Business Dining Etiquette 101

Having good table manners in today’s high-powered business world gives you an edge over your competition.

A decade ago, upcoming executives were expected to bring table manners to work with them. Today, because of overwhelming obligations between work and family, dining etiquettes are no longer practiced on a daily basis. As such, companies are paying top-dollar for their young executives to have lessons on table etiquette before sending them as representatives of the company.

Here are some dining etiquette tips that can help you conduct a successful business lunch or dinner anywhere in the world:

• The first rule in dining etiquette is to arrive on time and you should aim to be ten minutes early. Make sure to call ahead to inform your host or guest if you are going to be late.
• Never place bags, briefcases, phones, or personal effects on the table.
• Most restaurants have designated areas where you can temporarily deposit them while you are dining. Set laptops on the table neatly if they are needed for the meeting.
• Once seated, unfold the table napkin and place it on your lap. If you have to use the restroom, politely excuse yourself and simply leave the napkin on your chair and push the chair back under the table. At the end of the meal, place the table napkin on the place setting.
• Make sure to introduce the persons seated at the table if you brought them. If you do not know the people sitting next to you, you may introduce yourself if the host has not done so already.
• Remember to always stand up when you are seated but about to meet someone.
• Give suggestions to your client of what he or she may order from the menu.
• Note that the woman sitting to the right of the host is served first, then the other women in a clockwise manner. The men are served last.
• Always pass the salt and peppershaker together.
• Never monopolize the conversation
• Finalizing on a business deal should never be your only focus. Everyone should contribute to the conversation with lighter topics.