August 14, 2023

Everything is Communication: Dining Etiquette

Etiquette , Resources , The Buckley Experience

What are your table manners saying about you? It's something people may not think about until they find themselves at a business dinner, uncertain of what to do.

And because dining has become more casual, especially these last few years, even those who felt at home during a business meal say they're feeling rusty.

When we offer an etiquette program at The Buckley School, our goal is never to make you feel you're getting it all wrong. Good manners should help us create a pleasant, welcoming atmosphere - not one that makes some people feel left out.

So we think it helps to think of dining etiquette as rules of the road, a way to keep things moving smoothly at the table, letting you focus on people and conversation, not on which fork you should be using.

Here are a few simple guides to keep you on track:

Work from the outside in

As a meal is served, trust that you can start with the outermost utensils and work your way in as you consume each course.

Remember the ultimate driving machine

Not sure which is your water glass? Your bread plate is on your left. Your water glass, the right. When in doubt, think of the BMW logo (Bread-Meal-Water) to figure it out.

Keep things moving to the right

If you're passing an item to someone else, let traffic flow to the right. Of course, common sense comes into play: You don't send something all around the table to get it to the person on your left. And if you're the one starting the flow - say you're passing the bread basket - you can hold it for the person on your left to choose a piece before sending it off to the person on your right.

Slow down and watch

Whenever you're concerned about how to navigate your own place setting, pause for a beat and see what your host and other diners are doing. If you're the host, make sure you know in advance - because your guests will be taking cues from you.

Focus on the goal of good manners 

If you or fellow diners sip from the wrong glass, don't make a to-do. Just adapt, apologize briefly if you like, make it okay for others, and keep smiling.

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