I recently had the pleasure of another rubber chicken dinner - you know the big dinners at hotels where the food is always the same bland chicken.... Inevitably you are at a packed, round table in a big ballroom and each place setting has 3 forks, 3 glasses and more plates than you know you can eat on! Yikes!
Most of these rubber chicken events I attend are usually in a professional or business setting and it's embarrassing if you don't know your way around a table in front of your colleagues or worse, your clients. It baffles me that very successful business men and women can still not know which fork is for the salad or which glass at a place setting is his or hers. Why not?
It is not that knowing table manners is a definition of whether a person is nice or even a good businessman. It is whether someone cares enough to figure it out. You may have a lot of education but if you have bad table manners people may equate that with lack of caring or failure to pay attention to details. It's important to get the fork right because it's important not to be questioned in the business world just because you don't know which fork is yours! It is also important to know table manners so that everyone at the table can feel comfortable and confident in knowing what to do in these weird rubber chicken events in the first place.... It's worth learning just a few things about the big table settings, lest you drink out of your boss's wine glass at your next business dinner.
Below is a classic U.S. table setting below. I know it can be a lot. If you cannot remember this, I can at least give you a quick tip on how to figure out which glass is yours. Make your index fingers and thumbs into a "O." Your left hand will make a "b" shape and your right hand a "d" shape. This quick tip can help you remember that your "b"read plate is on your left side and your "d"rink is on your right side! Voila - no more mixed drinks!
There are lots of table manners that are different based on the country in which you are dining. Because eating a meal is where most business is done (statistic show 30% of business deals are done over meals) you should dive into the specifics of dining do's and don'ts. Two of my go to books are the classic Emily Post's Etiquette, 19th Edition, Manners for Today or for business Kiss, Bow or Shake Hands. Just click on the titles to be taken directly to these books. If you have any questions on dining or business abroad, please feel free to email me and I would love to share some of my favorite resources or tips. I also have some cheat worthy picks below. Just scroll on the arrows to be taken to some of my favorite dining products.
Pictures courtesy of Pintrest.
The below pictures show some of my favorite dining pieces that can help keep your table time beautiful and in order! Placemats can also be a great reminder for kiddos!
M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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