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Business Dining
In today’s Corporate Culture, formal dinners are a common affair, many a deals are cinched and millions earned over a glass of sparkling red wine and a plate of foie gras. And as we all know that in the business world you never get a second chance to make a first impression, therefore it is absolutely essential that you carry yourself with élan and sophistication through such formal dinners. So lets see what you ought to keep in mind when attending a business dinner.
  • For one, it is imperative that you arrive on time. To a Businessman Time is Money and if you are to garner any respect in the corporate world at all, punctuality will have to be one of your virtues. Incase you are running late due to unforeseen circumstances, call ahead and inform your dinner partners about it.

  • Do not place any handbags, briefcases, sunglasses or cell phones on the table. Gently unfold your napkin and place it on your lap. Wait till all the members arrive before starting any part of the meal and yes this includes the hot breads and the breadsticks too!

  • Turn off your cell phone on silent mode, it is most impolite to have it ring in the middle of a serious conversation and even more impolite should you choose to answer the call. If there is an urgent call, excuse yourself from your dinner partners, leave the table and then take the call.

  • If you are in doubt as to what you should order, follow your host’s lead. Do not order the most expensive item on the menu. Avoid finger food or food that is difficult to eat. You wouldn’t cut a very fine picture with spaghetti sauce running down your chin! And as a rule, try to avoid drinking alcohol at a business dining; Of course it is entirely acceptable to have a glass of wine or champagne, should you choose to drink.

  • Do not chew with your mouth open, speak only after you have finished chewing. If there’s something undesirable in your mouth discreetly remove it with your fork or your napkin. Speaking of napkins, use it frequently, place it on your seat if you need to leave the table for any reason, once you are done with your meal, place it in an informal wrap at the left of your plate.

  • Break the bread rolls and butter each part individually. Cut your salad into bite- sized pieces if necessary. Gently blow your soup to cool it instead of blowing into it. Again that would look rather gauche and uncivilized. Also try to pace your meal in such a way so that you should finish about the same time as everybody else.

  • Do not, and I’ll repeat, DO NOT put on make-up or comb your hair at the table. That is absolutely unacceptable. If you are suddenly taken over by an urge to ‘powder your nose’, excuse yourself and use the restroom to do so. Also do not lounge in your chair, maintain a smart, business like posture, elbows off the table.

Follow all of that and keep the conversational lively and you should do just fine in a formal environment. Remember it is essential to be yourself so no matter what don’t pretend to be something you aren’t!


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