Business a la Carte: Basic Tips for Business Dining

Business a la carte--basic tips for business dining

How you present yourself to others in the business world speaks volumes, and can easily be the most intimidating part of your career. People often form first impressions about you (and the company you represent) within seconds of meeting you.

That is why it’s necessary to ensure that you interact well with others to enhance your brand. Developing relationships is the key to developing business, and in this ever-evolving world of work, where the personal and professional continually merge, image and reputation are two of your greatest assets.

Many executives and employees find business dining very challenging to their confidence. So, here are a few basic tips to boost your skills and confidence:

Use your napkin correctly. Your napkin is meant to protect your clothes, so, when you sit down, the first thing you do is unfold your napkin and lay it on your lap. If you need to leave the table during the meal, you can either: a) leave the napkin on your chair, or b) fold it neatly and lay it to the left of your place setting. Both are correct. Whatever you do, don’t use your napkin to blow your nose or blot your lipstick. And don’t ball it up and leave it on your plate at the end of the meal.

Drink to the right and eat to the left. I am often asked “Which is my bread plate?” and “Is that my water?” Well, this is an easy way to remember: Water and wine glass—right. Bread plate—left.

Butter up.  I’ve noticed a trend recently where diners dip their bread into the butter dish, as others look on in horror. Think how unsanitary this is. Please—use your butter knife and bring butter from the butter dish to your bread plate. Then butter up.That’s how it’s done.

Order foods that are easy to eat. I’ve always avoided spaghetti, because no matter how careful I’ve been, I have never been able to avoid splatters and stains. Trust me: You don’t want your guests and/or your boss watching you wrestle with your food. You want to be memorable for the good, not the bad or the ugly!

Remember: etiquette is not just about making you feel comfortable. Its primary purpose is making others feel comfortable.

Bon appétit!


Copyright 2014 Michelle Kerrigan

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