Guest Duties at a Business Meal

10 Tips to Impress Your Host

Posted by Liz Taylor May 01, 2013

If you want to wow your host at the next business meal, follow these quick tips:

  1. Wait for your host in the lobby, not at the table. If the restaurant offers to seat you, politely decline and let them know you are waiting for the other members of your party.
  2. Guests follow directly behind the maître d’ when being escorted to the table.
  3. Look to your host for subtle signals on where to sit. Traditionally, a guest of honor sits to the right hand side of the host. Your host will want you to have the best seat which is typically with your back to the wall and a view of the entire restaurant.
  4. Don’t state displeasure or ask for a different table. Your host might have specifically requested it.
  5. Wait for your host to put his/her napkin on his/her lap first.
  6. Choose foods that are easy to eat. Stay away from salad (leaf lettuce is typically messy and it takes a long time to eat), complicated pasta dishes, sandwiches (unless you use a fork and knife) and soup (unless it’s thick or cream based).
  7. Guests order first and are served first. You don’t want to order the most or least expensive item on the menu, so casually ask your host for suggestions on what he/she enjoys to get an idea of what he/she will order.
  8. Wait for your host to signal the start of the meal. As soon as he/she picks up the fork, you should too.
  9. Keep pace with your tablemates. When someone finishes their meal, it’s time for you to wrap it up too.
  10. Never take food home with you at a business meal.

Anytime you aren’t sure what to do, watch and mirror your host.



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“How refreshing and timely. From the texting generation to the baby boomers—the art of etiquette is sadly disappearing. Whether you just need a touch-up or a full immersion, Liz, is the person to teach you the skills to appear confident, elegant and professional in any business situation. Her energetic and engaging style will make this one of the most enjoyable seminars you have ever taken! Liz is awesome!”

—Chuck Bokar, Principal, Design Resource Center

“Absolutely superb! Liz has an amazing knack for presenting her concepts in a thought-provoking and clear style. Her ideas and suggestions would enhance anyone's ability to bridge the gap between business and etiquette. She clearly has a deep understanding of not only the topic, but the thought processes that go into creating better interpersonal relationships out of socially awkward situations. I highly recommend her and her coursework...she will help your business!”

—Brad Guck, District Manager, Administaff

“Liz, Thank you so much for coming to Indianapolis to help us grow our skills as professionals and as people. Your presentation helped us address issues with grace, candor, sensitivity – as well as fun! You were fabulous!”

—Betsy Hamlett, Director of Sales for Kenra, Ltd.

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