Professional Knowledge brought to you by AKPsi
I have recently come across a few occasions that requried me to dine with corporate professionals. It is easy to read about proper dinning techniques in situations such as these, but you can’t exactly get the feel for it until you can experience it. Therefore, I am going to share a few real-world tips for how to act in a professional (both casual and formal) dinner setting.
Most likely, whichever company you find yourself eating with, the company will be footing the bill. This is very imporant to remember. While you don’t want to spend every dime you can because it is “free”, you also don’t want to seem extremely uncomfortable and socially awkward.Therefore:
-When ordering, be conservative. AKA: order a soda if you want one, order a salad if you want one….but maybe stay away from ordering 5 beers, an appitizer, a soup, a salad, and a soda.
-If you are unsure of the price range expected, find a few options on the menu and gauge your choices by simply asking what others are considering. As long as prices are similar and it is not an outrageous meal, then go for it. (if it is a more formal dinner, consider chicken, fish, pasta, or other meat dishes rather than a burger or chicken fingers, it looks much more sophisticated)
-Never be the first to respond to “did we save any room for dessert”…let one of the corporate reps respond. If you really want something sweet you can always get something on your dime later on, after all, dinner was free.
-Other than food, keep the conversation flowing, but not to the point where you haven’t touched your meal and everyone else is finished. Know how and when to speak and when to let everyone enjoy their meals.
-ALWAYS thank the company for the meal….don’t offer to pay or scream out to the waitress that the bills are seperate. If you are the guest, let the host of the dinner do the speaking. Most likely they will have already spoken to the waiter and arranged for payment.
-Don’t get up from the table until it is decided that it is time to go (trivial, but you don’t want to seem in a rush to run out the door)
Therefore, the most important rule, I would say, is that if you are the guest, be comfortable, don’t be annoying and ask questions about what to order for everything, but also be conservative with your choices. Let the host be the guide for your dinning experience.
Written by: Erica Scacciaferro