Many times professionals conduct business meetings or interviews over a meal. This may give some people a panic attack. But dining is not as complicated as we sometimes imagine. Just knowing a few pointers will help you survive.
First things first
- As you arrive at the table, wait until the person with the highest seniority sits before taking your seat.
- Immediately place your napkin on your lap as you seat yourself. If you must leave during the meal, place your napkin on the seat–not on the table.
- Don’t start eating until your host or hostess begins.
Use the outside utensils first and work your way in.
Once you use a utensil, it should not touch the tablecloth again. While not using your utensils, rest them slanted across the right front side of your plate. Make sure that the blade of your knife is facing you. Never leave a spoon in a bowl of soup or cup of coffee. The plates under bowls and cups are there for your utensils.
Accidents do Happen
The general rule for spills or accidents is hands off. Don’t clean up spills with your own napkin and don’t touch items that have dropped on the floor. You can use your napkin to protect yourself from spills. Then, simply and politely ask your server to clean up and to bring you a replacement for the soiled napkin or dirty utensil.