Tips For Your Next Business Meal

Emily Post, an American etiquette author, once said “manner is personality—the outward manifestation of one’s innate character and attitude toward life.” Whether you are attending a dinner with an important client, or going to a lunch interview, your manners can reveal a lot about who you are.  To ensure you are successful during your next business meal, we’ve created a handy list of dining tips to follow:

When You Arrive

  1. Shake hands with everyone at the table and remember the name of the host.
  2. Place your personal belongings, including your (silenced) phone, off the table.
  3. Wait to sit down until your host is seated.

When Ordering

  1. Select something easy to eat like a salad or a meat dish you can cut with your fork and knife. Avoid messy dishes like long pasta, sandwiches or ribs. Eating these will make you appear unprofessional, and your dining partners might lose their appetites if they see you wiping sauce off your face.
  2. Don’t order the most expensive thing on the menu, and try not to be picky by asking for several adjustments to be made to the dish. If you are lost on what to order, a good rule of thumb is to follow the lead of the host.
  3. Refrain from ordering any alcohol, unless your host orders or serves it. If alcohol is served, consume your drink slowly to remain focused on the conversation during the meal.
  4. Be polite to your waiter! No matter how well-behaved you are with your host, being rude to wait staff may give them reason to think you are disrespectful toward others.

While Eating

  1. Wait to start eating until everyone has been served their plates. It’s inconsiderate to dig in when the people next to you don’t yet have their food.
  2. You should use both your knife and fork, holding them with your thumb and three fingers, extending your index finger on the handle. No holding your fork with your fist, or eating with only one hand.
  3. Cut your food into small, bite-sized pieces that are easy to swallow if you need to speak, and never chew with your mouth open or talk with a full mouth.
  4. When you have bread at the table, you should break it into small pieces and then butter it, instead of biting into the bread or making a sandwich with the butter.
  5. If you take a break to speak or finish eating, you should place your utensils side-by-side on your plate, not back on the table, and don’t push your plate away from you.

Before You Leave

  1. Wait to get up until the whole table has finished eating their meal.
  2. Don’t forget to thank your host! It’s rude to accept a meal and just walk out afterward, so make sure to let them know you appreciated the meal, and even offer to pay the next time.


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