Confident, considerate manners make winners!
Manners help to:
• Maintain order and promote positive interactions among people.
• Put people at ease and impress others.
• Build self-esteem.
• Show respect and consideration to others.
• Allow people to live and work together without friction.
• Make you stand out from the crowd.
• Be more attentive to others.
• Feel more comfortable in all situations
I) Table manners
The Dinner Meeting
Every businessperson either has or will be going through a situation like this, and it is extremely important to know proper business etiquette.
All the preliminary arrangements – restaurant selection, reservations, etc., have to be arranged in advance. If it is a formal meal, select the appropriate silverware and glassware.
However, it is equally important that meal manners are not taken too seriously. With time and practice, table manners can become as automatic as any other aspect of professional behaviour. Even so, today’s business etiquette is much simpler than a few years ago. Terms like social graces, style, niceties, courtesy, and acceptable procedure help to give us a sense of the importance of professional social skills.
The most important part of the session would be your behaviour. Learn to behave yourself lest you put yourself or others in an embarrassing position.
• Plan to arrive at the restaurant at least ten minutes early. This will allow time to relax and collect thoughts before the occasion.
• Do not arrive too early because this will show over-anxiousness.
• Definitely do not arrive late for dinner, or any other business meeting, for that matter. Should this occur, contact the host/hostess to notify him/her about being tardy.
• Hosts/hostesses order last and are served last.
Allow guests to read the menu, and offer suggestions only if asked.
As a guest, order whatever appears appetizing, as long as it is not the most expensive item on the menu.
Be careful what you choose from the menu. Messy dishes should be avoided as far as possible
Any behaviour that is unappetizing is automatically discourteous.
Wait for everyone to be served before eating.
Don’t chew with your mouth open.
Chew and swallow before speaking.
Take small bites.
Don’t play with your food or wave it on your utensils.
Keep your elbows off the table.
Don’t comb you hair (or any other grooming chores) at the table.
Don’t talk about gross things at the table.
Don’t criticize the food. Pass to your right. And, always pass the salt and pepper together.
Say “Please” and “Thank you” while passing food.
Use the flat surface on the edge of your plate and not the spoon, to twirl pasta to avoid messy hanging strands.
Don’t blow on your coffee or soup. Just give enough time for the hot food or beverages to cool.
Don’t eat with your fingers. Use a fork to cut French fries into bite-sized pieces as well as to eat meat.
Don’t chew ice cubes.
Avoid smoking as far as possible.
Discuss business after ordering. Keep papers off the table until after the entree plates have been cleared.
The napkin is the one on the left. Place it in your lap as soon as you are seated, or as soon as the host/hostess does if you are a guest.
At a formal restaurant the server will remove the napkin from the wineglass or serving plate and place it across your lap. You may tuck the napkin into the belt (but not the collar because it is not a bib) it will help from clothing getting stained.
When it comes to your turn with the breadbasket, don’t split a roll and leave part of it in the basket. And, don’t pick through and touch every piece. Quickly select something and pass the basket along. If it turns out you don’t like it, just leave it on your plate.
Go ahead and use your knife on your salad. It’s better to cut up large chunks than to try to stuff them in your face.
Between bites, see to it that the soupspoons stay in the soup bowls. The knife generally rests on the edge of your plate, while putting your fork in the centre of your plate shows that you are still eating.
If you spill or drop something, just call the waitperson, explain the situation and let him remedy the problem. .
A formal dinner setting
In the centre will be a dinner plate. The flatware is laid out in such a way that one starts from the outside and moves inward towards the dinner plate. When the food is served, begin eating after everyone at the table has received his or her food. Once finished with the salad, keep the used dinner knife on the bread and butter plate, which is located in the upper-left hand comer of the place setting. However, if the dinner fork has not been used, it may be placed in its original position, to the right of the dinner plate. Place the fork with prongs down, across the plate at a nine o’clock three o’clock position.
This indicates to the server that one is finished with the salad The food will be served from the right – expect the server to reach over your right shoulder. Lean slightly left as this occurs. Keep elbows off the table while eating, but resting forearms there between courses is permissible. Between the dinner knife and the seafood fork is the soupspoon. While eating soup, move the spoon away from oneself.It is proper etiquette to sip the soup from the side of the soupspoon.
Be careful not to drop a utensil or napkin on the floor. If this does occur, just leave it on the floor and ask the server for another. Hold the knife in the right hand with the index finger on the handle slightly overlapping the blade. Hold the fork, prongs down, with the left hand. Elbows should be kept slightly above the table. Remember to cut of only one piece of food at a time. Once a piece of the meal has been successfully cut, lay the knife on the plate, transfer the fork, with the prongs up, and then carry the food to the mouth. If there is a need to leave the business meal for a moment to use the bathroom facility, or to make a telephone call, politely ask to be excused. Excuse yourself for all biological functions, including the need to blow one’s nose. Blowing one’s nose on the restaurant’s napkins-paper or otherwise-is very bad form.