Business meals can take many forms, from casual sandwich lunches around a conference table to more formal multi-course meals. What they all have in common is a measure of sociability over and above that of an office-bound appointment. But your own behavior at business meals is every bit as important as the fellowship they foster. Remember: These are the only times when your conversational abilities, your self-possession, and your table manners are on display all at once. Bear in mind, too, that your manners reflect on your company.
Making a good impression hardly means rehearsing your across-the-table banter or becoming a wine connoisseur. It does mean knowing how to use the cutlery, eat your food with civility, and convey the sense of being at ease with those around you.
Business meals are about building relationships and being confident in your manners means you can focus all your energy on the relationship.
Top Ten Business Dining Etiquette Tips [download]
- Arrive on time.
- Introduce yourself to the people seated to either side of you and near you.
- While, technically, you may order anything from the menu, avoid expensive outliers or market price items unless your host suggests them.
- Don’t drink at all or limit yourself to one alcoholic beverage.
- Wait until your host has asked you to start eating or until the host starts eating.
- Chew with your mouth closed and swallow before you speak.
- Engage those around you in conversation. Be a good listener, and don’t dominate the conversation.
- Wait for your host to bring up business matters. It is up to him or her to discuss business.
- Never use or check your smartphone while at the table. Your companions should have your undivided attention the entire time.
- Thank your host twice: Once at the end of the meal, and then send a handwritten thank-you note the next day. If the meal was very casual, an email would be fine.
Click the link to download this list: Top_Ten_Business_Dining_Etiquette_Tips
At Emily Post, we don’t teach rules or preach protocol. We guide you in making an amazing impression over and over again that helps build better, stronger relationships that win business.
To learn more about our seminars and E-Learning programs, call Daniel Post Senning at 802-860-1814 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.