In the Walt Disney film “Beauty and the Beast,” Lumière, the magical talking candle stick, has his tapers full while trying to manage the Beast’s bad manners. From wearing tattered robes to gobbling porridge straight out of a bowl, Beast is not the most eloquent. His lack of decorum very often frightens his soon-to-be wife, Belle, and does not go a long way to impress her. The inability to present himself in a dignified manner is due to Beast’s failure to utilize proper etiquette.
The purpose of Wilson’s etiquette dinner “Mind Your Manners: Learn to Dine Like a Diplomat” hosted by Angela Lynch is “to teach students a broad understanding of dining etiquette,” states Linda Boeckman, Director of Career Development. “In general, it will create a level of comfort for students in the dining world outside of the dining hall.” With an emphasis on American table manners, students will learn which utensils to use first, napkin placement, and other proper etiquette techniques to be used in formal settings.
Wilson expects many of its graduates to be involved in formal business dinners or affairs that require the use of proper etiquette and Boeckman says, “Proper etiquette carries a lot of weight in making a great impression.”
In the world of business and professionalism, impressions go a long way. Often times, the first impression is the only chance to show people, employers, and business partners how professional one is. Since many interviews or business deals happen over meals, manners are a good way to show such professionalism.
While specific spoons and forks may seem unnecessary due to the fact that people use only one fork, knife, and spoon during informal meals, the lack of proper manners could be detrimental. Potential employers see a lack of etiquette as a sign of incompetence and ignorance which could result in a lost job opportunity or business deal. “It’s like using proper grammar[…] When you use improper grammar it reduces people’s opinion of how educated you are[…] It could cost you if you don’t treat the dining experience professionally and with respect,” comments Boeckman.
In other words, do not be a beast. Knowing proper table etiquette is just as important as presenting an up-to-date résumé and dressing to impress. It shows employers that you have taken the time to understand what is and is not proper behavior which, in turn, could put you above the competition. For Beast, it was the deciding factor of whether or not he would become human.
If you would like to participate in the etiquette dinner on April 20 at 6 p.m., RSVP to Linda Boeckman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate whether you would prefer a vegetarian or non-vegetarian dinner option.