The foundation paid to sponsor 5 teenage girls ($450) to attend the How2Lady workshop hosted at Hillcrest Country Club on Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4.  Below is an article leading up to the event that appeared in the Bartlesville Examiner Enterprise.

By Emily Droege | [email protected]

No one likes coming off as rude and self-obsessed.

But cell phones and the rise of social media have been blamed for the apparent drop off in younger generations’ ability to connect with other people on a face-to-face basis. As a result, a group of etiquette coaches are hosting a workshop to help teenage girls tame the temptations of technology and build their relationship skills.

Bartlesville residents Stacy Lard, Rosly Cooper and Jill Epperson will bring the How2Lady workshop at Hillcrest Country Club on March 3-4 to help girls gain self-discipline and healthy communication habits.

“You only need to go to dinner to see how communication is changing in our world,” said etiquette coach Stacy Lard. “Instead of seeing couples engrossed in conversation, you often seem them on their phones, not verbally communicating. People are engrossed in social media, checking it several times a day.”

During the workshop, coaches will teach personal communication skills and stress the importance of relationships, explained Lard, noting that the coaches will also throw in an element of fun.

“How2Lady workshops teach girls to set boundaries and time limits for themselves. Setting aside your mobile device can enrich and broaden your view of life and grow the bonds of family and friendship,” said Lard.

In today’s digital age, phones and social networks have changed the landscape of how society communicates. Lard said that people are often unaware of the negative attention drawn to themselves when they’re preoccupied with their phones. Their lack of etiquette also suggests that they show little interest in others in social settings.

“When people are together, despite being physically present, many of them are not truly paying attention,” said Lard. “We as coaches realize that learning how to communicate well, how to use proper etiquette and how to use social media appropriately is a process. We’re all on this journey together.”

In addition to furnishing guidance on curbing overuse of communication technologies, the workshop will provide recommendations on how to walk, sit and stand appropriately as well as the basics of dining etiquette. The fundamentals of effective conversation will be stressed, including appropriate times for not talking or texting on a phone, knowing when to turn a phone off and the proper ways to use a phone in public.

“You’re in control of your electronics, not the other way around,” said Lard, adding that social media is now a place where people can create an image of who they are, though sometimes it’s not a true reflection.

She cautioned that everything posted online is permanent and what teenagers posts can come back to bite them for college and job interviews. She also suggested that teens get permission from friends before posting group photos online and if there are several photos, do it in one complete post.

Leaders with the How2Lady workshop plan to take their message to Tulsa, Dallas and Houston, and plans are in the works to put on workshops for boys and adults later this year. The upcoming workshop in Bartlesville is $90 for both nights, which includes a snack the first night and a formal dinner the second night. The price also covers a t-shirt, notebook and certification of completion.

“Our goal is that girls will come away from our workshops with a new confidence in who they are and be able to use the tools they learn to create and keep a balanced life,” Lard said.

Thanks to the United Way and PlayForBurk Foundation, scholarships are also available to help with the registration fee. Online registration closes Feb. 28 for $90 and onsite registration is $125.