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Verbal Communications Guidelines

The way you use words has an effect on every relationship you have”.  -       Emily Post

This page is to help you understand the basics of good verbal communication in its best common usage. While much of this page will refer to how this applies to your time with the Cotillion Club of Sarasota, guidelines explained here can and will apply to all aspects of your life now and in the future, making your communications to others stand out as those of correct and accepted standards. These guidelines are expected and valued by teachers, prospective employers, future clients and anyone else whose respect you wish to have.

Verbal communications is an umbrella term that applies to ALL communications that involve words in any way whether spoken or written. We will focus first on how to RSVP to the Cotillion dances, then on the written, and then on the spoken.

How To RSVP To The Cotillion Dances


  • It is proper etiquette, and a rule of the Cotillion Club, for MEMBERS (not parents) to respond in writing to each invitation.
  • Your R.S.V.P. card must be placed in the envelope provided and arrive on or before the date listed.


  • Only a MEMBER can leave a message to change their written RSVP, not a parent.
  • You may leave a message when changing your RSVP. If you are changing your RSVP to the dance from “Yes” to “No” a voicemail is sufficient. 
  • If you originally responded “No” and can now attend, you may leave a message but MUST have confirmation from the RSVP Chair that you were added to the guest list before you attend the dance.
  • When leaving a message, say hello, give your name and phone number and the reason you are calling.
  • Speak clearly and in an unhurried manner with your message.
  • Repeat your name, spell it and repeat your phone number.

If you have further questions, please write an email to the email address on your invitation.

Written Communications

In general, there have been two general letter formats; Business and Personal. BOTH formats should include all of the following:

  •  Your name and address {this is not necessary to add if you have letterhead or personalized stationery}
  •  The date
  •  An appropriate greeting (formal when using business format), making sure you spell the name of the person correctly –  this is a very important sign of respect
  •  Purpose of the letter in kind and clear language
  •  Formal sign-off
  •  Hand signed signature in ink


OPENING LINES: (To reference letter received and state why you are writing)

With reference to your letter of 8 June, I ...

I am writing in response to ...

Thank you for your letter of 8 May.

Thank you for your letter regarding/about ...

In reply to your letter of 8 May, ...

  CLOSING LINES: (To make reference to future events and/or repeat apology)

If you require anything further, feel free to contact me

I look forward to future events

Please advise as necessary

Once again, I apologize for any inconvenience

I have enjoyed my Cotillion experience and look forward to future events

An example of a generic business format letter is the following:

Ms. Susan McGowan

123 ABC Street

Sarasota, FL 12345


April 17, 2022

Dr. Sydney Flore, Director of Admissions

Stanford University

77 Maple Dr. 

Los Angeles, CA 11111

Dear Dr. Flore,

I thank you for taking the time to interview me recently as a prospective student for your pre-Med program.

I have great respect for Stanford University and was very impressed with everything I saw during my visit. Knowing how busy you are, I especially appreciate you taking the amount of time you did with me in discussing your research project involving hip implants. Your career is inspirational to an aspiring medical student such as myself and being admitted to Stanford would be a great honor.

Thank you again for your time and consideration and regardless of where my college career takes me, I wish you continued success in all your endeavors.

Kind regards,

Susan McGowan


  • the formal greeting
  • the stated reason for writing the letter
  • a personal reference (conversation about hip implants)
  • the writer acknowledging the effort required of the interviewer
  • best wishes to the person receiving the letter for the future.


The specific situations likely to require you write a letter for the Cotillion Club of Sarasota would most likely be as a response to an infraction that you may have received, most likely revolving around not adhering to our required procedures or behaviors relative to a dance (improper R.S.V.P., dress code infraction, inappropriate use of an electronic device, etc.).


Please know that we establish the codes and rules and their enforcement for YOUR education. Please also know that we issue infractions in the spirit of education and for the purpose of refining YOUR understanding of how to navigate your future as successfully as possible. We NEVER intend any shame or embarrassment in the corrective procedures.

Should you incur an infraction, you will first be notified by email by the Secretary of the Cotillion Club of Sarasota. This email is NOT to be responded to electronically but as a detailed “heads-up” that a written letter will be sent to your home as follow up and that a WRITTEN letter of correction is expected promptly. It is ESSENTIAL that the letter be composed and signed by you, minimally adhere to the business letter format and contain:

  1. Your information (if not letterhead)
  2. Date
  3. Correct Greeting 
  4. Purpose in writing the letter 
  5. Detailed nature of infraction, apology, and assurance to the Cotillion Board that it will not happen again
  6. Have formal sign off such as "Yours truly" or "Sincerely" 
  7. Be in ink on a complete sheet of paper or stationery 
  8. Contain no anger, sarcasm, or hostility 
  9. Be received by deadline stated in infraction notice letter

An example of a response to an infraction letter is the following:

Miss Janie Jones

123 Main Street

Sarasota, FL 12345

September 1, 2023

Dear Mrs. Post,

I have received your letter stating that I received an infraction for not having sent in my RSVP card for the Fall Senior Cotillion Dance. My academic schedule caused me to overlook sending it in. I am very sorry for inconveniencing you and promise to make sure it never happens again. Thank you for your consideration and work.


Janie Jones

This is a very simple version of a business format letter and meets all the requirements of an infraction correction letter as well as any other letter you may find yourself sending to The Cotillion Club of Sarasota.

Voice Communications

You may find yourself needing to leave a phone message relative to a question you may have or a change necessary in an R.S.V.P. you may have already made. If that is the case, please follow the following simple and straightforward guidelines when leaving your message and remember that YOU are responsible for all communications with the Cotillion Club of Sarasota. A message from a parent or others on your behalf will not be accepted unless you are physically unable to make the call yourself.

  • Greeting (By MEMBER ONLY, not parent)
  • Identify yourself and give contact number for first time 
  • Brief, but not rapid speak - speak slowly and say nature of message
  • Repeat name and contact info
  • Goodbye and thank you

 Hello Mrs. Post. This is Janie Jones and my number is 941-123-4567I am calling because my volleyball tournament has gone longer than I thought. I will not be able to attend the dance this Saturday and am sorry for the inconvenienceAgain, this is Janie Jones and my number is 941-123-4567. Thank you”.

Speak clearly, never rush through your message and don’t be afraid to repeat yourself.

Cotillion Club of Sarasota, Inc.
P.O. Box 19171
Sarasota , FL 34276-2171

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