Job Success Harvard, Carnegie Foundation and Standford Research Center
The Three Golden Rules 1) Not there to eat A work dinner is a social occasion with an agenda. Relax, and remember the goals of the dinner while at the table.
2) Be discreet You’re invited to be part of the evening, not to be the star. Human resource staff say about new hires, “New hires try too hard to impress their colleagues.” The Three Golden Rules
3) Follow your host Since you’re not paying, you need to follow the lead set by your host. Think of the dinner experience as “Simon Says” or “Follow the Leader.”
Seating Maitre D’ – escorts you to your table. Ladies, the “D” may pull your chair out for you to help you get seated. Gentlemen, the “D” may put the napkins on your lap. Just say thank you and move on.
Seating Napkins Placing your napkin on your lap seems like such a simple thing to remember, but it’s so easy to forget. Your napkin should be on your lap at all times. If you need to excuse yourself at any point, put your napkin in your chair, not back on the table. A napkin on the table may be seen as a signal to your server that you’re finished with your meal and your plate may be taken.
Seating Leave the menu Once you are seated, do not pick up the menu. Talk to those around you. Keep an eye on Simon. Once Simon picks up his or her menu, you can start looking.
Seating Small Talk In order to avoid an uncomfortable silence, prior to the meal, you should ask about the people joining you and find out a little about them. You also might want to freshen up on current events, sports, or other potential topics.
Seating Handshake The proper handshake involves eye-contact and a three-second firm grip. That’s it. Not: The Fish: limp shake with no eye contact. The Gorilla: send the signal, “I can break you.”
Wine(if Simon Says) Named after the Grape - pronunciations Cabernet Sauvignon (cab-er-nay sav-in-yon) Chardonnay(shar-don-ay) Merlot(mer-low) Pinot Noir(pee-no-n’war) Reisling(rees-ling) Shiraz(sure-oz) Zinfandel(zin-fan-del)
Wine(if Simon Says) Named after the Region - Beaujolais(bo-zha-lay) *France Bordeauz(bor-doe) *France Burgandy(bur-gun-dee) *France Chablis(sha-blee) *France Champagne(hap-pee-nu-yeer) *France Chianti(key-awn-tee) * from Italy
Ordering Wine (if Simone Says) Red or White The first thing you should ask the table is, “Would you like red or white?” Or make the decision based on the food: beef, lamb, and pork = red wines chicken and fish = white wines pastas = match with sauce
Ordering Food Words on a menu that disguise their true identity Bouillabaise and Fricassee – stews Red mullet – fish Caviar – fish eggs Foie gras – goose liver Morels – brain-like fungus Capers – flower bud Ceviche – raw fish Gnocchi – potato dumplings Vermicelli – thin spaghetti Arugula – salad green Carpaccio – raw beef Leek - onion
Ordering Food Close your menu When you are finished selecting your meal, close your menu! It seems so obvious, but if you leave it open, the server is never going to come to your table.
Table Setting Glasses are on your right. Break plate is on your left. An easy way to remember: Hold your hands out in front of you in the “ok” sign. Use a little imagination and you’ll see a “b” and a “d” for bread and drink on your left and right hand.
Silverware Review Rule of thumb: Work from the outside in. Never allow used silverware to rest on the table. Soup – when you come to the bottom of your bowl, tilt the bowl away from you to get the last of your soup.
Silverware Butter knife and plate You should always “butter your plate” first and use this butter for your bread. You never want to continue returning to the original butter. Tear off bite-sized portions of your bread, and only butter the portions as you eat them.
Finished Eating Once you’ve finally finished eating, you should put your silverware on your plate, fork tongs down, in this position (roughly 4 o’clock).
After Dinner After Dinner Drinks Port Wine – These wines are sweeter than normal wines and are rarely consumed during the meal. Their alcoholic content is greater than most regular wines. Whisky – This is a liquor made from grain. Scotch and Bourban are both types of whiskeys. Scotches – There are two kinds of scotches: single malts (they come from one distillery), and blends such as Chevis Regal, J&B, and Dewar’s. Brandy – This is an alcoholic liquor distilled from wine.
Thank You Besides using manners, another way to distinguish yourself at a business dinner is to send a thank-you to your host for inviting you to dinner. This may not always be appropriate if the host was your immediate boss (you brown-nose), but a thank-you is important if a client was the host. This simple gesture can go a long way.