Every now and again you may need to represent your company at a business event or you may be asked to meet a client for lunch.
The following tips will assist with demonstrating exemplary table manners.
Place Setting Rules
Follow these guidelines for table place setting rules. All drinks are on your right. The bread plate is always to your left. Use the cutlery from the outside in. If in doubt watch others.
If you drop a utensil, leave it where it fell on the floor and ask the waiter to kindly bring you a new one. Once you have used a utensil, do not place it down on the table cloth. It should be put on your plate. This ensures that the table linens will stay clean.
When you finish eating, your knife and fork should be placed across your plate pointing to 11:00.
It is bad etiquette to burp in public or at a business event. If you can’t excuse yourself and you do burp just quietly say, “excuse me.”
Do not put your elbows on the table while eating. It can interfere with the person seated next to you. After the meal has been cleared, you may put your elbows on the table in order to lean forward to join in conversation.
Head for the rest rooms if you must remove something stuck between your teeth. Do not use your fingers to remove it.
Do not be in a hurry to eat your food. Give your mouth some space to digest the food,
Never lift your soup bowl to drink the final drops. Tilt it away from you and scoop the final amount with the spoon pushing away from you. Do not try to get every last drop.
Don’t lick your fingers, use a napkin.
Before sitting at the table, wait for your host to sit first or for instructions to sit.
Never reach across someone’s plate to get an item. Always ask for it to be passed.
Don’t order the most expensive item on the menu when you are being entertained.
At business cocktail receptions, hold your drink in your left hand to keep your right hand dry and available for handshakes. Hold food in your right hand with a napkin to keep your hand clean.
Be on time.
Turn off your mobile phone. Your full attention should be on your dining companion or you will give them an impression that you think there is someone more important than him or her.
Write a thank you note.
It is always good manners to do that when someone takes you out for lunch. In a business situation, it provides another opportunity to put your name in front of your potential client.