Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Professional and Personal Etiquette Tips

A first impression is essential for professional and personal success. Its often the only opportunity you have to sell yourself to a potential employer or business partner. Here are a few tips to ensure that your first impression is your best impressions:

Appearance- No chewing gum in formal settings, good posture, and positive body language. Always be prepared to look and sound your best.

Business introduction- is based on rank not gender. Person with “higher” position is introduced to person in subordinate position. Only use first name when given permission.

Handshakes- Always give a firm handshake and make eye contact. When meeting a person of celebrity status (politicians, entertainers) you should never offer your hand first.

Attending meetings- Be punctual, well briefed on subject matter. You may not leave until senior executive has left a meeting or event. When traveling with other professionals always remember the LIFO (last-in, first-out) rule. The senior person enters the car last so they will be the first to exit.

Interviews- Dress to impress, smile, make eye contact, be on time, and do research on would-be employer.

Invited to an event- Respond. RSVP is a French term which means, please reply.

Business cards- When exchanging cards, its polite to look at the receiving business card and make comment to show acknowledgement.

Professional Etiquette when Dining

Knowing proper table manners is extremely important for job interviews and social occasions that you attend with a supervisor, client, or business associate. Knowledge of proper dining etiquette will help you avoid embarrassment and the possibility of offending someone. Here are some general tips for professional manners when dining:

Being Seated
Men precede women to the table.
Remain standing until the host or hostess has been seated.
When being seated, enter your chair from the left and rise from the right.

Napkins are place in your lap when seated; large napkins are folded in half with crease toward you and small napkin is completely unfolded.
If you leave the table, place napkin in chair
At the end of meal, place napkin to the left of your place setting, NEVER on your plate.

Table Setting
At fancy restaurants you may be presented with an array of silverware. As a rule-of- thumb, always use your utensils outside-in.

Wine Ritual & Beverages
Traditionally speaking, red wine is served with red meat and white wine with white meats.
If you are with a host/hostess who orders wine, it is proper for him/her to sample a small amount of wine, and either approve or disapprove of the wine. If approved, the waiter/waitress will then pour wine for the remainder of guest at the table.

Initial presentation- Take a quick glance to ensure it’s the wine that you ordered, simply look at name and vintage and nod.

Cork presentation- Waiter will hand you the cork to examine (improperly stored wines will allow the cork to dry out, resulting in an air-breach will cause the wine to turn to vinegar). Do a quick sniff and hand it back.

The sip test- At this point the waiter will place a small tasting amount o wine in wine glass and step back. Simply swirl the wine in your mouth to release its natural aroma and stick your nose into glass while inhaling deeply. Next, take a small sip, swishing wine evenly across your tongue. Then turn to waiter and nod for approval.

Grasp glasses by the stem, using thumb and first two fingers.
Coffee is consider an after dinner drink

Sit up straight
Don’t talk with food in your mouth
Don’t place elbows on table
Pass to the right.
Don’t automatically salt and pepper food. Take a small taste and then season.
Wait until all are served before eating
Eat in small bites slowly
When finish place utensils across the plate

Tips on Tipping!
Maitre d’- $5 for seating two (doubles for 5-star restaurants)
Waiter/waitress-15-20% of bill
Wine Steward-10% of wine bill
Bartender-15% of bill
Hat/Coat Check- $1 per coat
Door attendant-$1-2 for cabs
Parking Valet-$1-2 per use.

Source: University of Wisconsin-River Falls Career Services

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