When dining out on business, your table manners can make the difference between success and failure. Whether you are working on your next promotion or landing a new contract, knowing the etiquette of dining can affect your future. By paying attention to the details of eating and drinking, you send a message that you are savvy in other respects.
Chewing is an activity that should take place with your mouth closed. Whenever there is food in your mouth, it should not be in the open position. This also means not talking with food in your mouth. Since the main purpose of the business meal is to exchange information verbally, you can expect to do more talking than eating. To avoid getting stuck with a mouthful of food just as your boss asks you about your long-range plans, limit the amount that goes in.
Don’t be wishy-washy about ordering. If you hem and haw or take all day to decide what you want, your client may wonder how decisive you are in other matters. When you are the guest and you aren’t sure what to order, ask your host for recommendations. This can help you with your decision.
Pace yourself during the meal. You don’t want to finish well ahead of or way behind the other people. You won’t get a prize for coming in first, and others will feel uncomfortable. If everyone else finished eating while you were making your pitch, you just may have to decide that you weren’t terribly hungry after all.
Cell phones should not be part of a business meal. If you don’t want to turn off your colleagues and clients, turn off your phone or leave it behind.
If you are a businesswoman, blot your lipstick before you go to the table. Lipstick smears on a glass are unprofessional and unappetizing.
Remember that good manners are noticed most by their absence so know your business etiquette.
Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.
Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions. Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.
Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.