By Konrad Philip, Staff Writer
Between sitting through workshops and attending networking sessions, conference delegates already have a lot on their plate. The most important plate, however, may be the one at the banquet table. Proper dining manners are something many employers value, and how you eat may tell them more about you than a simple handshake or rehearsed conversation starter. While the professionals sitting at your table are not there to critique your table manners and may not be perfect themselves, a few common bad habits are hard to ignore.
- 1. Taking the wrong bread plate, napkin, and glasses
Crowded place settings make it difficult to distinguish what is yours and what isn’t. If there is no napkin on your plate, take the one to your left. Your bread plate is always the one to your left, while your glasses are to your right. One way to remember this is to make an “OK” sign with both hands (subtly of course).
- 2. Using the wrong cutlery
Cutlery is used from the outside in. Spoons and forks placed above your plate are meant for dessert.
- 3. Cutting bread
Butter knives are for spreading butter, not for slicing dinner rolls. When eating bread, use your hands to break off a single piece and butter each piece individually.
- 4. Elbows on the table
Unless your dream employer challenges you to an arm-wrestling match, keep your elbows off the table at all times. When not eating, keep your hands on your lap.
- 5. “Bicycle handles”
When placing your fork and knife in a resting position, do not hang them off your plate.
- 6. Eating too fast
If you have a big appetite, make sure to eat something before the sit-down meal so you can eat at the same pace as everyone else.
- 7. Cell phones
Your BlackBerry is not for dessert, so keep it off the table. Cell phones should not be seen or heard for the entire duration of the meal. Should you use your phone to take a picture, put it away as soon as you are finished.
Want to know more about dining and business etiquette? Visit my website – www.notawkwardanymore.com – to learn more or tweet me @notawkanymore.