What is etiquette?
Etiquette can take on many forms. We discuss business etiquette, dinning etiquette, cell phone etiquette, and even netiquette! What etiquette really means is presenting ourselves to the people around us in a professional and courteous manner, whether at the dinner table with colleagues or meeting someone for the first time. First impressions really do mean a lot, especially as you begin to build a network and begin your career, or even as you're trying to climb the ladder to the top. There are rules, of course, most of which are mandated by society. We know the basics - to say please, thank you, and you're welcome - but there is so much more to learn!
Why are table manners important?
Moms all over the world cringe when I tell my etiquette workshops that it really is okay to put your elbows on the table...sometimes! Table manners are important for a number of reasons, and I have a repertoire of stories that prove it! Do you know which water glass is yours when you sit down to a table of 10 at a conference? I hope so, or you might drink our of your neighbor's glass! For students interviewing in my industry, knowing which fork to use and how to eat a roll without getting crumbs all over might just land them a job. Many companies interview potential employees over a lunch or dinner hour, meaning the interviewee can become too nervous to ace the interview if constantly worried about what to do with their napkin. Learning even the basics will set you above the competition!
The etiquette workshops I teach guide students through a 3-5 course meal as they learn how to use the large variety of equipment in front of them.
Students also learn the finer points of formal dining, like what to do with that pesky olive pit that is leftover after eating an olive!
I prefer to keep workshops informal; students attend to learn and practice table manners, and should be comfortable while doing so.