Columbia Business School

Course Syllabus

The Foundation of Business:  Tact and Oral Hygiene

Course Overview:

We tend to see business in terms of numbers, figures, dollars, and stock options because its the quickest way to get a holistic picture of the complex beast that is business.  It can be easy to forget that at its core business is about interpersonal relationships. 

The purpose of this course is to lay the foundation upon which the rest of your business education will be built.  No matter how fully you master marketing, accounting, finance, or economics, you will never succeed in business without Tact and Oral Hygiene.

Over the duration of this course you will learn how to make people like you, how to make people do what you want, and how to lead, and it's all easier than you could imagine, if you know what to do.  You'll learn how to talk to an overweight HR woman, how to keep your breath fresh all day, and why 3 out of 4 top executives recommend Trident.


    I.  "Have You Lost Weight?" – The Art of the Hollow Compliment
        1.  Sincere compliments don't have to be true
        2.  Why pointing out weight-loss always works.
        3.  Flattering the opposite sex without getting sued.

    II.  "Hot Enough For You?" – Small Talk: The Glue That Bonds a Company.   
        1.  How to make conversations about the weather original and entertaining.
        2.  Males like to talk about sports.
        3.  Women like to talk about babies and dogs. 

    III.  "No, You're Not Fat or Ugly." – How to Deal With Unattractive People 
         1.  Fatties and Ugos – you don't have to like them; just you pretend you do.
         2.  How to make an unattractive person your slave with a small compliment.
        3.  30 excuses why you can't get together after work. 

    IV.  "I Like All Kinds of Music." – Strong Opinions Offend People
        1.  Learn what your coworker or client likes and then say you like it too.
        2.  Having no convictions makes you likable and easy to tolerate
        3.  NEVER talk about politics.

    V.  "What a Polite Young Man/Woman" – Practice Good Etiquette
        1.  Know when it's okay to hold a door open.
        2.  Simple phrases that let people know you're a good person.
        3.  Chew with your mouth closed.
Oral Hygiene
    I.  "Fresh Breath, Fresh Start" – Your breath is The First Part of Your First Impression
        1.  Mints and gum – the only two friends you'll ever need.
        2.  How white teeth prove that you're a capable person.
        3.  What foods to avoid.

    II.  "Brushy, Brush, Brush" – Forget to Brush?  Forget Your Career!
        1.  Technique:  How to get at those hard to reach spots. 
        2.  Keep a toothbrush with you at all times.
        3.  What's all the fuss about electric toothbrushes?  A "just been to the dentist"             clean feeling, that's what.

    III.  "The Gum Disease known as Gingivitis"  – Why You NEED to Floss.
        1.  Technique:  If you do it right, it should only take 5 minutes.
        2.  Yes, that piece of spinach caught in your teeth did offend your client.
        3.  Gums are the body's third most crucial organ.

    IV.  "Kissably Soft" – Don't Forget Your Lips
        1.  Chapped lips – The silent deal killer
        2.  Lipsticks, chapsticks, lip balms, and lip gloss – know the difference
        3.  Don't lick your lips!


"How to Win Friends and Influence People." by Dale Carnegie
"How To Be A Social Success And The Miracle Of Tact" by Orison Swett Marden
"Tact…It Ain't Just For Sailing."  by Boyd Dickinson
"Smile Smart!" the American Dental Associations Oral Health Care Curriculum
"How to Floss:  The 89 Step Guide to Perfect Gums." by Katelin Perry
"The Cavity Creeps in Toothopolis!" from the Crest Company
The Listerine label