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So much business is conducted over meals today that the successful professional dares not venture out without knowing good table manners. Whether the purpose of the meal is to win over a customer, enhance a client relationship, impress a potential employer or acquire a promotion, you need to feel confident and at ease in any dining situation.

This includes everything from knowing which meal is appropriate for the business you have to conduct to understanding your role as either host or guest and being competent with the foods and utensils that you encounter. You can't concentrate on the business at a hand if you are worried about which fork to use, how to eat the pasta or what to do with that olive pit in your mouth. If you think that table manners don't matter, then just trying talking with food in your mouth.

This course covers every detail you need to know in order to dine like a professional. It begins with a discussion of how to prepare for the event whether you are the host for the meal or the guest in attendance. The duties of the host begin with selecting the date, time and place to confirming and then reconfirming with the guests.

The host never has a minute to rest because he is in charge throughout the meal. He signals when the meal begins and when it ends. The host is on guard the entire time making sure that the needs and expectations of his guests are met. The guest, on the other hand, has fewer duties except to mind his manners. He must understand how to follow the host's lead and respond with grace and confidence.

After a segment which covers being seated at the table and removing the napkin,  the course moves on to a discussion of the place setting and napkin etiquette. It's not simply a matter of whipping the napkin off the table and tucking it into the top of your shirt. Nor does it go back on the table whenever you choose. There are rules at every step of the way. And there are reasons for each Ryle. Each will be explained.

This dining course covers each of the four courses included in an informal meal. Those would be the appetizer or soup course, the salad, the entrée and the dessert. Each one is discussed in detail from how to spoon the soup, when and when not to cut your salad, how to hold the utensils and why there is a dessert fork and a dessert spoon at each place. Nothing is left to chance including the correct way to eat bread and which direction to pass food around the table.

The two styles of managing your utensils-Continental and American-are demonstrated and discussed as well as the proper position in which to place the utensils when you are resting between bites and when you are finished eating. No course on table manners would be complete without a word about ordering wine and how to handle tipping the wait staff.

At the end of the session there is time to talk about the unanswered questions you may have about unpredictable occurrences during a "real world" meal.

Why you should Attend

You have just been invited by your boss to have dinner with him and his best client. Are you excited about having a gourmet meal at an upscale restaurant or you terrified because you aren't sure what to order, which fork to use or how to navigate the place setting? Do you know when to take your napkin off the table, when to start eating, how to excuse yourself from the table during the meal, what to do if you have something in your mouth that you can't chew, what to say if you are allergic to certain foods or which bread and butter plate is yours?

Do you worry that you won't know the correct way to eat when you are invited to a job interview that is conducted over a meal? How will you conduct yourself when the boss invites you over to his house for dinner? Are you confident when you have to take a prospective client out to dine?

Do you know the difference between fine dining and casual dining? Are you aware that it matters how you eat French fries when they are served with steak and when they come with a hamburger? Do you worry that you will be served something like escargots that you have never eaten before? What should you do if there is something on your plate that you simply don't like? How about when you finish your meal-is it polite to push your plate away from you? Should you stack your plates at the end of the meal?

If any of these questions give you pause, then you clearly need this course on table manners. As with all etiquette and manners, what you don't know can hurt you. Poor table manners can come between you and the job you are interviewing for, the promotion you were hoping to get or the raise you have been counting on. Why leave all that to chance when there is a course on dining for profit that can guide you through the do's and don'ts of table manners?

After all, good manners are noticed most by their absence. If you don't believe that, try talking with food in your mouth.

Areas Covered in the Session

  • The Role of the Host
  • The Role of the Guest
  • Beginning the Meal
  • Managing the Napkin
  • Navigating the Place Setting
  • Eating Soup
  • Buttering the Bread
  • Passing Foods at the Table
  • Holding the Utensils
  • Understanding Continental and American Styles of Eating
  • The Resting and Finished Positions
  • Ordering and Drinking Wine

Who Will Benefit

  • People at all levels of business who dine with others
  • This includes job seekers, new hires, managers, sales people, CEO's

Speaker Profile

Lydia Ramsey is an international business etiquette expert. She is the president and founder of Manners That Sell, a firm based in Savannah, Georgia, offering seminars, keynote speeches and executive coaching to corporations, associations, colleges and universities as well as individuals. She began her career as an etiquette consultant over three decades ago.

In 1997 Ramsey founded Manners That Sell to pursue her passion for business etiquette. While the majority of her work is spent in group training and onsite workshops, she is often asked either by the individuals who attend her sessions or the executives who hire her to follow up with one on one coaching. She assures all her clients that she comes with a life-time guarantee so that at any point in time, they can call on her to help them personally with their business etiquette issues.

Ramsey is the author of several books including MANNERS THAT SELL – ADDING THE POLISH THAT BUILDS PROFITS (Pelican Publishing 2008) and LYDIA RAMSEY’S LITTLE BOOK OF TABLE MANNERS (Longfellow Press 2008). She has produced four training videos, including “Dining for Profit” which was featured in the Wall Street Journal as one of the top four training videos on business dining. She is the business etiquette columnist for The Savannah Morning News and a contributor to business journals and trade publications in print and online. She has written scripts for Voice of America China Department on business etiquette to be broadcast to China, Thailand and other Far Eastern countries.

Ramsey is certified by The Protocol School of Washington and At Ease Etiquette Consultants. She has traveled extensively throughout the US and as far abroad as India and Dubai to offer her programs on business etiquette and professional courtesy.

Ramsey is a popular media figure and regularly called to be interviewed or featured on national television and radio. She has appeared on FOX TV, NPR, PBS, NBC, CBS and The Travel Channel. She has been featured or quoted in newspapers and magazines including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Entrepreneur, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, Real Simple Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness and Golf Digest. Her clients belong to a host of industries including financial, healthcare, construction, sports, legal, hospitality and tourism as well as colleges and universities. Among those clients are Turner Construction International, Colas International, Gulfstream Aerospace, Georgia Ports Authority, PSS World Medical, TSYS, SunTrust Bank, Marriott, The PGA Tour, Columbia University, The American Hospital Association, The US Federal District Courts and The US Bankruptcy Court. Ramsey firmly believes that etiquette is not about rules; it’s about relationships