Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.
– Clarence Thomas
As I entered the reception, the food and wine looked amazing and as a starving student I was hungry. With my plate full of fine Wisconsin Cheese in my left hand and a cold Sauvignon Blanc in my right, a look of panic crossed my face when an alum from my dream company approached with an outstretched hand. My marketing and operations classes weren’t going to help me handle this situation. Thankfully, Susan Richardson, Etiquette Consultant with Etiquette Essentials LLC, was there to help with an essential part of an MBA education that is not taught in the classroom – refining professional presence. On February 5, Susan walked 26 of us MBA students through an etiquette lunch to review proper dining etiquette techniques and help set us up for first impression success. Susan travels around the country providing these training sessions to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, professional organizations and Universities. We went through each course of the meal to discuss not only the dos and don’ts of etiquette but also to get answers to our burning questions like, “What do I do if I take a bite of something that tastes awful?” or “What if I served something I am allergic to?”
Many thanks to Susan for an engaging demonstration and discussion of etiquette and for helping all of those who participated to avoid future reception conundrums (Professional tip: Place your wine glass and your small plate in your left hand, freeing your right hand to shake hands.)