Why do you think you started reading this boring article? Probably because there’s a place you should be at, taking dinner with somebody important. And you are afraid that they are going to judge you about the dinning etiquettes. Yeah? Well, you are reading the right article.
You might be holding a masters or even a PhD, but if you don’t know how to behave in a table, people won’t be concerned about your educational level, they are going to spread the word and harm your reputation. So we are going to give little tips which will help you big time.
First let’s start with the basics.
If nothing else, live by these four rules:
- Pay attention to your hosts – Being an observant diner and picking up on cues from your host, Simple things like waiting to eat until others start and using the utensils others are using will help you overcome the embarrassing situations.
- Chew with your mouth closed and do not talk with food in your mouth – If you are expected to speak, only put a single bite in your mouth at a time. The days of stuffing your mouth with as much food as it can hold are over. You are a grown up professional now.
- Bring your food to your face, not your face to your food – You shouldn’t be leaning over your food. Instead, sit straight, balance a single bite on the utensil and bring it directly to your mouth.
- Say Thank You, Please, and Excuse Me – These small words are magic and should be used liberally.
For further concern,
- Take an average sized serving – Going back for a second serving, assuming there is plenty, is always a compliment to the chef.
- Do not double dip
- Pre-cutting meat – Cut for yourself and those around you
- Clean-up after yourself
However, this constant observing and following does not allow you to relax and enjoy the meal. For that you need to know the following.
The general guideline is, everything revolves around the plate, forks to the left, spoons and knives to the right. Glasses on top. When it comes to silverware, you start on the outside and work inward.
Lace your napkin in your lap within 1 minute of sitting at the table to dine. Do not tuck it into the front of your shirt collar like a bib or into your pants, unfold it just enough to cover your lap.
When should you start?
The simple and safe answer to this question is when others do. If the meal is orderly, and everyone is seated, then once three to four people have been served you may begin. Never eat alone, but eat hot food while it is still hot. If you want to give a toasts, you can deliver it at any time when the glasses are filled.
How to Signal You Are Finished
The proper way to signal you are finished with your meal is to place your knife and fork in the 4:20 position in the clock. Your fork should be closest to you with tongs pointed up, the knife with its cutting edge facing the fork’s tongs. This doesn’t only tell a waiter or host that you are finished but it will also be the most stable position for the utensils when a person try to clear your place for dessert.
- Enjoy yourself and have a few drinks if you want to but make sure you don’t make the host regret about inviting you over.
- Talk with people, really listen and understand what they say, and have a good conversation. If you are the only person who has spoken for the last 10 minutes, you are not having a conversation, you are giving a presentation which obviously have made them bored and helpless but only listen to you.
- Turn the cell phone off and enjoy the moment. Do not put it on silent else you will keep peeking at your cell phone every 5 minutes which will make the host feel like unimportant. Come on! You can live without Twitter and Facebook for a night.
- The best way to acquire proper table manners is to practice them at every meal. Make them a habit, teach them to your children and when you need them they will be there.