A Human Approach

Jae Rang Headshot

The Napkin Question

Aha! Moment Monday

So, you’re anticipating a wonderful lunch with a client.

You arrive a little late because of traffic – apologize –  then begin to make yourself comfortable; unload your gear – phone, wallet, sunglasses – onto the table, order something to drink, peruse the menu and exchange some initial pleasantries.
All good, right?

Not so fast.
That routine has become rather acceptable practice and is likely okay with your buddies, but it’s a series of faux pas according to the book of Etiquette when it comes to business meals.

Lunch continues and you have to excuse yourself to take an urgent phone call (yes, you always leave the table to talk on the phone) and put your napkin on the table beside your plate.
You return two minutes later to find your server has taken your plate … but you weren’t finished!
“How dare they!”, you say?
They weren’t wrong.

Aha! ~ Know the rules

When we all buy into a common platform – whether it’s Etiquette for businesses lunches, company polices, daycare policies or family dynamics –  we leave so much less to misunderstanding.

As for mealtime etiquette, “There’s a reason people conduct business over a meal: It’s a strategic way to get to know someone.” Writes Lindsay Kolowich in a post entitled, “Business Etiquette 101”.
Sneaky, eh?
Not really
“How you behave before, during, and after the meal tells your host a lot about your character, your professionalism, and your social awareness.”

Etiquette is the, “…grease that makes the wheels of human congress turn smoothly.”  It’s a practice that makes it easiest for us to navigate ourselves in social circumstances and keeps us all on the same page.

Granted the rules of Etiquette change with every generation and culture – just like school rules, family rules and corporate policies –  but if you think that you won’t reveal a little bit about yourself by not being familiar, think again.

So, back to lunch:  it’s polite to arrive ahead of your client, respectful to allow them to be seated and choose their menu item first, and never okay to put anything on the table.

Bon appetit!


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