It has always been interesting to me how certain fads come and go. What’s popular today can be a thing of the past tomorrow. In the technology driven world that we live in, it appears that basic social graces, interpersonal skills and the attributes of a gentleman are becoming things of the past. Will that really work for today’s youth?

No matter how much we text as a society, there will always be a need to walk into a room, make eye contact and offer a firm handshake to another human being. The smartest smartphone will never be able to do that for you. It seems somewhere, somebody said “cool” is defined by how low your pants can sag without qualifying as indecent exposure, and the masses seem to have agreed. Somewhere, somebody said cool is defined by how mean you can look in the face and by how much you can emulate a rapper on a video, and a throng of young people followed suit.

It appears that somebody said cool is based on how young you were when you stopped going to school instead of how young you were when you graduated. Although all this may be celebrated in select settings, today’s young person must carefully count the cost by how they personally define cool. How you define it will have a profound impact on the trajectory of your life and career.

As I travel the country speaking on personal branding and Business etiquette, I’m on a mission to redefine how “cool” is defined. It’s about being educated, articulate, multifaceted and multi-dimensional with an ability to navigate any setting.

It’s being able to effortlessly shoot hoops in the neighborhood by morning, play a round of golf and attend a business function all in the same day if necessary. It’s having the savvy to give each moment exactly what the moment requires. Today I proclaim that being a true gentleman is the new “cool.” 

Chris Bryant, a leading authority on personal branding, business etiquette and customer relations, is a former director of staff training and speaker for the legendary Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company.  As a keynote speaker, consultant and executive coach. His clients include Nestlé, Chrysler, Mattel, Black Enterprise magazine, and the U.S. Department of Treasury to name a few. For more information visit or send e-mail to

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