Tag Archive for: table manners

dining etiquette

Dining Etiquette Wisdom From Student Leaders

In five minutes, this ballroom at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson is going to be buzzing with 140+ students from high schools throughout Mississippi. 


ECM (Electric Cooperatives of Mississippi) sponsors and welcomes these student leaders for three days each spring, and the participants get to tour the state capitol, meet with political leaders, enjoy team-building activities, and even get to hear from Mississippi’s governor.


They also enjoy a fabulous lunch at the Old Capitol Inn, and I was invited to share dining etiquette with them so they would know the difference between their salad fork and dessert fork and know which iced tea glass was theirs—and not accidentally drink from their neighbor’s. (Many of us adults need the same refresher.)


When we finished, I asked them to share something new they learned during our time together and invited several student leaders to stand and share. I’m always fascinated to know what stands out to the audience, so here are some of the nuggets of dining etiquette wisdom the students reported back to the group:


  • You make a ghost with your napkin and place it to the left of your plate when you are finished
  • You wait until your host lifts their fork before you begin eating
  • You hide your sweetener wrapper under your bread-and-butter plate or salad plate so people don’t have to look at your trash on the table
  • You make a shield with your hands when you squeeze a lemon wedge into your drink so you don’t accidentally squirt someone near you
  • You butter your plate, not your bread
  • You place your napkin on the back of your chair to indicate you are coming back and haven’t finished your meal yet


These were some of the students’ nuggets of wisdom they learned. What about you? What is a table manner or piece of dining etiquette advice you wish other people knew? What’s a nugget of wisdom you can share?


To customize a keynote or professional development session that will have your audience laughing and learning, contact Mandi Stanley.

Certified Speaking Professional Mandi Stanley works with business leaders who want to boost their professional image by becoming better speakers and writers through interactive high-content keynotes, breakout sessions, workshops, technical writing seminars, and fun proofreading classes. 

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