Who Really Cares About Dining Etiquette, Anyway?

Who Really Cares About Dining Etiquette, Anyway?

In my month-long focus on professionalism, this week’s podcast is about dining etiquette.

The question I don’t really address in that podcast is WHY this is important.

Here’s the deal: There are numerous times when your professionalism will be on display in the form of your manners. These times include:

  • A meal as part of the interview process

  • A meal as part of an internal promotion process

Conferences and seminars that include meals

  • Taking clients out for a meal, or being taken out for a meal as the client

Professional organizations that have a meal as a component of their regular meetings

  • Meals you are invited to, or invite someone else to, as part of your networking strategy

By no means is this an all-inclusive list; you may have already experienced additional scenarios in your career.

So what if you display poor manners or a lack of basic etiquette?

-If your employer expects you to be outside the doors of the organization, representing that organization in some way, they will be hesitant to allow you to perform in this capacity if you display poor manners. It will reflect negatively on the organization.

-If a prospective employer is trying to decide between you and someone else for a position, your poor manners might very well tip the scales in your competition’s favor.

-People will remember your poor manners, so if you are networking with professionals outside your organization, you might not be recruited for a position with their organization…and they might not refer you to a colleague for an opportunity with their organization.

I hope I’ve made a convincing argument for the importance of having strong dining etiquette. If this is an area you need help in, ask your boss about opportunities to attend etiquette training. (Many colleges offer this, so if you’re still in school, look into it.)

There are many etiquette books out there, but if you choose this route, be sure to pair it with some practice. Dining etiquette skills are best developed by doing.

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