July 23rd, 2014

5 Etiquette Tips When Attending an Important Dinner with VIPs

by Jacqueline Whitmore

Etiquette Tips For High Powered Business Dinners

etiquette tips for business dinners

In today’s professional world, business etiquette extends beyond the office. It is often the case where you are required to attend a formal dinner alongside executives and decision makers of your company so it is crucial that you adhere to tableside etiquette standards.

People with good dining manners can win over their colleagues and bosses and those with poor conduct may miss out on career progression.

Don’t let your flawless business plan be overshadowed by your dining faux pas. You’ll want to avoid these dining disasters at all costs.

  1. Don’t hassle over the check. If you’ve invited someone to dinner, always pay. Better yet, discreetly give the maitre d’ your credit card before your guest arrives to avoid a potentially awkward situation when the check comes at the end of the meal.
  2. Stick with the familiar. A formal dinner with VIPs isn’t the time to try out a new establishment and risk bad service or bad food. Choose a restaurant familiar to you. The best choice is a place you’ve dined at often. Better yet, pick a place where the servers know you and give you outstanding service. Nothing is more impressive than being greeted by name when you enter a restaurant.
  3. Don’t order first. Allow your guests to order first, then follow their lead. Be aware of your dining companion’s dietary restrictions. Mirror your companion’s preferences and dinner will go more smoothly. If your companion orders just three courses, follow suit. Don’t go overboard and order a five-course meal. It is also the host’s responsibility to choose the wine.
  4. Be a good listener. Get to know your dining companions through dynamic conversation. Ask open-ended questions. Be interested and interesting and the conversation will flow organically. Don’t be afraid to share a few personal stories. This is the best way to establish a personal connection.
  5. Don’t check your phone. Put people first; technology second. Your phone calls and text messages can wait. Turn your phone on silent and leave it in your pocket or handbag. You may have trained yourself to respond to every beep and buzz, but give your dining companions your undivided attention. Everyone will appreciate your attentiveness.

Etiquette is a very important factor in determining the success or failure of a business or a person so next time you are invited to a formal dinner with executives from your company, make sure you bring your best to the table.

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