Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top 10 Business Etiquette Tips

Fast-food restaurants.  Drive-thru Starbucks.  Go-Gurt.  Hot Pockets.  Eating meals has turned into a fast-paced, diverse, and multi-tasking activity in America.   But just because the speed has picked up, doesn't mean that we have to eat like we're in a hotdog eating competition at all times.

Here are our top 10 tips for business etiquette while eating.  A special thanks to Colleen A. Rickenbacher, author of Be On Your Best Business BehaviorShe truly is the queen of business etiquette. 

1.  Bread on the left, drinks on the right.  To remember this, make "okay" signs with both your left and your right hands.  You will see that your left hand looks like the letter "b" (bread) and your right hand looks like the letter "d" (drinks).  When setting a table, remember this rule.

2.  Silverware usage.  Once you pick up a piece of silverware, it should never touch the table again.  When you're finished using your silverware, place the fork and knife together, angled across the plate.

3.  Saying "no" to coffee.  If you do not want coffee, do not turn your cup upside-down.  The wait staff will do that.

4. Sugar high.  No need to use 17 sugar packets in your iced tea or coffee.  Try to limit to two.  And try to not shake them, slap them around, click them, or tap them more than a couple of times. 

5.  Napkin no-no's.  Blot, do not wipe. 

6.  Time-consuming bread.  You must realize that eating bread is extremely time-consuming.  In order to eat bread properly, break little pieces of bread and butter each piece one at a time.

7.  Salt and pepper are married.  They always travel together.

8.  Portion control!  We all wish we had it.  But in a business situation, especially a buffet situation, use portion control.  This is not your last supper.

9.  Fixing yourself is what a bathroom is for.  If you need to reapply makeup, brush your hair, floss, or put on more lipstick, don't do it at the table.  Excuse yourself and use the restroom.

10.  Toasting.  Keep it short (30-60 seconds) and should be said from the heart (not a notecard).

Written by Allison Way.

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