It doesn’t matter how schooled you are in etiquette. When it comes to business etiquette, there’s a lot more to know than the manners your mother taught you. In some instances, business dinners may hold major significance in shaping the future of your career. You want to leave a lasting, professional impression that will give others confidence in you. Remembering a few small formalities can take you a long way! To help you avoid any social faux pas at your next business dinner, here are 8 etiquette tips you should observe at your next function.
1. Master the art of greeting
Before everyone is seated, this is the best time for all introductions and handshakes. If others arrive before the meal is served, you’ll have to go through the process again on an individual basis. Generally, before another person sits at the table, you’ll want to stand and greet them. It’s not very polite to remain seated when shaking someone’s hand.
2. Choose your dish wisely
What you ultimately choose to eat should be influenced by the person hosting the business dinner, and also by what’s least likely to get on your clothes. Greasy or messy foods are always a no. What could be more embarrassing than sitting through a business dinner with stains on your shirt? You’ll also want to take note of what the host orders. Never go for the most expensive thing on the menu, and if your host orders a light dish, you should do the same.
3. Never assume alcohol is okay
If your host doesn’t order alcohol, or ask if he or she should order wine for the table, avoid ordering an alcoholic beverage. If your host doesn’t see anything wrong with having a drink or two during dinner, have a drink or two, but keep it to a maximum of two to avoid getting sloppy and tipsy.
4. Don’t monopolize the waiter
There are plenty of valid reasons for inquiring about a dish, such as making sure it won’t conflict with any food allergies. Having the waiter explain everything on the menu will give the impression that you’re rude and indecisive. If you have questions, limit them to one or two dishes, or explain your food allergy and ask what the waiter can safely recommend.
5. Eat neatly
This means taking small bites of food and working your way through your plate slowly. Obviously, you should be cautious to avoid taking with your mouth full. Lay your utensils down back where you found them, and never gesture with your hands while you’re holding utensils or glassware.
6. Carefully consider topics of conversation
Sex, politics, and religion are considered the three most controversial conversation topics. You’ve come to have a business dinner, not a debate. If other people engage in those topics, avoid putting your two cents in. Allow them to discuss things, and keep your opinions to yourself.
7. Excuse yourself correctly
You don’t need to tell everyone you have to pee. It’s a natural thing, and it happens to everyone, but your associates would rather not know where you’re going. Simply say, “please excuse me” before removing yourself from the table and pushing your chair back.
8. Don’t squabble over the bill
You may think you’re being the nice, but your host may perceive it as insulting if you offer to cover part of the bill. They invited you there, and they’ve likely already planned to pay for the bill. Business dinners can often be written off, and your host already knows what they’re doing. Simply thanking them and shaking hands upon departure is good enough.
Remember that your guests and hosts will also help set the tone of the evening. Some business events are more casual than others, but it’s always best to walk in assuming that the bar is set high for formalities. You can always reduce the level of your proper presentation, but you can’t take back any mishaps.
Author: Zoe Anderson is a marketing assistant at StudySelect. She’s keen on learning about new branding strategies and digital marketing tools.