There have been a number of issues raised on etiquette and speakers’ chat rooms, and on LinkedIn regarding people constantly clearing their throats.

Several suggested that it may be simply a bad habit or nervousness, and that the person does not even notice. Listening to it of course is quite irritating, especially if you clear your throat on the phone, right into the listener’s ear. There were people who swore by some medication, described by a doctor no less; there were others with hilarious ?remedies’.

My input was short and simple: I am a singer and a public speaker.

  • No milk products and no nuts of any kind on the day of performance.
  • If you have a morning performance, get up really early so that the phlegm has time to leave your body by the time you are on stage.
  • I don’t drink water during my performance, and especially not from a bottle; I find it inelegant. What if it goes down wrong and you start coughing?
  • Sleep is good for two things: voice and wrinkles.
  • If you sing, you are already used to breathing from your diaphragm, and of course you vocalize to warm up your singing voice.

When I listen to speakers who clear their throat a lot during a speech I worry that it is because they are either nervous or use that as a filler, like hm, and, like, therefore, etc.

Nancy Daniels, Voice Dynamic from New Jersey explained it most clearly. This is an excerpt:

If you use your chest to power your voice, and not your throat, you would solve the problem. If you learn to place your voice in your chest cavity, you will notice a huge difference not only in how your throat feels but also in the decrease of throat clearing. When I speak, whether it is for 50 minutes or for a full-day workshop, I do not need any liquid relief for my throat. And I don’t spend my time clearing my throat unless I have a cold.

Nancy’s advice is: Stop trying to fix the problem. Fix the voice and there is no problem.


Upcoming Business of Manners Workshops

International Business Etiquette

When it comes to winning and keeping business, it is the little things that count. Do not compromise your chances of success by making etiquette mistakes that could easily be avoided. Learn the secrets to projecting a powerful image.

Join me for a one-day workshop that will have you feeling poised, polished and ready for any situation. $295 including luncheon with wine; $140 for
post-secondary students. Classes are capped at just 3 participants to ensure an intimate learning experience.

Thursday, September 27, 2012
9:00am – 4:30pm
100 Dowling Avenue, Toronto

Call 416-971-9754 or send e-mail to


Kidiquette, the signature children’s etiquette classes, offer basic manners and social skills to children ages 7-12 years. From thank-you notes to party manners, children are taught polite conduct and behaviour. Each class includes specialized instruction, and a certificate of completion. $55 for first-time students. $45 for second-time students.

Date and place to be announced

Ongoing Children’s seminar at the Donalda Club – Saturday mornings; the Boulevard Club – Sunday afternoons; and the Phoenix Montessori School – Monday afternoons

Advance reservations are required. For more information or to register, call
416-971-9754 or send e-mail to

Teen Etiquette

Give your young adult the gift of social poise and grace. The teenage years can be so awkward ? but a Business of Manners youth workshop can provide them with the confidence they need to shine. They will learn in a fun, supportive atmosphere, and come away with a new and better understanding of fine social behaviour. Each class includes specialized instruction, a three-course feast, including soup, salad and entr?e, and a certificate of completion at the end of the afternoon. $140. For more information or to register, call 416-971-9754 or send e-mail to

Saturday, October 27, 2012
9:00am ? 3:30pm
The Boulevard Club
1491 Lakeshore Road West, Toronto

Meals & Manners – Host a Group in your home.
For more information or to reserve a date, please call 416-971-9754 or by email to

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Cool… If I was a good golfer… and were to take clients out… or be invited… those are good things to know!
Patti McGuigan

Wonderful information here, especially about the importance of golf in Asia and how it is incorporated into the University’s undergraduate program. Well done!
Jodi Blackwood
Business Etiquette & Customer Service Specialist
Vancouver, Washington, US

As per usual, great etiquette tips for everyone!
Barbara Onyskow WFIM Chair

Csak hogy magyarul is megdicserhessen valaki….igazan kituno dolgokat sajatitok el!!!! Soha nincs leveleidben olyan, amit ne lehetne ujra hallani, ha mar esetleg ittt-ott hallottuk is. Orulok, hogy keszited es kuldod ezeket a leveleket.
Balatoni Marika
Maria Balatoni
Owner/Manager, A & M Catering Service, Toronto