Dining Etiquettes: Manners Maketh Man

Summary: Learn about dining etiquettes from this article so that you can dine confidently with your business partners.


Image: About.com

Table manners or dining etiquettes are the rules of etiquette used while eating which may also include the appropriate use of utensils.

If you assume proper etiquette is for the nobles, we beg to differ.  Knowing proper dinner etiquettes and social graces are keys to today’s business and social arena.  Using proper etiquette at the table will help you socially and professionally.

Increasingly, business is conducted over dining table in dining rooms, homes, clubs, and restaurants.  Thus, it is important that you feel confident in all dining events as a business professional to develop strong client relationships, and make a positive and lasting impression.

In this article, we’ll guide you through with the European dinner etiquette that is common throughout dining restaurants, locally and universally.

Cutlery settings

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Cutleries are placed in the order of use which is from the outside in. Cutleries that are placed on the table indicate what meals you’ll have. For instance, if there’s no soup, there won’t be any soup spoon displayed on your table.

Forks go to the left of the plate. The fork that’s on the far left, away from the plate, is for salad. The fork right next to the plate is meant for the main course. 

As for the dinner knife, it is placed on the right side, and directly next to the plate. The blade should always face the plate.

The soup spoon is on the far right of the outside knife.

The dessert spoon is located on the table above the dinner plate in a horizontal position, handle facing right.

The dessert fork is laid beneath the dessert spoon with the handle facing left.

Handling cutlery

Image: Elegant Woman

A knife should be held firmly in your right hand, with the handle tucked into your palm, your thumb down one side of the handle and your index finger along the top. But remember, never touch the top of the blade with your index finger. And never, never hold it like a pencil!

And do not put knife into your mouth no matter what!

Image: Elegant Woman

When used with a knife or spoon, the fork should be held in the left hand, in much the same way as the knife, with the prongs facing downwards.

Image: Bellevile-News Democrat

When on its own, it is held in the right hand. This time, the prongs face upwards. You rest the fork on your fingers and secured with your thumb and index finger.

Image: Elegant Woman

A spoon is held in the right hand, resting on the fingers and secured with the thumb and index finger. You are also supposed to sip from the spoon instead of putting the entire soup spoon into your mouth.

Last tip! Never express yourself and gesture with your cutlery. Don’t scrape or clatter it loudly against your plate (or your teeth!) too.