BY ANGELLA LUYK
I have recently started going to events where lunch is being served. I can never remember which water glass is mine. I usually wait until everyone else has taken a drink then grab my glass. I have started to dread drinking water. Help.
– Thirsty Sonya
Dear Thirsty Sonya,
We have all attended the business lunch with our stomach in knots, and our frayed nerves and we aren’t even presenting the lecture. All we want is some bread or water. Which plate is ours? Which glass do we drink from? Here are a few tips to get you through these business meals with a little grace and dignity.
This first tip can easily be done under the table so no one sees you. Take your left hand, now pinch your thumb and index finger together, you will form the letter b, and your right hand forms the letter d. The letter b stands for bread, and d for drink. When you reach for that bread plate this will be on your left, and water on the right. This should help end some of the confusion.
When you arrive to the event, kindly turn your cell phone to vibrate. There is nothing more embarrassing than having your phone go off in the middle of the presentation. If your phone should happen to go off, kindly remove yourself from the event. You should place your napkin on your chair; this will signify to the wait staff that you plan to return. Do not start your phone conversation until you are clear of the doors which you should quietly close behind you.
A few more things to remember are if you have food allergies, you can call ahead to see what they are serving. If it is something you cannot eat, ask them to substitute it for you. For those of us who intend to call, but don’t quite make it, as soon as you arrive find an employee and ask them to make the switch. This way your meal will come out with everyone else’s and you will not have to sit there and wait. If your food does not come at the same time as everyone else’s, make sure you say to the table, “Please go ahead and eat your meal, mine will be here in a moment.” Proper etiquette dictates that the rest of the table waits until everyone at the table is served before eating unless given permission by the last one served.
I am sure we all know not to talk with our mouths full, but please remember don’t wave your knife and fork around in the air while talking to people as well. Polite conversation is allowed. Some great topics might be who you are, why you are at this particular event. Remember this is not the time sell your services to the other guests. Be polite and give them ample time to tell you who they are.
Once you are finished with your meal, place the knife and fork across the plate, this will indicate to the wait staff that you are finished. As they are serving coffee, if you do not wish to have any, simply turn your cup upside down. When you leave the table at the end of the meal, loosely place the used napkin on the table to the left of your dessert plate.
Hopefully this will help ease some of those nerves. Go enjoy yourself.
Have a question for Angella? Send it to Angella@wisdominatrafficjam.com or check out her business www.onestoprochester.com or www.wisdominatrafficjam.com