Top 10 Dining Etiquette Tips

Dining Etiquette Tips for a Successful Meal

Posted by Liz Taylor Aug 21, 2012

The most important thing you can do at a business meal is make your guests feel as comfortable as possible and have confidence in your dining etiquette. The following top tips will help sharpen your skills:

1. Wait for your host before taking a seat.  Your host most likely has a particular table he/she wants to sit at and a particular seat he/she wants you in.  The guest of honor traditionally sits to the right of the host.

2. Avoid discussing business until after you’ve ordered your breakfast or lunch; or after you’ve finished your main course at a business dinner.

3. Hold up an “A-Okay” sign with your right and left hands and then proceed to bring your fists down to the table directly in front of you.  You’ll notice a lowercase “b” in your right hand and a lowercase “d” in your left hand (b= bread plate on the left site; d= drink on the right side).

4. Place your napkin on your lap as soon as you sit down.

5. Remember that your salad fork and dinner fork are placed on your left side of the plate.  The easiest way to remember this is to think about how “F-O-R-K” and “L-E-F-T” are both 4-letter words.  On the flip side “K-N-I-F-E” and “R-I-G-H-T” are both 5-letter words.

6. If you drop your fork on the floor, leave it and request a new one.

7. Don’t divorce the salt and pepper.  If someone asks for the salt, pass both of them together.

8. Pass the bread basket to your right.  The reason for this is that most people are right-handed and it’s the most natural movement.

9. When you have finished eating, imagine your plate as a clock and place your utensils in a 4:20 position. This signals the wait staff that you’ve completed your meal.  

10. Avoid applying lipstick, playing with your hair or even blowing your nose at the table.


Please feel free to submit questions, comments or stories. We look forward to hearing from you.

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“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

—Chuck Bokar, Principal, Design Resource Center

“Absolutely superb! Liz has an amazing knack for presenting her concepts in a thought-provoking and clear style. Her ideas and suggestions would enhance anyone's ability to bridge the gap between business and etiquette. She clearly has a deep understanding of not only the topic, but the thought processes that go into creating better interpersonal relationships out of socially awkward situations. I highly recommend her and her coursework...she will help your business!”

—Brad Guck, District Manager, Administaff

“Liz, Thank you so much for coming to Indianapolis to help us grow our skills as professionals and as people. Your presentation helped us address issues with grace, candor, sensitivity – as well as fun! You were fabulous!”

—Betsy Hamlett, Director of Sales for Kenra, Ltd.

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