“Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them.” – Bill Kelly

I believe that good manners not only show respect, but also show that whatever it is you do, you are capable of doing it well.

I had the pleasure of learning from the best: Virginia Edwards, a nationally renowned etiquette coach, presented professional dining and networking skills at the SophoMORE Etiquette Dinner. She taught me many valuable lessons about fine dining that I am happy to pass along!

First Things First: Appearance Matters.

  • When RSVPing to an event, it’s more than okay to ask what attire is recommended.

  • Dress like others in your career field. A person who works at an advertising agency will dress differently from a person that works on Wall Street

  • If you’re still unsure about what you should wear:
  1.  Men:a suit is your best option, and your jacket and pants should match.
  2. Women:a suit is also your best option, and your jacket and skirt should match, along with pantyhose.

Making an Entrance:

When you walk into an event, be aware that others are watching you.  Make your presence known.                                                                                               

  • When you first walk into the room, take a moment to stop at the front of the room to look around. Look for the host and others that you would like to speak with
  • Don’t flock to people you know and sit with them all night. Events are meant to enhance your list of connections.

  • Posture, posture, posture.

Table Manners:  

Remember, manners matter!.

  • When you arrive at your table, do not sit until the host (or any other head of the table) sits, then you may follow.
  1. Every other action will also follow the host: removing the napkin from the table, breaking of the bread, eating, etc.
  • If you’re confused about which bread plate or drink is yours, here’s a fun trick (that shall be done under the table, only) :
  1. Touch your index finger and thumb together. Your left hand will form a B, while your right hand forms a D. This reminds you that your bread plate is on the left, while your drink is on the right.
  • Utensil basics:move from the outside in.

  • While eating your bread, break off small pieces and butter each piece individually.

  • Don’t talk with food in your mouth and chew with your mouth closed.

Food to order:

  • Don’t order anything that will be difficult to eat. This typically means stay away from food with bones.

  • Don’t order large portions,; remember you are being watched!


  • Thank your host and all others that you spoke with.

  • If you made a connection with someone, feel free to give them a business card.
  1. Yes, it’s important to have business cards; welcome to the real world!

Possessing good manners can open up an array of new opportunities for you. Tune into what others are doing at events and follow their lead. More importantly though, use every chance you get to make valuable connections. You never know when they will come in handy.

Visit Virginia Edwards website, www.BeyondManners.com, to receive more tips.



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