MindYour Manners: Etiquette
Essential to Professional Success
DOUG DLBBERT ' 70, president
LISA BEERS, accountant
BRENT CLAIU< ' 84, chief financial officer
SUNANDA DLLLON, data entry clerk
DAVE DONALDSON, mail room, 962-3979
MARyCATHElUNE KURZENSKl, Alumni Center coord.
TOM MAY, print shop coordinator
LINDA RHODES ' 81, assistant to the president
DIANE PADGETT ' 91, membership coordinator
RICK DAVIS ' 85, director of enrichment
LAURA CARTNER ' 93, coordinator of reunions
LINDA CONKl.IN, coordinator of career services
MEREDITH LARSON ' 93, program assistant
LARRY LARusso ' 92, coord. ofextended study program<;
TANEA PETTIS ' 95, assist coord ofstuden.tprograms
tanea..., pettis@'mc.edu; 843-9694
LINDA RAiNEY ' 95 (MA), coordinator of clubs
ANITA WALTON ' 92, coordinator ofstudent programs
REGINA OLIVER ' 75, editor
DAV ID BROWN ' 75, associate editor
ERJC CHERNOFF ' 98, online coordinator
K.!M COSTELLO ' 94, assistant editor
SARAH MCCARTY ' 96, designer
STEPHANIE MIllER ' 83, adv. dir. & promotions coord.
DIANA PALMER ' 86, managing editor & art director
RECORDS AND INfORMATION SYSTEMS
RoGER NELSEN, dir. ofalumni records & info. ~tems
SUSAN AUSTIN, records assistant
TRACY CHRJSMON, records assistant
PRISCILLA FULCHER., records assistant
JULIE GONYA, network administrator
MARTHA MILLS ' 80, records assistant
JOAN PENDERGRAPH, asst. director of alumni records
joan..., firstname.lastname@example.org; 962-3580
STARLA WARD, records assistant
The job applicant had ordered steak dur- ing the interview meal, but at the last minute decided he really wanted surf
and turf, so he proceeded to order lobster as
well. The result? Not hired: Too extravagant,
too inlpulsive. His lack of etiquette acumen
cost him the job.
Getting ajob offer depends on knowing
how to conduct yourself with confidence,
polish and professionalism. The underlying
principle of etiquette is concern for others-
including the person paying the bill. Keeping
this principle in mind can help you avoid
social pitfalls (and pratfalls).
In an interview situation, it is important to
realize that you are on stage from the time you
arrive at a company until you leave. Job seekers
often make the mistake ofbelieving that the
interview is over when they adjourn for lunch
or dinner. Be aware that you are being
observed and judgments are being made about
your conduct at the office and away from it.
Ifyou are invited to lunch or dinner as part
ofyour interview, it is important to know basic
table manners, including how to order, what
silverware to use and what to do with your
napkin. Knowing these social conventions not
will only help you make a good impression but
will help you enjoy yourself rather than worry-
ing about making mistakes.
Most ofus remember the rules our mothers
taught us: Don't chew with your mouth open
and don't make loud noises when you eat.
Don't take large bites or stuff food into you
mouth. Don't lick your fingers. Don't slurp
your soup. Say please and thank you. Keep your
elbows off the table while eating. If you need
something you can't reach, ask the person
closest to it to pass it to you.
There are several other important guide-
doubt about what to order, follow
the lead ofyour host. Ask him or her for a
recoDlDlendation. Use the suggestion to
determine price guidelines.
• Don't order the most expensive or least
expensive item on the menu. Too expen-
sive sends the message that you might be
extravagant; least expensive that you might
be overly frugal. When ordering, make
your decision quickly or at least by the
time everyone else has made a choice.
Don't ask the waiter to explain everything
on the menu or you'll be perceived as
• Avoid ordering food that is difficult to eat,
has a high splash factor (spaghetti), requires
with LINDA CONKLIN
a lot of work (lobster, shrimp) or you don't
know how to eat (escargot).
• Start with the knife, fork or spoon that is
farthest from your plate and work your
way in using one utensil for each course.
Refrain from holding your silverware in a
closed fist as ifit were a farm implement.
Napkins are used to dab your mouth; they
are not intended for performing general
hygiene. They never double as handkerchiefs.
The best rule about drinking alcohol is:
Don't. Drinking may affect your judgment at a
time you want to stay particularly sharp.
However, ifa bottle of wine has been ordered
for the table you may have one glass-and you
do not have to drink all ofit. (The old rule of
white wine with fish or chicken and red wine
with beef is no longer true. When given a
choice, select based on your preference.)
In an interview situation, the host always
pays. In other situations, the person who initiates
the meeting should pay. Ifit is unclear, offer to
pay for your meal.
You can create a good impression with a
firm, not bone-crushing, handshake. Avoid the
dead fish handshake. Contrary to what you
may have learned at cotillion class, men and
business shake hands.
Other face-saving advice: No double dip-
ping. Once you put chips or crudities in your
mouth, they do not go back
Avoid spinach salad-it has its own rules and
will always get caught between your front
teeth. Never use toothpicks or floss at the
table. If you have something caught in your
teeth, excuse yourself and take care ofit.
Remember: To a great extent, you control
what other people think ofyou, and their
opinion is largely determined by the way you
conduct yourself. Professional etiquette can
influence your success in the world of work.
Many jobs have been lost because perspective
employees did not understand what their din-
ing etiquette was really saying about them.
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