The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Fall 2011 Ettiquette Dinner: "Shine While You Dine"

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Robert Shutt was the guest speaker at last night's etiquette dinner. The etiquette dinner focused on the suggested guidelines surrounding business and network events in a dining setting. Shutt's presentation was a hands-on approach to etiquette learning. He went beyond simply telling us the guidelines and having us abide by those rules.  The dinner was set up in such a way that as we walked in we began what was called the networking event. Here, Shutt gave those present the key to successfully navigate the period of "meet and greet" that precedes a business dinner. His pointers included where to place your nametag as well as how to hold your appetizer and drink while speaking to other guests. One of the most helpful tips in this section was Shutt's guideline on how to approach a conversation. He gave the group tips on the optimal size group to approach during a pre-dinner networking opportunity.

Throughout the course of the meal, Shutt illustrated etiquette guidelines and the historical meaning behind many of them. He gave us the details behind napkin use and its relation to centuries old social etiquette. Norms such as table dismissal, passing of items on the table, ordering etiquette as well as the tricky use of utensils were discussed in detail. Particularly important in Shutt’s presentation was the elements of table discussion. Shutt stressed the importance of focusing on networking and conversation than the food placed in front of you. This meant not eating too fast which could signal that you have not engaged in much conversation throughout the meal. Shutt’s take away invaluable message was to “shine while you dine!”
-Rashelle James '14

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