February 19, 2001

Contact: Cheri Woolsey, Business Career Services Center, School of Business, 864-4446

4 sources for etiquette dinner

Press release on etiquette dinner

Cathy Schwabauer, Engineering Career Services Center. (785) 864-3891
In today's work environment, technical expertise is not enough to guarantee a successful career for an engineering or computer science major. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top personal quality an employer seeks in job candidates is communication skills. The majority of information covered in the initial presentation by Ann Marie Sabath dealt with communication skills, including topics such as how to make a positive first impression; the art of mixing and mingling; and business etiquette in correspondence, e-mail, and voice-mail. After an engineer designs a new product they may have to communicate its effectiveness to their co-workers as well as to the company's customers, so programs like this help students build on the knowledge learned in the classroom.

Cheri Woolsey, Business Career Services Center, School of Business 864-4446
The business world uses etiquette as a way to measure or evaluate people, whether they are a counterpart, potential employee, or competitor. There are many subtle signals that are communicated during a business lunch or dinner: decision making style, attention to details, ability to take control, and level of confidence. The courtesy and amount of common sense manners shown in a social setting usually reflects how that individual will treat others in a business setting.

Many recruiting companies want to see their future prospects in a social environment. Several of the top consulting and investment banking firms host mixers or dinner parties to evaluate the polish, savvy or social correctness of a potential candidate. These gatherings allow the company to see how a candidate might interact with their clients or peers. They want to ensure you're capable before they hire you to represent their company.

Business schools teach core competencies such as balance sheet analysis, or product market share. On the other hand, career services focus on polish and savvy. Whether we use case studies, simulations, mock interviews or etiquette dinners, the focus is providing students with opportunities to practice and hone before they are tested as a professional.

Etiquette dinners provide direct instruction and guidance in the expectations and rules of fine dining. A school sponsored etiquette dinner provides a safe environment to learn and make mistakes. For instance, if you use the wrong bread plate, it annoys the student on your right. In the professional world, the same faux pas with a client could cost the company millions. (By the way, your bread plate is on the left). As business becomes more global, knowledge of international and cultural etiquette is a must.

A few hints about handling the check. The person who extends the invitation is responsible for paying the bill. A smooth transaction is important, especially if you are a women or younger than your guest. The old school dictated giving the check to the most senior gentleman at the table. To avoid confusion, contact the restaurant prior to arriving, or arrive early to let the waiter know you are the party responsible. Consider giving your credit card with a request for the waiter to add the appropriate gratuity. When the check arrives, only your signature is required. All of your attention can be focused on the business conversation. Try to "NEVER" pay with cash or a check!

Ann Hartley, University Career and Employment Services. (785) 864-7674
Liberal Arts and Science students will benefit from the etiquette workshop and dinner because they pursue careers in diverse business and professional settings. The professional skills needed to succeed can be applied in many careers. Often the liberal arts graduate will not have had the opportunity to develop this type of "etiquette finess" during their college years. This workshop will give them the tips for success that they will need to make the transition from their college career into their professional career.

Patty Noland, Journalism Career Center, (785) 864-7630)
Journalism students who specialize in strategic communications work in advertising, public relations, sales and marketing. All of these areas require heavy interaction with clients. Young professionals develop client relationships in many ways but knowing the basics is a good first step. Effective communication means more than just figuring out what fork to use. The etiquette dinner will cover areas related to the subtle aspects of business relationships. These aspects can make or break a student's success. Generation Y didn't necessarily sit down at the dinner table every night so may not know the social graces that Baby Boomers expect. Our goal is to give students the etiquette tools they will need to master the job interview, the client lunch, the awards dinner, the charity golf tournament or whatever situation the job market demands.


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