Since many of us don’t attend elegant banquets frequently, the thought of behaving properly in such a situation can be intimidating. However, with a bit of planning, you can become thoroughly prepared to meet the expectations of any formal banquet in Los Angeles. If you are preparing to attend a sophisticated affair, remember the following tips to avoid making a faux pas.
Your Physical Presentation
Although you may primarily be focused on deciding what to wear to a formal event, it is also important to consider how you will handle yourself once you arrive at the banquet. For instance, remember the following rules:
- Elbows off the table during dinner. During the meal, it is absolutely true that your elbows should stay off the table, but once your plate has been cleared, it is permissible to rest them there.
- Resist the urge to fidget. Even if you have to wait a while for the food to come, control the urge to drum your fingers on the table or to jiggle your knee.
- Be mindful of your posture. Don’t worry about staying ramrod straight for the whole evening, but avoid slouching or leaning back in your chair.
Time to Eat!
Once the meal is served, the following rules will help you politely enjoy your dinner:
- Cut your food slowly. Cut off only one or two bites of food at a time – unless you are helping a child.
- Have a plan for dealing with unfamiliar food. If you encounter a dish that you don’t recognize, there are two options. You can either observe how other guests eat the dish or you can ask the waiter how it should be eaten.
- Avoid using your fingers. Although some dishes should be eaten with your fingers, most should be consumed using utensils. Use a knife to control difficult food rather than using your hands.
Interacting With Other Guests
Even if you are a social butterfly, it’s smart to have a strategic plan for dealing with other guests.
- Use your manners. Being polite may seem like an obvious requirement at a formal engagement, but some practices are often neglected. Say “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me,” for instance, and cough or sneeze into a napkin.
- Introduce people to one another. If you realize that someone at the table doesn’t know anyone, take the time to introduce him or her to your acquaintances. This will make the evening more pleasant and comfortable for everyone.
- Engage in small talk. In most circumstances, you should keep up the conversation without turning to polarizing topics, such as religion or politics. If small talk is a challenge for you, think about a few topics that could be pulled out if the conversation lags.
- Don’t use your phone. Your focus should be on the people you are dining with – not those that can be reached through your phone. Leave your phone off and enjoy the company of the people in your presence.
By following these guidelines, you will avoid many common mistakes guests sometimes make at banquets. Even if you’re worried about maintaining proper manners, don’t forget to relax and have fun!