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How to Be a Great Host at Business Dinners
Posted By: 
Friday, July 27, 2018

When you host a business dinner, your employees will look to you as the model of responsibility and behavior for the evening. When you follow proper etiquette, it will show you value your employees, your clients and your co-workers. The consequences of not utilizing good etiquette may portray an unprofessional and possibly even untrustworthy demeanor to all the other attendees.

Rather than neglect this critical component, following the proper dinner etiquette is not at all difficult and with taking care of only a few important details, you will be successful at every event you host.

Order "Clean" Food

It is important that you order “clean” food. What does that mean? In this case, it means when you are ordering items for your menu, you should look for the ones which are easiest to eat and do not create too much of a mess while your guests are enjoying them. Fish or chicken are very popular dishes and are definitely something that you might want to consider for your guests. Select only a chicken breast or a fish filet rather than a whole fish or chicken options with bones. Another thing to consider are pasta dishes. While extremely popular, certain choices might not be as good because of the need to “twirl” certain types which might cause the pasta to splatter sauce or lead to overly large bites. For more casual settings, hamburgers or sandwiches could be nice but in general try to avoid items that are supposed to be eaten with your hands. Also, try avoiding foods with small seeds or ingredients that get stuck in the teeth easily. By taking into consideration what your guests will be eating, you could either help or distract from the goal of the meeting.

Be an Inclusive Host

A great way to show your excellent hosting skills is to acknowledge all of your guests. Greet them as they arrive and shake hands with them, making eye contact and thanking them for attending. Be sure to introduce them to any of the guests in attendance if they are new to the meeting rather than leaving them to fend for themselves. Once all the guests have arrived, you can begin your presentation, but attempt to avoid talking about topics that may alienate or exclude any of the guests.

As the host, you should not neglect any of your guests and try to not monopolize the conversation or stick to conversations with only one or two guests. Start a general topic of conversation that all your guests can talk about, relate to or voice an opinion about. You should also encourage them to take active part in the conversation while keeping your part of the conversation to a minimum. Be a moderator more than the star of the show.

When it comes to the meal, as the host, your guests will follow you and your pace for eating. Therefore, eat at a reasonable speed, stopping occasionally to converse or suggest a topic for others to discuss while the last diners are finishing their meals. No one wants to feel they’re holding up the evening so it’s important to moderate the speed of the meal so as to make everyone feel included.

Do Not Use Cell Phones

To display proper etiquette for your guests, avoid using your mobile devices during the meeting. You would definitely be annoyed if your boss kept answering his or her phone while at the table so please acknowledge that your guests will find your use of a mobile device to be just as distracting. Using your devices mid-conversation will make your guests feel abandoned and most likely a little uncomfortable. There might even be an added level of frustration if they feel they’re being ignored by the host. When hosting a dinner meeting, you might want to switch off or mute your devices for the duration of the event. Most of the notifications can wait until later and unless the call is directly related to the meeting in process, ignore it. This will show the attendees that you care about them and are dedicating your time towards them when you are with them.

Utensils & Serving Staff

How much you respect your server, the guests or the chef is reflected by the way you eat. Showing the right etiquette at the table also tells a lot about you. Using the right utensils is an integral part of the evening and knowing what utensils are suited for what purpose is important. Your guests will follow your example, not only with the utensils but also in the way they treat the wait staff. If you show respect to your serving team, your guests will follow suit and most likely contribute your behavior to this service group as an indicator to your overall personality. If you are rude or disrespectful to the people serving your meal, your guests will probably assume that you would treat them or other clients in a similar way. As the host, your behavior at all times should be exemplary and a true model of who you are as a person in business and in general.

Overall, when hosting a business dinner, your composure and behavior will be the biggest indicators as to how successful your evening will be. With the right etiquette skills and the right support staff, your evening will be a smash hit. If you’re looking to make the perfect impression, start with the basics: the meal. You will need a good caterer to make everything the best it can be, so contact Raffel’s Catering to take care of everything you need!



 
 
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