Just the other day, I sat down at a table near my gate at an average airport in an average American city. Having arrived on the early side, I had a spare hour to kill before boarding began. It was well before lunchtime and the airport was quiet, well, until after I sat down. Shortly after my salad arrived, a man came and sat at the table next to mine. His food arrived especially fast, and I soon learned the speed at which a grown man could inhale soup, a salad, and an enormous steak. It was nothing like I had seen nor heard, from slurping to smacking every bite, to asking the waitress for mustard with his mouth wide open, to taking a very loud phone call at the table. Needless to say, I was shocked.
Had he no manners? Had no one ever encouraged him to eat slowly and with less verbal gusto? Had no one told him experts estimate that 80% – 90% of all communication comes from body language, or nonverbal cues.
Fortunately, most of us don’t have to sit down to supper with a 22-piece place setting, like a character in Designing Women fretted about (see this classic link via YouTube, from about 6:30 – 7:45). The character, Charlene, had helped her mother polish her wedding silverware as a child, though never remembered having a special occasion to actually use the scary silver contained in its special velvet box. This story and what it points to isn’t all that uncommon.
Teaching kids proper manners is essential, and for many families, the most effective place to do that is at the dining table. When you sit down, it’s important to introduce yourself and others, and shake hands with confidence and a smile. If you’re the host, you should be savvy and take a hospitable tone with your guests; if you’re a guest, you should strive to be elegant and gracious. Proper table manners can give you strong influence among your friends, family, and peer group – regardless of age.
If you’re unsure of where to start, reach out to an image/etiquette consultant today. Image consultants, in addition to helping you find the best colors and fabrics, can also help you walk with confidence and seal the best business deals. But no matter what you wear, the deal won’t get sealed if you can’t hold a knife correctly at the dining table.
Shanna Wu Pecoraro
For more information please visit www.nycimageconsultantacademy.com