As you travel from one country to another, cultural differences will get more pronounced, especially the dining etiquette. So when you sit down with your business associates, know what is expected of you at the lunch / dinner table:
1) It is good etiquette to remain standing till shown where to sit in Germany.
2) Also, wait till the host signals you to start eating.
3) In most European countries, fork is always on the left and knife on the right.
4) Do not rest your elbows on the table and finish everything on your plate.
5) Unlike in other countries, eat with the fork in the right hand when in USA. When you need to make use of the knife, switch the fork to the left hand. And switch back to continue eating.
6) However, the Americans are easy going and won’t be offended if you eat with the fork in the left hand. Many dishes are often by hand, so you just might feel at home.
7) In the Middle East, guests are honored with prime choice of meats – head, eyes etc.
8) However, here you should eat food only with your right hand and it is okay to create a mess. Don’t forget to compliment the host on his hospitality
9) An honored guest in Japan sits furthest away from the entrance, mostly at the center of the table. Kneeling is the format way of dining
10) Never point chopstick when in Japan or China. If you need a break, rest them on the plate.
11) Don’t ever price food with the chopsticks. Try a bit of everything and keep your conversation to the minimum while eating.
No matter which country you’ll be dining in, the following etiquette rules will only score you good points:
1) Dress for the occasion. If you are wearing a coat, ask where you can put,
2) If at a cocktail party, limit your intake. It is okay to order a non-alcoholic drink.
3) When seated, place the napkin on your lap. If it is too big, fold that to half.
4) If ordering from on a la carte, refrain from ordering an expensive dish. Avoid making too many changes to a recipe and stay away from food that will create a mess.
5) Wait for the host to offer you a wine. Follow the wine tasting ritual and show your appreciation.
6) If you are unsure about the cutlery use, wait for the host to start eating and follow him / her.
7) Don’t use your fingers to gather veggies or runaway peas on you plate. Use your knife or a piece of bread instead.
Sales promotion Parties and other Events:
Although you may be enticed to get into the ‘party mode’, it is important to keep reminding yourself that you are there for a purpose. What you talk about how much and how you eat/drink and ‘how much’ a lot of difference.
Not being able to present a business card when needed is perhaps the worst scenario for any professional. Apart from your contact details, your business card should have your complete name and designation. Most people assume that it’s only necessary to share business cards. However, the manner in which it is done is also of prime importance. Maintain eye contact and request the person to accept your card. It’s ideal to present the card with both hands; if not, use your right hand. Carry ample numbers so that you do not fall short of them. Similarly when someone gives you their card have the courtesy to go through it and thank them.
There is no denying the fact that everyone has bad habits. But try to not let them out when you are in a business set up. Be careful and extra conscious interpersonal skills also play a key role in you ability to network and grow. If you are approachable you are on the right path.
Business etiquette can make or break your image as a professional. So it is important to carry yourself well and present yourself as a trustworthy person, who would mean business and profits. As they say, the best is for the end: having said all that we have, the most important thing is ‘confidence’. If you are confident, half the battle is won.