14 Tips for Professional Dining Etiquette

At some point in your career, you will be invited to dine in a professional setting. Instead of dreading and trying to avoid it, the best approach is to prepare for it. Having a grasp of dining etiquette is important because it bolsters your personal brand. Etiquette knowledge can leave a positive impression on employers and colleagues who may be evaluating your social aptitude as well as measuring how well you would fit into their organization’s culture. Another plus is that basic understanding of etiquette will help you to focus on creating, engaging and participating in conversation with your hosts and colleagues.

When Terri Thompson, author of “Everyday Etiquette,” visited Baruch College she gave a workshop on the basics of dining etiquette. Using her usual humorous and engaging approach, Terri provided several do’s and don’ts to students:

1. Don’t overthink it. Overthinking can lead to nervousness and nervousness can lead to tomatoes flying and drinks spilling. If you make a mistake, handle it quietly.
2. Unfold napkin in half and place on your lap before you start eating.
3. Order food that is easy to eat. Food such as salads, fish and chicken are OK, avoid ribs and spaghetti they are messy.
4. Don’t order the most expensive items on the menu.
5. Don’t drink alcohol. If your host insists then one glass should be your limit.
6. Start eating by using your utensils from the outside in.
7. Always remember – solids on your left, liquids on your right.
8. Cut your food one piece at a time.
9. Eat your soup away from you.
10. Silverware goes on the plate and never back on the table.
11. Never speak with your mouth open.
12. Make eye contact throughout the meal.
13. Do not discuss controversial topics.
14. Thank the person who invited you before you leave.

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