Table Manners Tips Q & A

Q. – Slowwww Eater?

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

A. – Dear Lastma

table manners for slow eaters - Don't keep others waiting

Listen up all you slow eaters.

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.

It’s not all about you

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.

Here are 3 tips or options for slow eaters:

Tip #1 – Get over it

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).

Tip  #2 – Less is more

If you can’t eat faster (or talk less) then order or ask for smaller portions.

Tip #3 – Fast finale

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.)

Posted by Joanne Blake – Canadian business etiquette trainer, coach and well-mannered diner

About the author 

Joanne Blake

Canadian speaker, corporate image consultant & business etiquette expert. If you're interested in booking a presentation, keynote or coaching, contact me. Based in Calgary / Edmonton, Alberta in western Canada.

  1. Wonderful article!!! It is very informative solving many queries and highlighting the importance of Dining Etiquette Training. Thanks!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your comments Dwight. I too grew up on a farm in Vineland Ontario. We had a vineyard and orchard and many of my summers were spent picking fruit. Not only did my dad eat fast, he frowned at making conversation at the table. Your suggestion to match your pace to the leader in the group is a great one.

  3. I grew up on the farm and both my Dad and Grandfather were fast eaters. I also developed the habit because you only had so much time to get fed and get back to the field to catch the next hopper full. I am embarrassed sometimes at business and social functions because I am all done when the rest are just getting into the main course. I just put my head down and go without a lot of conversation. It’s also bad for digestion so I suggest that some of us could slow down a bit. I forget that I don’t have to get to the field anymore. I am under the impression than Europeans consider dining a social activity but that might be stretching things in North America. I hear that when dining with the Queen, the last course is removed and the next course arrives when the Queen is ready for the next course, whether or not you are done. You have to pace yourself to match the Queen. I would suggest that you match your pace to the leader in the group. Any thoughts?

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