Do you feel a fit of anxiety anytime you are going to have to wine and dine with associates in a professional manner? While you want to loosen up and have a good time, you want to keep decent business etiquette. It can be a very hard line to follow, and crossing it could ruin an important partnership or deal. Believe it or not, there is one simple trick to keep in mind while at a business lunch or dinner. And that is simply you are not there to enjoy a good meal or company; you are there for business. With that in mind, we have three tips that are going to help you navigate your next business dinner with ease.
Toss Some Good Etiquette Out The Window.
More than likely you were always taught to use your best manners while at the table, especially in a social setting. However, there are some instances where good manners are just rude in a business setting. For example, you never want to pull out a chair for anyone while at a business dinner. Regardless of their gender, it is just considered bad taste. The thought process is that anyone can pull out their chair. However, you can still hold the door open before the meeting begins. We understand that these simple rules can be confusing, but it gets easier.
One of the most important factors of any business dinner is pacing yourself while you eat. If you are a very slow eater, you are going to have to pick up the pace. Likewise, if you wolf down your food, it is time to count your chewing! The best practice is to follow the pace of your host. This is simply, so no one is left without food on their plate waiting for the next course to begin.
As you may already know there are always a lot of utensils as a corporate gift at these types of business dinners. There is no way around it; you are going to have to learn what utensil goes with which course. Everything has its purpose, and there is nothing left on the table for extras. Typically, if all the utensils are already laid out on the table, you are going to work your way from the outside to the inside. This is not always the case, but a general rule of thumb.
Finally, a simple reminder is that sometimes it is OK to use your hands for food. Especially in the case of breaking bread. You never want to use a knife to cut open a roll. Likewise, if there is fresh bread on the table, break it in half and tear off a piece at a time. It is a sign of friendship and trust at the table, and your host will appreciate it.
As you can see, there are several things to remember while you are wining and dining in a professional manner. However, with a little bit of study and practice, you will have the main etiquette rules down pat.