Leaders Need to Know Dining Etiquette

Leaders need to know dining etiquette

I was at the final banquet of the National Speakers’ Association Conference. The room was set with a formal flair appropriate for some of the big-name speakers in attendance, with round tables set for eight people. I was about to remind myself how leaders need to know dining etiquette.

Once I was seated, I noticed the bread basket was in front of me. If I took some bread, I’d need to put it on my bread plate. But which one was mine? There was one on the left and one on the right. With a round table, all the place settings blended together. My out-of-date knowledge of dining etiquette caught up with me.

So I got an idea. I passed the bread basket around the table. Someone would surely take some bread and put it on his or her appropriate bread plate. Then I would be able to tell which bread plate was mine. Guess what? The bread basket came all the way back to me without anyone taking any.

I asked why nobody took any bread. Everyone shyly admitted their uncertainty about which bread plate to use! I decided never to let that happen to me again. So I revisited the basics of dining etiquette:

  • Use silverware from the outside in, and anything above your plate is for dessert.
  • Pass bread plates or other family-style dishes to the person on your right.
  • Liquids are on the right side of your setting, solids (like bread) are on the left.
  • After you’re done, place silverware diagonally on your plate and tuck your napkin beneath it.

Leaders need to know dining etiquette. These skills help you feel confident and professional with people around you. You can focus on networking, instead of bread!

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