You’ll probably never have to greet the Queen, but everyone should know some basic etiquette rules.
You will need
- An appreciation for social niceties
- A good memory
Step 1 Respect authority Respect authority by always introducing a subordinate to a superior, not vice versa.
Step 2 Don’t celebrate yourself Do not take so much as a sip of your cocktail when everyone else is drinking theirs in your honor. Drinking during your own toast is like giving yourself a hearty round of applause.
Step 3 Know left from right Know the rules regarding left and right. If you’re handed a name tag, slap it on your right lapel. Then hold your drink in your left hand, so your right is free for handshakes. And don’t eat the dinner roll on your right or drink the water on your left.
An easy way to recognize what’s yours at the table is to think BMW: Bread, Meal, Water/Wine.
Step 4 Know the codes Know the codes: If you must leave mid-meal to use the powder room, place your napkin on your chair. When you leave for good, put it beside your plate. If you’re ‘resting’ between bites, cross your knife and fork on your plate, with the knife on the right. If you’re done, place knife and fork side by side, pointing at the 11 o’clock position.
Step 5 Know when to say when Know when to say when: When everyone is done eating, so are you.
Step 6 Know how to sneeze Try to sneeze and cough into a tissue, then throw it away immediately. If there’s no time for a tissue, direct your nose into your upper arm. While this may sound like the equivalent of wiping your runny nose on your sleeve, it is not. It’s meant to keep germs off your hands, where they will infect others.
Oscar Wilde once said, ‘The world was my oyster. But I used the wrong fork.’