March 3, 2021 | Rachel Wagner If you enjoyed this, please share:Business meals are nearly non-existent in our current Pandemic. Many business professionals aren’t attending the usual chamber of commerce lunches and hosting clients for business dinners. But, good table manners and dining etiquette skills are still relevant in a Pandemic. Here are 3 reasons to keep your business dining etiquette skills polished during this unprecedented time: Because business entertaining at restaurants will return. Everything from business lunches, company-sponsored tables at fund-raising dinners, and award galas will make a comeback of some sort. You don’t want your dining skills to get rusty in the interim. Many professionals still work from home. That means it’s easy to become lax with table manners and dining etiquette. So, when possible, keep your skills up. For example, set the table properly at home. Use proper napkin etiquette. And, eat the crackers along with your soup rather than crumbling them into the bowl. (Click to read Rachel’s soup etiquette tips.) Because good dining etiquette reflects on your brand, reputation, and image. When you return to restaurant meals with business associates, how you handle yourself at the table not only reflects on you but on your company or organization. That’s why, if you’re hosting the lunch, you want to remember all of your host responsibilities. This helps your guest(s) feel comfortable and at ease. For example, you are the first to place your napkin in your lap and the first to take a bite of your food. And as a good host, you want to give menu suggestions, so your guest knows the acceptable price range in which to order. And, you want to know how and when to make small talk and when to segue into “business talk.” (Tip: after you order, and the server has removed your menus). Because good dining etiquette during a virtual meeting also gives an impression of you. Many professionals now find themselves eating lunch during a virtual meeting, especially if the meeting was normally held over lunchtime, such as a Rotary meeting. And, more than ever, other attendees notice your “table manners” on your video screen. First, to remain engaged, keep your video on if you need to eat during a virtual meeting. If it’s not a meeting when others are eating, it’s courteous to write in Chat that “Because of my schedule today, it’s necessary for me to eat lunch during our meeting.” Then, make sure your dining etiquette is exemplary and try to maintain eye contact as much as possible to show you’re engaged in the meeting. Dining etiquette skills are still relevant in a pandemic. So, until we are enjoying business meals again at restaurants, I hope you will consider these 3 reasons to keep your dining skills polished; you want to be able to present your best self when enjoying business meals again post-COVID. And on a personal note… During this unprecedented time, I personally miss attending business meals and I miss providing live dining etiquette training sessions for my clients. However, it has been fun to still provide LIVE virtual dining etiquette sessions for some of my business clients. If you would like more information on these LIVE business dining etiquette sessions, I am more than happy for you to email me at Rachel@EtiquetteTrainer.com or call my office, 918.970.4400. You may also like a related article to help you polish your business dining skills: Business Dining Etiquette Tips for Professional Success. Photo source: Rachel Wagner. All rights reserved. Rachel Wagner is a licensed business etiquette consultant, trainer, and speaker. She is the owner of the Oklahoma-based business etiquette firm Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol. www.EtiquetteTrainer.com. Rachel provides onsite and LIVE virtual training presentations on a variety of business and dining etiquette topics for corporate clients around the country. As an etiquette expert, she is interviewed and quoted in a variety of local and national media outlets. These include The Washington Post, MONEY, Forbes, and many more. She is also newly credentialed as a VEP, a Virtual Event Professional, and Zoom Producer.