Social And Dining Etiquette Workshop Training For Sembawang Secondary School

How many times have we heard our parents tell us to mind our table manners? Not to play with our food? And not to talk when our mouths are full?

We may have taken these evergreen rules from parent to child passed down many generations for granted…but they truly form the core of what we call dining etiquette.

Welcome to today's training on social and dining etiquette for the graduating students of Sembawang Secondary School. It's been a long journey of ten years of studies for students. As they approach graduation, each will have his or her own aspiration. While some choose to pursue further studies, others may choose to find a job for gainful employment.

Regardless of which path they take, both social etiquette and dining etiquette skills are essential for success in life.

Social etiquette is how you behave in front of others in a social setting. It ranges from your speech patterns to where you place your hands and how you stand. A good posture, smiley face and positive eye contact are key ingredients to social etiquette. Let's admit it – if you don't like the way someone stands or dresses, would you even bother to engage in small talk with him or her? Chances are you will not even bat a second eyelid.

Dining etiquette is how you behave in a dining setting. It can be a restaurant or a café. It is governed by the rules of how to order your food, how to eat your food with finesse, which silverware to use and how to engage in conversations with others seated around the same table. If you ask me, I'll say it's a tripartite relationship between food, utensils and conversation. You as the diner has to be in control of all three elements.

Together with my team of image consultants, we first impressed upon the students the importance of practising good social etiquette at home, at school and in society at all. Using various teaching aids such as role plays, videos and sharings from our own life experience; we brought the students through an interesting yet fun session in the morning.

Then as lunch time approached, we moved class by class to Northpoint Shopping Centre. No, we are not here to shop but to dine in style at Breeks Café.

Having booked the entire café for the dining etiquette portion, the students were treated to a three course meal. First up was the soup of the day – mushroom soup. If you recall, we must always spoon away from us. Yes, that's the proper way to drink your soup.

After the appetizer was the entrée, or commonly known as the main course. We have the students an option - breaded chicken or fish and chips. Judging from the response, breaded chicken proved to win the popular vote. For the entrée, the test was to use both knife and fork skillfully so as to navigate through the meat on the plate. So remember to hold the meat down with your fork in your left hand, while you cut the meat into smaller pieces using the knife on your right. When you cut, it's always in one particular direction - downwards to be precise.

And what's a hearty meal without some dessert? Bring in the brownie with the ice cream topping!

You may not realise it but in the company of good friends and interesting conversations, time flies swiftly…But for the students of Sembawang Secondary School, I'm 100% positive today's social and dining etiquette workshop will hold many memories for each and every one of them in the years to come.

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