1. Dazzle Them at Business Lunches, Dinners, and
Anyplace Else Where a Fork is Required
2. Adopt the 80/20 Rule
Think that a knife and fork as just sweet, innocent,
dining tools? Think again!
Rather than worrying about every little detail, focus
on the key few the will give you the biggest bang for
Take a cue from John the Intern.
3. Manners are Important
Table manners play an important part in making a
The point of etiquette rules is to make you feel
comfortable, not uncomfortable.
At a private dinner party, like you will be at tonight,
the meal begins when the host or hostess unfolds his
or her napkin.
The host or hostess will signal the end of the meal by
placing his or her napkin on the table.
4. Good Etiquette Rules
Arrive at least 10 minutes early unless otherwise
Pass the food from left to right.
Always say please when asking for something.
Food is served from the left. Dishes are removed from
Keep elbows off the table.
Do not talk with your mouth full. Chew with your
6. Your Fork is Not A Shovel
When you eat, your fork is held in your right hand like
When you cut your food, switch hands.
Fork goes in left hand, Knife goes in right hand to cut.
With your index finger, point your fork with the tines
facing down to pierce your food.
Don’t cut up all of your food at once.
Switch the fork back into the right hand to eat.
7. Etiquette Pre-Quiz
Let’s see how much we know.
Take a few minutes and complete this pre-quiz.
This quiz has the basics that will help you in a social
setting and once we discuss it, will help you not sweat
the small stuff.
8. Place your napkin on your lap
when food arrives.
Put your napkin in your lap the minute everyone has sat
Generally the napkin is placed on your lap and folded in
The napkin stays in your lap throughout the meal.
If you need to leave the table, place your napkin in your
chair while you are gone.
At the end of the meal, leave the napkin semi-folded at the
left side of the place setting. It should not be crumpled or
9. It is proper dining etiquette to
butter the whole piece of bread
You should break apart the bread and butter the small
pieces as you eat them.
You should always eat in small bites and slowly.
Butter, spreads, or dips should be transferred from the
serving dish to your plate for spreading or eating.
10. You can start eating once everyone
has been served.
Wait for your host or hostess to begin eating first –
when he or she picks up their fork to eat, than you may
Do not start before this unless the host or hostess
insists that you start eating.
11. Always Scoop Your Soup Away from
This allows it to cool and also can avoid spills on your
Don’t blow on food to cool it off. If it is too hot to eat,
take the hint and wait.
12. When someone asks for the salt,
you also pass the pepper
You should always pass both the salt and the pepper at the
Even if someone asks for only one, you should pass both of
This is so dinner guests do not have to search for orphaned
Set any passed item directing on the table instead of
passing hand to hand.
Never intercept a pass. Snagging a roll out of a breadbasket
or taking a shake of salt when it is en route is a no-no.
13. It is acceptable to answer your cell
phone during a meal.
Turn it off. Cell phones have no place in a business
lunch, dinner, or other business social setting.
That goes for Blackberrys or other PDAs as well.
If your phone does ring, simply turn it off and
If you absolutely have to take a call, explain this to the
people at the table before the event begins.
If and when the phone rings, leave the table and take
the call outside (briefly).
14. In a professional setting,
nourishment is not the main
True – networking is your main purpose.
You may never know what to wear, so look sharp.
Dress in your formal PBL uniform.
Master the art of conversation.
Don’t forget to introduce yourself.
Don’t dominate the conversation.
15. Never Season Without Reason
Do not add condiments, spices, and sauces to your
meal until after you taste.
Do try a little bit of everything on your plate.
16. It is okay to greet from your seat
when new guests join your table.
Everyone should stand until the new guests are seated.
Gentlemen should pull out the chair for the ladies.
When a lady leaves the table, all gentlemen at that
table should stand.
17. Always select your silverware
starting from the outside in.
Your salad fork and meal fork will be on the left. You
knives and spoons in the right.
Dessert forks/spoons are generally found at the top of
the plate or they come with the dessert.
18. When you are finished, push your
plate forward a few inches.
To signal that you are done with the course, rest your
fork, tines up, and knife blade in, with the handles
resting at five o’clock and the tips pointing to ten
o’clock on your plate.
Any unused silverware is simply left on the table.
19. You should not put a used utensil
back on the table
It should always be kept on the edge of your plate.
If you drop your utensil on the floor, simply and
politely ask the server to bring you a replacement.
Don’t clean up spills with your own napkin, and don’t
touch items that have dropped on the floor. You can
use your napkin to protect yourself from spills.
20. Your drinking glass is on the right if
you are right handed and on the
left if you are left handed.
Think BMW – as you look down on your place setting
and scan your eyes left to right, think BREAD,
The bread plate will always be to your left and your
water glass to your right.
21. It is proper to chew gum/mints
after a meal.
Gum chewing can be considered rude – especially if
you are have a conversation while chewing gum.
22. When dining with professionals, if
you have a craving for pizza, ribs, it
is okay to order it.
False – Keep your order simple – anything that requires
the use of fingers is out.
Take cues from your host/hostess on how much or
what to order.
Even if you are paying, don’t order the most expensive
thing on the menu – middle of the road is fine.
If you have food allergies, be gracious. Discreetly let
your server know that you can’t eat something.
Remember, you are not there for the food, you are
there for networking.
23. In Summary . . .
Whether you are attending your first business social
event or your 2oth, you are not there for the food.
You are there to build relationships.
Keep the focus off your table manners so that others
can focus on you instead.