Author: Dina Barabash, Content Development & Web Specialist
Posted: Oct. 6, 2020

Recently, we have seen the country open in ways that it has not in months. Stores and shops are reopening, and restaurants are available for dine-in once again. This is great news for those of us who have been waiting to return to some version of normalcy this year. As restaurants begin to welcome back guests, you may find yourself at a business lunch – just don’t find yourself unprepared. Before you find yourself seated across from important clients or your department leaders in a café or upscale establishment, it is important to prepare yourself.

Begin by dressing in an appropriate way for the location of the meeting. For example, if you are meeting at a casual dining establishment, you may be allowed to wear jeans and casual tops. Although, if you are meeting with new clients and your project manager has chosen a fine dining option, you will need to dress more business appropriate. The key to feeling confident when you arrive is to know what kind of situation you are walking into. Do not be afraid to ask your team members in advance how formal is the location and what is the required attire. Additionally, you may want to research the meeting location ahead of time to better understand what will be expected of you.

It goes without saying that most of us are glued to our technology. Whether it is our computers or cell phones, we are hooked. If you are attending a business meeting, however, do not use your technology at the table unless asked to do so. In fact, it may be wise to silence your cell phone or turn it off during the meeting. If the other guests are checking their calendars to set a date for a follow-up meeting, it is permissible to use your cell phone. Do not use your cellphone to check text messages, social media or communicate with those outside of the meeting unless it is an emergency or necessary. You do not want to appear rude or disinterested at the table.

Once seated, you should remember a few table manners as well. For instance, if you are leaving your chair but returning, leave your napkin in your chair. However, if you are getting up to leave for good, place your napkin to the left of your plate. While seated, keep your napkin in your lap half folded, with the crease closest to you. Additionally, avoid slouching and placing your elbows on the table. You may not realize how important and noticeable manners, proper attire and poise may be at any meeting or gathering, but their absence can be spotted right away. 

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