By Chelsie Rimel

Attending a networking dinner or a formal banquet can be quite intimidating. Not only do you have to impress the host with your professional qualities but you also have to know the ins and outs of proper dining etiquette. As a college student whose diet consists mostly of pizza, frozen vegetables, and coffee, I’m not exactly accustomed to dining protocol. Luckily the Career Enrichment Network hosted an Etiquette Dinner at the Nittany Lion Inn on January 29th. I got to enjoy a delicious dinner but more importantly I learned invaluable information about how conduct myself in a professional business dinner setting. Never again will I fear which fork to choose for my salad. If you didn’t get to attend, here are my top five takeaways from the evening:

  1. Bread left, drinks right: Ever sit down at a table and wonder, “Which drink is mine?” Just make the gesture below with your hands and you’ll never encounter another awkward drink mix-up again. Notice that the left hand makes a ‘b’ and the right hand makes a ‘d.’ bd
  2. Butter each bite of bread: When you get a roll, don’t butter the whole thing immediately. Gently rip off a bite-sized piece and butter it before eating. Repeat.
  3. No used silverware on the table: Once you pick up a piece of silverware, it can never go back on the table. When you’re resting or finished, leave the silverware on your plate. For things that you may reuse- like a butter knife or an iced tea spoon- use the bread plate as resting place.
  4. Pass right: Rule of thumb, always pass things to your right. This includes salt and pepper, the breadbasket, sugar and sweeteners, etc. It’s a simple, yet important rule.
  5. Cutting meat is an art form: Who knew that there were so many different ways to cut a steak?! The proper American way is to cut with the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right hand. Before taking a bite you switch the utensils (so the knife is in the left hand and the fork is in the right hand). While it seems a little unnecessary to me this is the proper way to cut meat. If you’re left handed, I’m sorry.

The best way to remember these techniques is through practice. Next time you’re at Applebee’s pretend like you’re eating with royalty. It’s also fun to teach your roommates. Sad you missed out on this event? Remember to check your email and Network Symplicity account for more events regarding professional development.

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