Monday, December 15, 2014

Manners Monday – #DareToBePolite – Dining & Entertaining: Navigating the Table

At holiday time or any time, many of life’s most joyous occasions occur around the table. Family and friends gather, food is prepared or purchased, conversation is flowing and lively, and everlasting memories are made. With the tone properly set and the elements painstakingly in place, all that is remaining is how to properly navigate your way around the table and correctly bring the food into your mouth. 

Improving dining skills is the single most popular request among the bevy of manners-related topics. While some may find this a vacuous pursuit, on the contrary, the art of fine dining is meant to be upheld and mastered. After all, the way we hold our fork and knife reveals a lot about who we are, where we came from and where we aspire to go. 

Whether dining on fine china or handcrafted ceramic dishes, all items are placed on the table in neat order guiding us through the courses with ease and dictating what we will be eating and when. The goal always to seamlessly enter the contents of food into our mouths thus eliminating any possible distraction and keeping the focus on the more meaningful endeavor of building relationships and forming bonds.

Step 2/Week 3: Dining & Entertaining: Navigating the Table. This week’s challenge heightens our awareness at the table from the dining room to the board room as dining skills are essential to success both personally, as well as professionally.  Use these next seven days to pay closer attention to how you eat. Notice your napkin usage, how you enter and exit your chair, how you speak to the wait staff at the restaurant and how you set the table for a meal at home.  Observe your dining style. Do you know which side your drinks and bread plate are located?  Do you use both the fork and the knife or do you break out Mr. Finger? Did you learn the American style switching hands and bringing the food into your mouth with your right hand fork tines up? Or, were you taught to dine Continental style with the fork in the left hand tines facing down and the knife in the right?  Are you familiar with the resting and finished positions?  Do you know how to pass foods around the table? Which side to serve and which side to clear?  Do you prefer formal sit down dinners or more casual experiences? Are you open to trying new foods?  All of these questions factor equally into the dining equation. What we eat and how we eat provides valuable insight to others.  

Discover the details that go into the daily occurrence of dining. Use this week to refine your skills just in time for the Chanukah and Christmas festivities around the table. Find out where you feel most confident or where you may need a bit more polish?  Share with us what you observe in yourself and in others. Join us now! Make the vow to #daretobepolite!  

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