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Business Dinner Etiquette To Help You Make A Great Impression

Jul 21, 2022

Business Dinner Etiquette To Help You Make A Great Impression

It can be difficult to know what the proper business dinner etiquette is. Do you shake hands or hug? What should you order? Who picks up the check?

Here are some basic business dinner etiquette tips to help you make a great impression the next time you're dining with clients, recruiters and business partners.

five person standing while talking each other
Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Make a Good First Impression

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so it's important to make sure you put your best foot forward when meeting someone for the first time. This is especially true when the meeting is taking place over a business dinner.

Here are a few tips to help you make a good first impression:

- Arrive on time or early. Nothing says "I don't value your time" like being late for a meeting. If you're running late, call ahead and let your host know.

- Dress appropriately. It's better to err on the side of being too dressy than too casual.

- Turn off your phone. Nothing is more rude than being on your phone when you're supposed to be paying attention to the person in front of you.

- Be polite and respectful. This includes using please and thank you, making eye contact, and listening more than you talk.

- Avoid controversial topics. You don't want to risk offending anyone or getting into a heated argument.

Know Your Table Manners

Another important aspect of business dinner etiquette is knowing your table manners. This includes everything from how to properly use utensils to which fork to use for each course.

Here are a few basic table manners to keep in mind:

- Wait for everyone to be seated before starting to eat.

- Start eating when the host gives the signal to start.

- Use the utensils from the outside in. This means starting with the fork furthest from your plate and working your way in.

- Don't reach across the table for something. Ask the person nearest to it to pass it to you.

- Don't put your elbows on the table.

- Chew with your mouth closed.

- Don't talk with food in your mouth.

Be a Good Host or Guest

If you're hosting the business dinner, it's your responsibility to make sure your guests are comfortable and have everything they need. This includes things like making sure they're seated in a comfortable spot, introducing them to other people at the table, and keeping the conversation flowing.

If you're a guest, it's important to be respectful of your host and follow their lead. This means being gracious and thanking them for their hospitality.

Be Mindful of What You Order and How Much You Eat or Drink

One thing to be mindful of when dining in a business setting is what you order and how much you eat or drink. It's important to avoid ordering anything too expensive or controversial, and to pace yourself with alcohol.

Here are a few tips to help you order and eat/drink mindfully:

- If you're unsure what to order, ask your host or the waiter for recommendations.

- When in doubt, ordering something simple is always a good idea.

- Avoid ordering anything that is difficult to eat or that will make a mess.

- Try to eat slowly and mindfully, without stuffing yourself.

- Avoid drinking too much alcohol. Stick to one drink if possible, or alternate between alcohol and water.

Avoid Controversial Topics

As we mentioned before, it's important to avoid controversial topics when dining in a business setting. This includes things like politics, religion, and personal finances. The last thing you want to do is start an argument or offend someone, so it's best to just avoid these topics altogether.

Follow Up After the Dinner

Once the business dinner is over, it's important to follow up with your host or guests. This can be done with a thank you note, email, or phone call.

This is a good opportunity to thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in doing business together.

By following these business dinner etiquette tips, you'll be sure to make a good impression and have a successful dining experience.

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