Magazine article Black Enterprise

Business Dining Etiquette: Beat Your Competition with Winning Table Manners

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Business Dining Etiquette: Beat Your Competition with Winning Table Manners

Article excerpt

"I could not believe it. Several peers and I were out to lunch with a client. During the meal, one [co-worker] was chewing and talking with a mouth full of food. I was so embarrassed!" says Lila Widemann, vice president and trust officer for private client services with a financial services company in Tacoma, Washington.

"About 50% of all business transactions are finalized over a meal," says Donna Paige Riley, owner of Paige's Etiquette Seminars Etc. in Atlanta and author of What is Etiquette, Anyway? A Book about Manners for Children (But Grownups Can Bead It Too! (LeTay Publishing; $12.95). "Your table manners really say a lot about your image as a whole,"

Whether you are the guest or host, handling business over a meal does not have to be a stomach-turning experience. Paige Riley offers these basic business dining tips for anyone who aspires to land his or her dream job, sign a multimillion-dollar contract, or select that sharp new employee:

* Sit at the head of the table if you are the host or the person conducting the interview, "Guests should be seated after the host sits or asks the guests to be seated," says Paige Riley. Also, reserve a table where there will be few interruptions.

* When using utensils, start from the outside and work your way in, Notice the varied sizes of utensils, such as the salad fork, which is smaller than the dinner fore Food dishes such as bread plates are always to your left. "If you are not having coffee or tea, turn your coffee or teacup over on the saucer," says Paige Riley. …

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