You are about to attend your very first business party, celebration, or awards ceremony. Congratulations! Do you know what is proper and acceptable behaviour and manners at one of these events? Manners do not enter the mind until something happens that draws attention where, attention is not wanted. Here are a few very simple things you can do to stay free from the glare of others.
1. Items that you hold, go in your left hand.
2. The right hand is free to meet and greet.
3. Layer your dining items in this order: napkin held by the thumb, next the small plate held by the thumb (note no food is present yet), next your beverage is placed on the left side of the plate and held by the thumb. Then food is layered neatly to the right of the beverage stemware.
4. Note: no sauces or condiments should be on the plate as they may be lifted with the beverage and drop all over your clothing.
5. In your right pocket are your business cards, only to be handed out if one is requested.
6. Your left pocket is left empty in order to place any cards which you receive during the event.
7. People gather in two spots: the bar and the food. These are the two places where you can interact with others.
8. When being introduced: swallow, replace your beverage on the plate, calmly clean your fingertips on the well positioned napkin and shake hands.
9. Hand shake only once firmly like you are wrapping you palm around a ball. The firmness is not changed with men or women.
10. Practice at home. Practice taking and chewing very small bites of food and sipping on water in stemware.
The key here is to practice at home. This will enable you to become comfortable with the process of layering your items. Tonight, place your dinner with these 10 hints in mind and walk around to get comfortable with the moment and balance of the items.
A word about alcohol….don’t. You may match drink for drink with your host but it does not have to be alcohol. You only get one chance to make a first and lasting impression.
Smooth, flawless manners are easy to master so that you can enjoy any cocktail party, a dinner party, celebration or other formal occasion. A person is never too old or too young to master these simple skills. Your ability to handle yourself with skill and grace will give you the sweet smell of success.