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Professional Networking Dinner

Wednesday, August 21, 2019.

During my first week at Longwood University, I attended a professional networking dinner as part of an honors retreat. We wore business casual clothes and learned about dinner etiquette. This had been the first time I had ever learned about which fork to use and how to hold a professional dinner conversation. Further, I had not often worn business casual clothes. As a matter of fact, I did not really own any business casual clothes at the time.

We learned to always start with the outside of our silverware and move in towards the middle. Starting on the far left, we had our salad fork, main course fork, then our plate, knife, salad knife, main course or tea spoon, then the soup spoon. In front of our utensils and plate, we had our drink on the right and our bread plate on the left. I remembered this, because if you make circles with your hands and stick your pointer fingers up, they make a “b” and a “d,” for bread and drink.

Any time we would attend a business dinner with a host, we were always to follow the lead of the host. Wait for him or her to introduce you, and wait for him or her to lead the discussion at the table. If your host drinks wine, follow their lead only drinking as many glasses as he or she drinks. Follow the same protocol with desserts, and remember to never order something very expensive.

If you bring a purse or a bag, put it underneath your chair or table. Do not bring your phone unless you are awaiting an emergency call. If that is the case, let your host know you may have an important call, and when the call comes, quietly step away to answer it.

Be sure to eat slowly so you have more room to talk. Be more interested than interesting. Only cut one bite off at a time; do not cut all your food at once, and do not saw at your food. If you are eating soup, scoop away from yourself and sip off one side of the spoon.

I had little to no experience with fancy dinners or clothing. This dinner was very important, and the information I learned can greatly benefit me in my future. This could come into play in an interview meal or to help me with better job opportunities. Since this dinner, I have also acquired some business casual clothes for any further professional events.