October 01, 2000
Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts October 2000 Current Issue
October 2000
Short Cuts:
Mind your manners

During cocktail hour, have you ever wondered how to gracefully dispose of a pesky olive pit? Simple: Break eye contact with the person with whom you are conversing, and discreetly slide the pit out the side of your mouth and into a cocktail napkin held close to the lips.

Speaking of napkins, if you need to leave the table during a restaurant meal, leave it neatly on your seat, which signals to the waiter your impending return. And when it comes to table settings, what’s the rule for utensil placement? “Those with five letters knife, spoon, glass go on the right. The fork, which is the only utensil with four letters, goes on the left,” says etiquette guru Ann Chadwell Humphries, owner of Columbia, S.C.-based Eticon (www.eticon.com), who walks clients through a complete dining experience. “People call in a panic and say, ‘You have to help me. I know how to close a multimillion-dollar deal, but I don’t know which fork to use.’”

Likewise, last July the Columbia, Md.-based National Association of Catering Executives turned to Ann Marie Sabath, founder of Cincinnati-based At Ease Inc. (www.ateaseinc.com), to refresh its members on the dos and don’ts of a typical business lunch during the group’s Miami conference. “People are focused on etiquette today because there are so few guidelines,” says Sabbath.


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