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Dr. Forni's Background

The Thinking Life

Choosing Civility

The Civility Solution


Articles, Interviews and Press Releases

Talks and Workshops

Honors and Awards



To contact the Hopkins Civility Initiative:
Daniel L. Buccino, M.A., MSW
Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
Mason Lord East Tower, E288
4940 Eastern Ave
Baltimore, MD 21224

phone: 410.550.0105
fax: 410.550.1748

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The traditional rules of manners, civility and politeness are a time-proven, very effective code of relational skills. With my audiences I re-discover and adapt this precious resource to today’s needs. A cornerstone of my talks is that being civil is both the decent thing to do and the expedient one. Civility and good manners are areas of human behavior where altruism and self-interest merge. Social skills are a precious asset: They allow us to enjoy harmonious social interactions as they strengthen social bonds. Strong social bonds are necessary for the building and maintenance of social support and also crucial to success at work. Building upon the notion that life is an experience in relating and connecting, my talks aim at improving the quality of both personal and professional lives.

My basic talk has nine points:

1 A definition of civility and the three major arguments for choosing to be civil
2 Incivility and its costs, civility and its rewards
3 The four major causes of incivility
4 How to be at our best with others
5 The physiology of conflictual and harmonious encounters
6 Fostering a culture of civility in the workplace
7 The two ways to be successful in life
8 Strong, smart and nice
9 The future of empathy and relational skills

Individual points receive more or less emphasis according to specific audience needs. In general, however, my focus is on the connections among civility, ethics and quality of life. I believe that the quality of our lives depends to a large extent upon the quality of our relationships. Since our relational skills improve our relationships, they are quality-of-life determinants. Better relationships mean lower levels of stress, hence relational skills help us achieve mental and physical health. How to go about improving relationships through relational skills is a core concern of mine.

My talks are often geared towards the dynamics of workplace interaction. I believe that quality of service depends on the quality of life of those providing the service, and that a civil workplace improves the quality of life of its workers. Crucial questions are: How do you respond to incivility in the workplace? How do you minimize the opportunities for incivility to happen in the first place? Whan can organizations do? My talks are for all employees, including executives. Being civil is a necessary part of the cognitive and emotional kit of today's successful professional. Relational competence is of the essence for leaders in the age of management by consensus and in our increasingly diverse workplace.

I see our daily existence as defined by the encounter of Self and Other. The presence of others around us shapes our identities, gives us meaning and purpose, and determines—for better or worse--the quality of our lives. If life is indeed relational, it follows logically that to thrive we need relational skills. What these skills are, what they can do for you, and how to put them to use is all part of my talks.


In my workshops I present in a more interactive way the fundamental information I convey in my talks. I also address specific needs of the inviting organization. About 30 participants is the ideal maximum number. Part of my talk and workshop material comes from my book Choosing Civility: The 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct (St. Martin’s Press, 2002).

Speaking Engagements

Community Foundation of W. Louisiana, Lake Charles, LA, April  7-8, 2011
Iowa State Capitol, Des Moines, IA, February 3, 2011
Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, October 21, 2010
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, September 29-30, 2010
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, September 23-24, 2009
Cedars Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, CA, May 14 and 15, 2009
Dept. of Neurology, U. of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, February 27, 2008
Johns Hopkins U. Medical Institutions, Baltimore, MD, October 7, 2008
Southern Conference of Bar Presidents, Annapolis, MD, September 26, 2008
Goddard Space Flight Center (NASA) Greenbelt, MD, August 26, 2008
Dept. of Neurology, U. of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, February 27, 2008
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, November 15-16, 2006
Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD January 31, 2006

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