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Etiquette FAQs

Politeness and proper decorum are not outdated issues. The following list of frequently asked questions and answers are designed to help you become more etiquette savvy. If you have an etiquette question that is not answered here, please feel free to ask Jay.

How do I know which fork to use when there are three on the table in front of me, all approximately the same size?
Always use the fork farthest from the plate first, and work your way in with each subsequent course.

At a dinner table, which glasses are mine and which are my neighbor's? At a crowded table, it is sometimes difficult to know.
Your wine and water glasses are always on the right side of the plate, above your knives. Your bread and butter plate is always to the left. One easy way to remember is to think of the acronym "BMW" or "Bread, Meal, Water."

Where do I place my name badge?
Place your name badge on the right-hand side of the shoulder area. Reason: When you extend your right hand for a handshake, the line of sight goes to the other person's right side.

Where is the guest seated during a meal?
The guest of honor sits to the host's right - even in a restaurant. The Guest of Honor should be facing out into the dining area of a restaurant. If there are two hosts and two guests, the Guest of Honor will be seated on the right of the most senior host.

How do I introduce my client to my boss?
A fellow executive or a fellow employee is introduced to the client. Clients are considered more important than anyone in your organization.

Which way should my knife blade face when resting on my plate?
The cutting edge of the blade always faces the center of the plate.

What should I carry in my right hand during a reception?
Do not carry anything in your right hand. Your right hand should be free for handshaking.

When dining in a restaurant and you accidentally drop your fork on the floor, what should you do?
Leave it on the floor and ask the server to bring you another one.

What do you do when someone takes the roll from your bread and butter plate?
Ask the server for another one and use the side of your dinner plate or simply pass on having a roll.

What do I do with my napkin if I need to leave the table for a brief time?
Push back your chair, rise from the right side and place the napkin on the seat. Then push in the chair.


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