Modern Etiquette: Keep up your professional image at dinner

Mon Jan 10, 2011 7:32am EST
 
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By Pamela Eyring

WASHINGTON (Reuters Life!) - When most of us think about how we're perceived professionally, we conjure up images of ourselves giving boardroom presentations or skilfully negotiating contracts with clients. Yet one of the strongest indicators of how truly professional you are is not how you handle a room or host a meeting, but how you handle yourself at the dining table.

Your grasp of basic manners and etiquette is a projection of your experience, your status and, of course, your professionalism. More importantly, how you conduct yourself at the dining table gives potential clients and partners a sense of how you will handle their business and your relationship.

Appropriate dining behavior is a way to prove to your boss and those in the corner office that you are an individual capable of representing their company in a manner that advances the company's reputation and goals.

Earning Your Seat at the Table.

While there are many fine points to dining, today I will cover the most basic and essential points here. Just adhering to these few simple pointers will establish you as a professional at the dining table and beyond.

KEEP THE TABLE CLEAR

Never place keys, purses, hats, gloves, eyeglasses, folders, or anything that is not part of the meal on the table. If items must be in reach, tuck them in a pocket or neatly beneath or behind your chair.

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