Ever heard someone say “Were you born in a barn?” While it’s safe to say that very few of us were barn babies, that doesn’t mean that we were brought up with good table manners. Or you know how to hold your silverware.
Nowadays the majority of people don’t know all the dining etiquette rules (and even fewer know the rules of business dining). Most people will not notice when you make a table manners faux pas.
BUT one thing almost everybody knows is what awkward looks like.
What makes you look awkward at the table? Well, holding your knife and fork in an unusual way when you cut your food, is probably top of the list.
Here are four examples of strange (but sadly common) ways people hold their knife and fork and what that signals.
The Kiddie Grip:
Goo-goo, ga-ga. I can’t help it. I’ve held my knife and fork like this since I was liddle.
The Prison Grip:
Orange is the new black and I’m gonna bust out of this joint tonight.
The Drummer Grip:
I’m banging out a tune cause I’m going to be the next Buddy Rich or Dave Grohl.
The Airline Passenger Grip:
Yeah, it’s a bit cramped but I’m too cheap to pay for business class.
So if you want to look smooth at the dining table try to hold your knife and fork as illustrated in the photo above.
Your index or pointing fingers should extend down the handles. Your forearms and wrists should not be cocked at a sharp angle but should be held fairly straight. Your right and left hand should look similar.
Unfortunately, bad habits for holding your cutlery have been ingrained an awful long time, basically since you’ve been eating at your highchair. So you’re not going to change overnight.
But if you’re eating regularly you have plenty of opportunities to practice..At every meal, pretend that you are dining out, even when you’re sitting with the TV tray and watching Game of Thrones over supper. Practice, like they say, makes perfect.
For more dining tips and an easy way to learn all you really need about business dining etiquette or smooth table manners, check out our 40 minute online video dining course (rated #1 by the Wall Street Journal) or take one of our dining etiquette classes.
Or give your children a head start in life at one of our Social Skills for Kids or Teens classes.