How to behave at a business dinner: basic etiquette rules

Yulia PoteriankoLife
A business dinner is a great opportunity to create a positive impression in an informal setting

A business dinner is as important a part of the workflow as working in the office. However, it requires a more careful approach to the rules of behavior, because, in an informal setting, it is easier to violate the chain of command or inappropriately go beyond someone's boundaries.

OBOZREVATEL has compiled a dozen tips to help you make the right impression during a business dinner. Here's what experts in refined manners recommend for such situations.

Be on time

Even though a business dinner is an informal event, being late is just as unacceptable as being late to any other business meeting. Show everyone you invite that you respect them and value their time. You shouldn't show up too early either. And don't forget to introduce yourself before you sit down if there are people you don't know.

Be polite to the staff

Your behavior with the restaurant staff will tell the other diners a lot about you as a person. So try to show your best side. Say "please" and "thank you" to waiters and hostesses as you would to any other person. And try not to complain about the service, even if the service is mediocre. This can give the impression that you are a person who is looking for faults in everything.

Don't answer the phone during the meal

A business dinner requires your full attention because it's an informal but still a work event. Therefore, it is rude to be distracted by phone calls and messages in messengers - you may miss something important. Put your gadget where no one will see it and where it won't bother you with vibration and light. Give your full attention to your colleagues and partners.

Dress appropriately

If you're unsure about the appropriate attire for a business dinner, opt for clothing similar to what you typically wear to the office. And make sure they are clean and ironed. There's no need to dress too formally unless it's specified in the invitation. Also, do not choose very relaxed clothes (jeans, T-shirts, and hoodies) - this is a business conversation, not a friendly chat.

Remember the rules of behavior at the table

Everything that restaurant etiquette requires becomes doubly important during a business dinner. Don't pick your teeth at the table, don't blow your nose on your napkin, chew with your mouth closed, and never talk until you've chewed your food.

Drink in moderation

You don't have to abstain from alcohol entirely, but it's advisable to consume it in moderation. Take your time, sipping slowly, and be sure to hydrate by drinking a glass of water after each glass or shot.

Always offer to serve others

If you want to pour some water into your glass or put some food on a plate, always offer it to others first. Respond to requests to pass the salt or help move something around. This will also be a significant plus to the first impression of you.

Take your time

Hurrying will look bad in any case - no matter what you do. Therefore, if you are not the host of the event, do not sit at the table first and do not order food before the host. If the dinner is led by a maitre d' or chef, move on to the next dish only after his or her signal. And don't rush to eat, even if you're really hungry. Take up the utensils at the same time as everyone else.

Don't experiment with dishes

A business dinner is not the time for culinary discovery, so choose something familiar and understandable to you. The food should not distract you from discussing business topics. Also, don't ask for leftovers to be packed for you, even if you haven't finished - you don't want to come across as someone who came to dinner just for the free food.

Offer to pay for yourself

Usually, the person who invited you to a business dinner pays for it - this is the golden rule. But it's polite to offer to split the check or give a tip. If you receive a refusal, don't insist. You have already made your move in this game of mutual politeness.

Earlier, OBOZREVATEL talked about the rules of etiquette related to alcohol, which will be appropriate during a business dinner.

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