Kim's - Valuable Tips, Ideas, and Insights to greater Confidence and Success

Kimberley Roberts etiquette, manners, confidence, and success go hand-in-hand Welcome to my ClassyTip for this week which focuses on:

- Appearance
- Behavior
- Communication

- The Dos and Don’ts of Dining Conversation– Tip #24

A meal is an opportunity to communicate with those around you – literally! The fine art of dining conversation is an art form in communication. At more formal dinners, whether a business or social function, we dress up, polish our language skills, and learn about a new business associate or discuss the latest symphony at the Music Center. At more casual dining times we may find ourselves updating golf scores with an old friend.

Dining is more than just feeding the body, it’s an opportunity to enrich relationships with conversation; and is appropriate not only at dinnertime, but also at breakfast, lunch, supper, or tea. It’s used at informal family dinners when we learn what our spouses and children have been up to during the day.

We want our dining conversations to be of a positive and uplifting nature, always spoken using a pleasant tone of voice. This can’t happen if we sit down and start shoveling food into our mouths.

Being fast paced is not advantageous at the dining table, as a continuous mouth full of food precludes our ability to talk; because when we talk, our mouth opens, spiting food at our neighbor – a real no-no. So our first step is to watch how we pace ourselves during a meal. Allow eating to appear natural, not rushed.

Next, we all know to stay away from the potentially touchy subjects of religion and politics. But we should also stay away from the subject of a person’s medical condition, our own or someone else’s. Invariably the most innocent comment eventually leads to graphic details that are unappetizing and potentially emotionally challenging to anyone within earshot.

It’s easy to remember to not discuss our most recent surgery, but there are other areas that are also off-limits. These include any special dietary restrictions or peculiar food preferences. Disrupting the pleasant ambiance of a meal to complain about what we can’t eat, or having a spouse announce to others that we’re on a special diet, is inappropriate and makes everyone else at the table uncomfortable.

If health reasons dictate a dietary restriction, select foods that can be eaten. At critical times, I’ve found that if I eat a small snack at home before attending a social dinner, I’m able to make better choices and no one is the wiser. If we’re on a special weight loss diet, eventually our success will show without our talking about it. So all we have to do is order or eat what’s approved.

For some of us, being a persnickety eater appears to be a crusade. I was once at a meal where one person dominated the conversation, from what to select on the menu, to making excessive changes and giving instructions to the waiter when ordering, and then continual complaining after the food was served. Needless to say, it was not a pleasant dining experience as 80% of the conversation was centered on this person’s food requirements and unreasonable demands.

-- How can we be a classy person while dining?

We can be classy by selecting and discussing positive topics and activities while dining. And we can also be a helpful guest by being prepared to graciously redirect a conversation, if it starts onto a topic that’s best discussed at another time.

I'm Looking forward to sending you another of my ClassyTips next week. Until then, have a great week, and don't forget to visit my Forum where you can ask your questions on 'Becoming the Best You Can Be'.

Kiberley Roberts ClassyTips

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