Three key skills for your next business lunch or dinner

Important meetings don’t always happen in offices and boardrooms. Sometimes the most pivotal gatherings happen right around the lunch or dinner table.

During the annual Career Services Formal Dinner, students practiced dining etiquette in a formal setting all while connecting with professionals from the campus and the High Country community. Students learned about the do’s and don’ts of etiquette in an effort to make them more comfortable, and therefore more likely to conquer their next business lunch or dinner.

However, it isn’t entirely about which spoon or fork to use and the proper method. Business formal etiquette is mostly about how you present yourself and the engaging conversation you’ll hopefully lead.

Here are the three biggest takeaways that students learned during the annual Formal Dinner:

Make Meaningful Conversation

The professionals that you share a meal with will remember the conversation you have over anything else. Do your research on the people that will be at the table before the dinner so that you can engage in meaningful conversation about their work. Asking them about an initiative that their organization is supporting or about their work experience will show that you are genuinely interested in learning more about them and what they do.

Actively Listen

You don’t have to do all of the talking to make a good impression! Listening and asking questions shows others that you are engaged and eager to learn. Tucking away your phone for the entirety of the meal will allow you to actively listen without distraction. Reviewing the menu online ahead of time will reduce time spent deciding what to order and will allow for more time to chat.

Become Comfortable and Be Yourself!

Once you know which fork to use and which way to pass the bread basket, you are able to focus on the most important piece of dining with professionals—being yourself! It is crucial that any discomfort around formal dining be addressed so that you are able to build genuine connections with the people around the table.

The Formal Dinner is the perfect opportunity for business professionals, alumni, and community partners to build connections with our students and share opportunities for internships. If you are interested in getting involved with future events or promoting internships within our community, please reach out to Career Services.

By Laura PellNovember 20, 2019
AcademicsCommunityCampus Life