Published: Dec. 5, 2017 By

We had the opportunity to spend Tuesday evening with Marie Hornback, owner of H.M.S. Protocol & Etiquette Training. Marie offered information, tips, and tricks teaching us basics of etiquette when dining formally in the context of a business dinner and attending a cocktail hour. Information ranged from how to take your seat (there is a right way to do that?!), which utensil to use when, and even how to eat bread. I was surprised at how much I learned from this (what do you mean I’ve been holding my fork wrong for 30 years?) and I was curious what my classmates thought. Here are some key takeaways from the 2018 and 2019 cohorts:

MBA Blog Leeds School of Business“You should always sit down and get up from the right side of the chair.”

“Never put used silverware back on the table.  Always prop it up on an unused item, place on a napkin, or leave it on your plate.”

“Offer to the left, pass to the right, but use your common sense.”

“Never use a butter spreader (aka butter knife) to cut a roll.  You should break off bite size pieces and then spread the butter with the spreader on each individual piece.”

“You should spoon your soup away from you.”

“Never blow on your soup or slurp it.”

“When you have multiple utensils always work from the outside in.” 

“Look into your glass as you drink or else it is pretty creepy looking.”

“I didn’t know you offer (bread/water) to the person on the left and then pass to the right.  That’s useful!”

“Never separate salt and pepper!”

“I’m an animal that should never have been let out in public”

 “When you enter a networking/cocktail hour event, you should make an entrance; stand to the side of the door and scan the room for friendly faces, allowing yourself to be seen as well.  This way you come across as more confident as well as narrow in on who you want to connect with.”

“At a networking event you should never approach a pair of people already talking, always look for solos or groups of three or more.”

 “It was useful to learn we should always have our right hand free during cocktail hours which means either choosing food or drink, but not both at the same time. Also, we should eat quickly on our own if we need to and then return to connecting with people.”