In part one, we covered the function of tableware and place setting. Read it here. In this post, we will cover the do’s and don’ts of business etiquette. I hope this post will take the hand-wringing out of that sometimes nerve-racking business dinner. Let’s be frank, people will judge you by your table manners. In business settings, it could be a derailer or simply get in the way of you being comfortable during the dinner or event. If nothing else, I hope these tips will boost your confidence and will help you concentrate on socializing and actively participating in the dinner conversation.
- Briefcases/purses go under the table above left toe.
- Gentlemen, do ask the the female guest if you can get the chair for her.
- Order the medium priced dishes on the menu, not the most expensive.
- Wait until everyone has been served before starting to eat.
- Hold your fork in your left hand, hold your knife in your right hand.
- Use fork to lift food to your mouth.
- When you pause to take a sip of your beverage or to speak, rest utensils by placing knife and fork in upside down V.
- Pass everything to the right.
- When calling the waiter, put two fingers together and at shoulder height with eye contact to get the waiter’s attention. Do not shout across the room or motion frantically.
- It is perfectly okay to put elbows on the table between courses.
- Do discreetly tell a colleague if there is spinach stuck between their teeth – you will make a friend for life. Everyone appreciates being saved from embarrassing situations.
- When leaving the table, leave napkin on your chair.
- Always excuse yourself to apply makeup or fix hair. Never apply makeup at the table.
- Thank the host or senior person at the table before you leave
- Don’t be late. You don’t want to be the last one rushing to the dinner table.
- Do not put your phone on the dining table. Do not look at your phone unless it is an emergency. Engage with the people around you.
- Don’t be rude to the wait staff. Your colleagues are watching.
- Do not blow nose at the dinner table.
- Don’t make a fuss if there’s hair or unclean cutlery, discreetly ask for replacement when the server comes by.
- Don’t take a doggy bag when you are on a business dinner.
- Don’t sop up sauce with your bread.
- Do not finish eating before the senior person at the table – eat slowly. Take a maximum of four bites then break. The meal is a social event so be sure to make time to engage with others around the table.
- Don’t ask, “what do you do” as your first few questions. Get to know the person, talk about the event, the weather, anything but leading with “what do you do.”
- Don’t dominate the table discussion, allow others to get a word in.
These are just a few do’s and don’ts for your next business event. Have I missed any business etiquette that you think is important? Do share!