Pop the Cork and Celebrate! Dining Etiquette for Executives
Manners matter! Whether you’re having lunch or dinner with a client, meeting up with co-workers or dining out with your significant other, it’s important to mind your manners. When you’re in business, your public manners and dress should always be top priority.
When it comes to table manners, there’s a full spectrum of acceptable behavior in dining etiquette for executives. Today, I’m going to touch on some manners that I consider the most important.
Used flatware should never touch the surface of the table. For instance, if you just took a bite of salad off your fork, do not place it back on the table – instead, place it on the plate.
Think about it: why would you put the fork on the tablecloth, getting it dirty? Or suppose your dirty utensil picks up lint from the cloth, which you then put into your mouth on the next bite. Not appetizing!
When You are the Hospitable Host
If you are the host of the meal, there are several things you must do to keep your guests comfortable and maintain your excetive image.
- Be the first to arrive. This way you can meet and greet your guest as he or she arrives.
- Seat your most important guest to your right and your secondary guest to your left. Make sure you are the one to sit in the middle so neither of them has to swivel his or her head side to side during the conversation.
- Make and confirm the reservation with the restaurant.
- Be sure to confirm the date, time and meeting place with your guests the day before, and be sure they know how to get there.
- Never talk about price at the table.
When You are the Gracious Guest
Of course, if you are enjoying someone’s hospitality, there are important guidelines to follow as well.
- Call the host a day in advance to confirm the day, time and location of the meal.
- Don’t be late. Give yourself plenty of time to get there.
- Dress appropriately.
- Allow your host to direct you to the appropriate chair he or she wants you to sit in.
- Take a cue from your host. Only order appetizers, alcohol or dessert if your host does.
- Eat bread only after the order has been taken.
- Have a good conversation, be a good listener and be aware of the needs of others around you.
- Send a handwritten note to thank your host for the experience.