Interviewing, Body Language, Overcoming Shyness, Table Manners, and many more.
Among the new subjects this year will be Hello, World (international manners), hosting and attending parties, and networking.
Students may earn "charm credits" toward a formal Charm School "degree." A bachelor's degree is awarded for completing six subjects, a master's for eight and a PhD for 12. Degrees will be awarded by President Charles M. Vest at the Charm School Commencement from 4:30-5pm in Lobby 10. All members of the MIT community are encouraged to attend all Charm School events.
Although more than 40 MIT faculty, staff and students have already volunteered to serve on the Charm School "faculty," many more volunteers are needed, as demand for instruction has often exceeded supply in previous years. The only prerequisites for teaching are a particular area of expertise-be it joke-telling, e-mail protocol, faculty-student communication or anything else-and a willingness to share your knowledge with others.
To volunteer as a Charm School faculty member or receive additional information, contact Charm School Coordinator Stacey Young, a senior in biology, at x5-6172 or <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on January 15, 1997.