Make it COLOURFUL is proud to partner with Bernice Lee, Hong Kong’s Trusted Etiquette Expert, to offer two (or more) formal Western Table Manners Workshops for ages 8-13 and 14-18. The sessions will be held over a three-course meal and will address age-appropriate lessons about dining skills and table manners.
“What are you doing with the pepper shaker?”
My right hand froze in mid-air. I looked up at my new friend, who was sitting across from me at a wooden dining table that was heavily scratched from generations of Yale students. We were eating dinner together. It was the first semester of our freshman year.
“What do you mean?” I asked, confused. “I mean,” he said as he picked up the salt cellar, “you’re supposed to shake it like THIS.” He delicately balanced it between his thumb, index and middle fingers, then gently tilted it back and forth. “Not this.” He shook his forearm wildly around, mimicking my attempt.
“Really?” I said, feeling embarrassed. This was the first time anyone had criticized how I shook pepper onto my food. Could it really be such a big deal?
Yes, my friends, table manners can be a big deal and have a real impact in your life. Here are three reasons to make learning proper manners a priority:
One day you’ll go on a date with someone you like and want to impress. Do you want to turn him or her off with your table manners? You’d be surprised by how often a second date doesn’t happen because someone was disgusted by their date’s eating habits. When you practice good table manners, you show that you’re respectful and courteous, which is attractive!
Employers who hire people for jobs in sales, consulting and general managers want to feel confident that they can bring you to client meetings. As part of the selection process, some firms invite finalists to eat lunch with managers to assess how well you handle yourself during a meal, including your dining skills, ability to make small talk, level of comfort when interacting with junior and senior staff, and your overall charm.
As an etiquette coach, I often hear parents and teachers bemoan the state of young people’s manners today. Underlying the complaints, they’re likely worried you’re unprepared for, or unfairly judged, in a highly competitive world. Show them you’re mature and ready for life after graduation by using proper table manners. Then watch their jaws drop. If you’re serious about putting your best foot forward, think about how you can improve your table manners. It may seem trivial but it’s worthwhile to practice them now so that they become habit because it’s no fun to worry about your knife and fork when you’re in a high-stress, high-stakes situation. I guarantee that when you’re poised and confident, you can focus on the important task of enjoying a meal and letting your best shine through.
So please share with me… What embarrassing or triumphant story about table manners can you share? Why do think dining etiquette is important – or not?
Bernice Lee is an Etiquette Expert and Career Skills Coach based in Hong Kong. She consults and trains people of all ages in Asia. Sign up for her free newsletter at http://www.eli-asia.com.
8-13 years old (minimum of 8 students)
4-18 years old (minimum of 6 students)
Cost including a 3-course meal: HK$750 for 8-13 years old and HK$780 for 14-18 years old.
Duration: 2-2.5 hours. Venue: Discovery Bay TBD.
Please contact me at 9680 8316 or send me an email at email@example.com to register your child (children) ASAP.
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