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How to Practice Good Business Dining Etiquette

Table manners are a must when dining with colleagues. Follow this simple advice to make your next business dinner a success.


  • Step 1: Wait until everyone has received their meal to start eating, and eat with grace. Cut your food into small bites, do not slurp, and do not chomp on your ice. Pace yourself -- try to finish your meal with the other guests.
  • Step 2: Wait patiently when you are through eating. Place your napkin on the left side of your plate and push your plate away from you.
  • Step 3: Pay the bill after checking it discretely if you are the host. Thank all your guests for joining you and stand up to excuse them when the dinner is over. If you are not the host, do not leave prematurely. You don't want the host to think that you are not appreciative of their invitation.
  • FACT: On any typical day in 2010, restaurant sales reached $1.6 billion.
  • Step 4: Engage in conversation politely -- don't talk with your mouth full and put your utensils on your plate before speaking.
  • TIP: Don't feel pressured to drink -- it's always OK to refuse.
  • TIP: Call the host if you will be late and wait at least 15 minutes to call others who are late.
  • Step 5: Sit up straight and keep your hands in your lap. Do not adjust the silverware and keep all your belongings off the table. Unfold your napkin and place it on your lap.
  • TIP: Turn off your cellphone's ringer, and don't check e-mail at the table, even if other people are doing it.
  • Step 6: Order food that is easy to cut and eat. Never order the most expensive item on the menu, and don't order an alcoholic beverage unless your host asks you if you'd like one.
  • Step 7: Arrive on time to join your party. If you are not the host, wait until they arrive to sit down at the table.

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