The 4.0 GPA college student was acing all of the preliminary interviews & personality testing by a prestigious accounting firm in the US. The President of the College even gave the lad a glowing reference. And then it happened….the final interview was being conducted over a luncheon.

Many a job or contract has been lost because of inappropriate table manners. Steer clear of these dining blunders to avoid sidelining your career.

Holding up the order because you can’t decide

Decide quickly or at least by the time everyone else is ready. Don’t ask the server to explain everything on the menu. You’ll come across as indecisive, annoying or even high maintenance. Most restaurants post their menus online so familiarize yourself before-hand. Choose the option that best matches your Host’s.

Ordering messy meals

Don’t even think about that “big as your head”, juicy hamburger or ribs. Forget about pasta & sauce, too. There isn’t anyone alive who can look professional eating these items. Stick to manageable meals you can eat with a knife and fork.

Taking someone else’s bred or drinking out of another person’s glass

Remember the acronym – BMW. B for Bread will be on your left. M for Meal is in the middle. And W is for Water/Drink that will be on your right.

Putting your napkin inside your shirt or belt

The napkin goes on your lap when everyone has been seated. When leaving the table temporarily, place it on your seat. When finished eating, place it loosely folded to the left of the plate.

Holding your fork as a pitchfork…or your spoon like a shovel

You’ll look like a common cave dweller spearing your food. Keep the utensils down when speaking avoiding gesticulating or pointing with cutlery.

Licking your utensils or fingers

Disgusting!! Are you three years old? Never use your hand or napkin to clear off crumbs from the table.

Drinking too much alcohol

Just say no…be remembered for all of the right reasons.

Fighting over the cheque

The host who invited you pays the bill & tip. Just say “Thank you”.

Asking for a doggy bag

When you ask to have your lunch boxed up, you appear juvenile in front of colleagues or clients. Never ask for one.

Forgetting to send a written note of thanks

Sending a hand written note to the host within a couple of days goes a long way to building upon a good first impression.

Now, let’s return to our college grad and the infamous business luncheon. The firm decided to test him by suggesting the best rib place in town. Well, you don’t need much of an imagination to realize what happened. With bib around his neck and the piled high plate of ribs, our man devoured them.

A week later when no one contacted him, the College President who was quite perplexed inquired of the firm why his highly prized student hadn’t heard back. The quiet response was “Just ask him about the ribs”. This is a true story. A slip up cost him a very lucrative career. It showed poor judgment on his part. The tech skills aren’t enough anymore. Companies are insisting on good soft skills training, as well.

If your children are needing some assistance in acquiring good soft skills, registration for classes is ongoing. They are appropriate for 8-11 yrs & 12-17 yrs old. Please click here for further information.


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Maria and her Etiquette Program have been featured in several media outlets including:

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