Business Etiquette - Living Room Cincinnati
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Business Etiquette

Ever get invited to a business dinner and feel a little out of your league when you looked at the menu? Or maybe the sight of several forks and spoons was more daunting than the shoptalk at the end of the night? Seems in these modern times with life being so busy maybe your own parents never really taught you the basics? The good news is there’s nothing wrong with needing a little refresher course on business etiquette. Here are some of our top tips for looking like you’ve got it all figured out, even when maybe you don’t.

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  • Attire – Better to be over-dressed than under-dressed
  • Seating
    • Don’t put your wallet or keys on the table. You can put your cell phone on the table, face down – but clarify why? Example – I have my kids with a sitter, so I just need this here as a precaution.
  • Paying
    • If you asked for the meal – you are paying.
    • Be discrete, but let the waiter know you are the person paying so when the bill comes it’s not uncomfortable for the client.
  • Ordering
    • Let the host order 1st
    • If you are with a client who knows the restaurant very well – it is nice to allow them to order for the table
    • Try not to be too complicated… think When Harry Met Sally
  • Drinking
    • Allow the person paying to order the wine
    • To establish the price you are comfortable with, tell the sommelier what you like and then point to a wine on the list that is in the range you are comfortable with.
    • After you test the wine – do not send it back unless it is awful
    • Don’t be the only person drinking at the table
    • 2 drink max – don’t drink the hard stuff!
    • Drink water throughout dinner.
    • Look into your wine glass not over it when drinking
  • The napkin!
    • Take a cue from your host and place your napkin on your lap when you are about ready to eat
    • If you have to get up from the table, place the napkin on your chair arm or seat (not the table)
    • When you are finished with dinner it should go on the left side of your plate. Again, wait for the cue from your host.
  • FOOD
    • Wait for everyone to get their food before eating
    • Chew with your mouth closed
    • Don’t talk with food in your mouth
    • Cut meat one piece at a time – not the whole thing!
    • When you are finished – place the fork and knife at 10 and 2 – fork facing up – knife to the right
  • Basic manners
  • Keep your elbows off of the table while eating
  • Wipe your fingers and mouth often with your napkin

If that menu at the fancy French restaurant is all Greek to you, here are a few words you should know that might help you order.

Truffled

This simply means the dish has been cooked, garnished, or stuffed with truffles (subterranean mushrooms) in some way.

Tartare

A preparation of finely chopped raw meat. There are many variations on the tartare, including steak, chicken, salmon, and eel. The most common is tuna tartare.

Deconstructed

This is just a fancy way to say we are taking all the ingredients in a normal dish, and putting them together in a different way.

Ceviche

This is a popular Spanish seafood dish that is made with raw fish marinated in citrus juices and spiced with aji or chili peppers. It can then be seasoned with chopped onions and salt.

Mignardises or Petits Fours

Often times tasting menus simply end with “Mignardises” or “Petits Fours,” which are tiny, bite-sized desserts. They usually include tiny cookies or chocolates.

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