Rules of Table Manners for New Recruits

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Let’s face it, we’ve all been nervous one time or another when we’ve had to go out for a job interview meeting over lunch or a formal business dinner with a client, and we question ourselves – am I doing this right? Especially when you’re a new recruit a business lunch with your boss can make you uneasy.

All that cutlery or not knowing what to do or how to act can get overwhelming! The key is once you know the exact rules of table manners at the dining table – you can be at ease, portray a sense of class and land that job or gain an important business client.

As published on, here are some easy to follow rules of table manners and dining etiquette for new recruits:

1. Be on time. Make sure you leave enough time to walk from public transportation or to park. If you end up arriving early, wait in the lobby. Don’t sit at the table.

2. Turn off your smartphone before you arrive. Enough said.

3. Let your host (who may be your boss) indicate where you and the other guests should sit.

4. Don’t order alcohol unless others do first. If you do order a drink, then follow the one-drink rule. It’s easy to lull yourself into believing you can hold your liquor. Unfortunately, with alcohol you start sounding and acting impaired long before you realize it. All it takes is one too many, and you’ll be apologizing the next day for your behavior and hoping you haven’t ruined your reputation. Don’t risk your business future. Follow the one-drink rule, or better yet avoid alcohol altogether at a business meal.

5. When ordering from a menu pick medium-priced items, make sure you know what you’re ordering, and choose items that are easy to eat. There are usually plenty of mid-priced items on a menu, and it would be embarrassing to order something and then realize there’s no way you could ever eat it. Similarly, stay away from foods that are challenging (lobster) or messy (spaghetti) to eat. (I love mussels, but they’re messy. Great when I’m with friends, but not at a business lunch or dinner.)

6. Watch your host for signals such as to how to eat specific foods and when to start eating. If your host uses a fork to eat his shrimp cocktail, then you should, too. If your host has been served but hasn’t started eating, then you should wait, too.

7. Don’t chew with your mouth open or talk with your mouth full of food. It’s really gross.

8. Be a participant. Don’t dominate the general conversation, but do be a part of it. And when the table conversation quiets down, take a moment to talk with the person on your right and similarly be sure to talk with the person on your left. Your participation is the key to successfully navigating a business meal.

9. Don’t ask for a “to-go” bag.

10. Finally, be sure to thank your host at the end of the meal and again the next day in a quick note.

Knowing the rules of table manners is a basic necessity. How you conduct yourself at the table says a lot about you. To get a complete overview of everything you need to know about dining etiquette you might find Corporate Class Inc.’s Executive Dining Etiquette CD helpful!

With 50-mintues of enjoyable practical hands-on instructions, this unique CD uses a common sense approach. You get a true dining/video experience: you are seated at the dining table with simultaneous images, voice and text summaries.

Don’t head to your next power lunch without getting your Executive Dining Etiquette CD today!