In a recent dining etiquette seminar, you mentioned the importance of pacing yourself so you don’t eat faster than others. I’m the opposite. I eat slowly and usually I’m the last one eating. What do you suggest I do?
– Lastma Neating in Calgary
In business or social dining, it’s bad manners and rude to keep others waiting for you to finish. Don’t be so self-absorbed that you’re not paying attention to how the others at the table are progressing through their meal. It can ruin your professional image.
You should be keeping pace with them. If you fall behind and notice everyone else is looking at you, it’s not because they’re fascinated by your conversation. They’re wondering how much longer you’re going to keep them waiting.
Maybe you’re not so much a slow eater as a chatty diner. Learn to eat faster or talk less (most slow eaters are also talkative talkers).
If you can’t eat faster (or talk less) then order or ask for smaller portions.
If you still find you are the last one eating, finish up quickly or give the correct table manners finished signal with your cutlery and inform the server that you’re done, thank you. Remember your mom isn’t watching you at the table so you don’t have to finish everything that’s on your plate.
(PS If you don’t know the dining etiquette silverware signals, check out our Dining for Success video & online training.)