Singapore is a food paradise. Everywhere we turn, there’s a food place that’s within our reach. Many a times, we don’t dine alone. Instead, we dine with our friends, family members or clients. Whatever age you may be now, it’s also good to learn proper dining etiquette skills. Like it or not, people notice everything – from the way you dress to the way you talk. They also notice the way you handle your cutlery when you dine.
Good dining etiquette therefore helps to establish your reputation and boost your credibility. Think of it like another set of social skills that needs to be learnt and mastered.
From the arrangement of the cutlery and glassware to deciphering table manners to starting a good meal conversation, nothing is ever left to chance. There are rules governing each and every stage of dining etiquette. That was the message I shared with the Secondary Three students from North Vista Secondary School when I taught them dining etiquette training skills.
Arriving at Breeks City Square Mall, the students were all hyped up and ready to enjoy the three course dining experience. But first, they had to pick up a few handy tips on what to expect and what was expected of them.
Let me share the three simplest (and easiest) dining etiquette training tips with you now.
Dining Etiquette Tip No. 1: Eat Only When Everyone’s Food Has Arrived
Wait until everyone is served before starting to eat. Good manners and etiquette cannot be overemphasized. Just because your dish arrives earlier than the others seated at the same table as you does not give you the right to start eating first. Remember, when you eat together, you create meaning together.
Dining Etiquette Tip No. 2: Work Your Way From Outside In
Use your cutlery from outside in. Start with your knife or fork or spoon that is furthest away from your plate and work your way in for each course. If you follow this order, you will not be overwhelmed by the cutlery displayed and use the wrong ones.
Dining Etiquette Tip No. 3: Talk While Eating
Do not just stare at your food and eat it. Instead, use this opportunity to get to know the people around you. Engage in small talk while eating. Remember, we don’t only eat at the dining table. We also form bonds and forge relationships. If you are in the business world, you also talk business and close deals.
Most of the students struggled initially while learning to twirl their spaghetti. The trick is to twirl the spaghetti neatly into a small lump around the fork with the help of the spoon before putting it into the mouth. But with more practice, they all got it eventually. I’m so happy for them.
Dining etiquette is not only for the rich, famous or nobles. It is also for the masses. Leave a positive impression at the dining table and score extra brownie points in the hearts and minds of others.