Image Building – Social Grace For Your Personal Marketing Brand – Chapter Three

Welcome Back to our progressive series on social grace, in Chapter 3 we guide you through dining room protocol.

The entrance to the dining area or dining room

Move swiftly as possible to your designated seat and stand behind the chair in wait for fellow guests to arrive.

Why am I not seated directly next to my wife or partner?

Protocol dictates that in order to promote dialogue between guests, it is preferred that your spouse be seated opposite you as opposed to directly next to you. The reason being it promotes dialogue between strangers and curtails “closed” intimate chatter.

When can I be seated?

Once all dignitaries and senior guests have arrived and are seated.

Are there ever exemptions to this protocol?

Pregnant women if needed may sit down immediately, in certain instance a prayer or grace forms part of the proceedings before guests sit down. Protocol is simple, a nominated guest or chaplain will say grace on behalf of all gathered.

Wow, I have a full collection of cutlery in front of me.

Do not be fazed by the sparkling silver in front of you, the layout or setting is designed to be used from the outside in. The meal starts normally with the soup spoon on the extreme right of the cluster of cutlery. Consuming soup has a few minor rules that should be followed.

1. Place your spoon into soup, in an arc with a fluid motion away from your body lift the spoon toward your mouth.
2. Never sip loudly
3. If you enjoy the soup and have an absolute desire to extract all the soup from your bowl, tilt the bowl slightly away from you, never toward you.

Bread at the table

There are rules one has to observe regarding the eating and consuming of bread at the dinner table.

4. Never butter the entire bread portion as if you are applying coats of plaster to the bread, always butter only the bit you intend placing into your mouth.
5. Break off the desired bit of bread you intend buttering with your hand, before butter is applied.
6. Place the piece of buttered bread into your mouth using only your hand, never use a fork or instrument for this task.
7. Never wipe the butter knife onto the bread, plate, or napkin to remove residue butter.

Eating with my hand at the table

The foods that are consumed by hand are:

8. Olives – Asparagus – Lamb Cutlets – Fruit – Prunes and dates.
9. When using hands at the table, the use of only the left hand is preferred.
10. Never use both hands simultaneously for eating.
11. When one wishes to eject a fruit stone from the mouth, the use of a spoon for this purpose is the norm.
12. There is a modern trend toward de-boning lamb cutlets.

What is a safe and prudent policy with regard to consummation of alcohol or a beverage at the table?

During the course of a dinner or luncheon, a true gentleman or lady will never leave the table to go to the bathroom. Sip your drink carefully.

At what pace should I eat?

The host and their designated aides will determine the pace of the meal.

The guest of honor is normally a matrix for determining the speed of progression for the entire meal.

What if one does not want to partake of the wine they are serving?

When the sommelier(a highly qualified wine steward)approaches you to fill your glass, simply place your hand over the top of the glass or alternatively turn the glass over provided the glass is empty and/or unused.

In addition to the cutlery, there is a host of glasses on the table.

The glasses all have a specific purpose.

13. The small miniature wine type glass is for port
14. There are two wine glasses
a. Smaller wine glass is for white wine
b. Larger wine glass is for red wine

15. A large flat sparkling wine glass available or alternatively a champagne flute is also available.
16. There exists a possibility that a cognac glass would be on the table, the glass has a large extended bowl with a narrowing rim.
17. Certain functions will allow a water tumbler to be present on the table.


The rules and guidelines may seem prohibitive or extreme, we are a planet of social beings, in the animal kingdom the rules are enforced with castigation and in many instances, death is the price a transgressor ultimately pays. Dining with grace is an elegant and spiritual event in the life of humankind.

Please read chapter 4 for The Finale To Our Series on Social Grace…