Many believe that table manners are not important in today’s busy, racing world because there just isn’t time for it. Well think again.
Good table manners are a must for professionals in any arena. Have you attended a business meal and your views were not acknowledged? Or have you ever been interviewed over lunch and did not get the job? Did you stop to think that maybe you might have done something that caused people to not believe in you or what you had to say? What you say and the manners you display is who you are.
Your dining skills will be under minute review at a business meal. Developing proper dining skills requires the right information, grooming, and presence of mind. Impeccable dining skills send a message of self-confidence and good judgment. Good table manners are the mark of a sophisticated and savvy business person, one who can represent the values of company, get the next job or promotion, and snatch a deal from preying competitors. So, along with knowing how to run a company, also knowing how to manage a knife and fork gracefully. Keep these golden rules in mind.
Let’s start with the prospect with you hosting the dinner/lunch. The way you set your table is important, because it influences three things:
- It indicates the tone/feeling that people have about being together.
- It lets people know that you think they are important enough to put in extra effort for them.
- It influences the appearance of the food served.
We now move on to the your dining skills.
- Your hosts should have most of your attention – Being an observant diner and understanding the needs of host will enable you to avoid many of the embarrassing situations you could enter into. Simple things like waiting to eat until you see others eating and using the utensils others are using will enable you to blend in. This shows that you are responsible and heed to others need and not to your personal comfort.
- It is inappropriate to keep your utensils in your hand while talking and moving them as you speak. You will be surprised how often people do this without noticing. If you are asked a question while you are still eating, swallow your food first, place your utensils on the plate in the resting position, then start to talk, not before.
- The food should come to your mouth and not the other way round – You shouldn’t be leaning over your food, shoveling it into your mouth. Sit straight, scoop a single bite on the utensil of your choice and bring it to your mouth. Make sure you know what utensils should be used. For instance: using a normal spoon for the soup is spelling disaster.
- Say Thank You, Please and Excuse Me – These small words are magic and should be used liberally. It shows that the entire meal was more than a just an outing for you.
So the next time you are out on a business or even a formal meal, remember it’s not about the food, it’s about the way you eat it.