Over the weekend, I had the chance to take another small meal etiquette course, which are always fun. If you have not had the opportunity to sit through a meal etiquette course, I would strongly recommend it. Some of the points taught in them can help you out for sure and being proper can always put you a step above your competition, if you are interviewing for a position or having lunch with a client.
Here are a few of the key points that are usually discussed at such sessions:
- First and foremost, turn off your cell phones! Even if it is on vibrate, it can still be heard and be disruptive. Just turn it off – your not going to be responding to emails via your Blackberry or sending your friend a text message during a meal anyway, so just shut it down. And along those lines, get rid of the blue tooth ear pieces!
- Never start eating until everyone at your table has been served. If you are at a normal restaurant, everyone will most likely get their food at the same time, so you shouldn’t have to wait to long. If you are at a catered served meal, it may take a little longer for the waiters to run around and get everyone served, so be patient.
- Keep your elbows off the table, duh!
- The salt and pepper are a set and are supposed to be passed as such. Even if someone asks for just one of the two, pass them both so that they stay together.
- If you are served bread but do not have a bread plate, you have a couple options: if you have a soup cup on a plate, move the cup over a little to put your bread on it or if you have a salad, go ahead and use the edge of your salad plate. Not sure if it is proper, but if you have a coffee cup already at your setting, you could move your cup over some and use that plate as well.
- Too many forks and knives to know what to do with? Start from the outside and work your way in. Most places will provide you with utensils that are the same size (such as forks) but if you have ones that vary in size, start from the outside and work inward. The most outer fork is for your salad, the next is for your meal.
- Do not order an alcoholic drink unless your host orders one first.
- Not sure what price range of a meal to get? Nothing too expensive, but nothing to cheap to show that you are sucking up. If you can make it happen, have your host order first and have a few options in mind in relation to the price of what he/she orders.
I am trying to remember what else was included in this particular session, but I think this covers most of it. Have you attended any sort of etiquette training? Was it helpful? What did you learn that I may have missed?