Business Etiquette
Professional Dinner Meetings

 

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State University of New York
COLLEGE AT FREDONIA
Department of Business Administration

Guidelines for Students
Attending Professional Dinner Meetings


Introduction

The intent of these guidelines is to help you make a favorable impression and to avoid tarnishing the reputation of the accounting program here at the State University of New York College at Fredonia. These guidelines are NOT intended to be a personal criticism of you.

In your career preparation, you should take some time to learn how to distinguish between the different modes of dress and behavior for any social event which you may be asked to attend. A social event may be casual, informal, business or formal. You may want to review various fashion magazines for appropriate attire to wear to an event in each of these categories and begin to build your wardrobe. Men may want to glance at an issue of GQ (Gentleman's Quarterly) while women may wish to peruse Cosmopolitan or Mademoiselle. 

You should also take some time to polish your manners and brush up on your business etiquette. Each spring semester the Accounting Society hosts "The Etiquette Dinner" at the White Inn. It is an opportunity for you to learn more about and practice your dinner manners in an intentionally non-embarrassing environment. 

Remember, the impression you make reflects not only on you, but on the entire accounting program here at Fredonia State. We want it to be a favorable one. 

Guidelines for Dress

In general, the look you should try to achieve for an evening business occasion, such as a dinner meeting of a professional organization, is a conservative, inconspicuous and indistinguishable one. Your goal is to blend in, not stick out. 

Women

  • Suit Women should wear a dark suit - blue or gray in color, solid or pin stripe - made of an all-weather wool.
  • Blouse Wear a white, long-sleeved ½ inch longer than jacket sleeve, no collar button, clean and well-pressed.
  • Belt If worn, should be made of leather and match your shoe color.
  • Neck piece Wear something to mimic a man's tie either a scarf or tie with a broach or pin.
  • Hair Should be cut short or worn short.
  • Makeup Should be kept subtle.
  • Hosiery Wear plain style of natural colors.
  • Shoes Style should be medium heel (appropriate for your height) and dress (NOT casual). Should be polished and shined.
  • Accessories Should be minimal and coordinated.
  • Outerwear Wearing a raincoat or overcoat depends on the weather. Style should be conservative and traditional.
  • Gloves Should be made of leather and match your shoe color.
Men
  • Suit Men should wear a dark suit - blue or gray in color, solid or pin stripe - made of an all-weather wool. When standing or walking, the jacket should be worn buttoned. If wearing a three-button suit jacket, button the center button. If wearing a two-button suit jacket, button the top button.
  • Tie Should NOT be a power color. Tack or clip should be simple, not gaudy, with no religious or political affiliation.
  • Shirt Wear a white, long-sleeved ½ inch longer than jacket sleeve, no collar button, clean and well-pressed.
  • Shoes Style should be dress (NOT casual) and should be black/cordovan color, polished and shined.
  • Socks Should be black in color, mid-calf style.
  • Belt Should be made of leather and match your shoe color.
  • Jewelry Minimal, coordinated with other accessories, and nothing that will affiliate you with a religious or political group. NO earrings or piercings.
  • Hat Wear for function only (warmth), not just for style.
  • Hair Get a haircut - keep it off ears, collar. Shave beard, at a minimum trim it.
  • Outerwear Wearing a raincoat or overcoat depends on the weather. Style should be conservative and traditional.
  • Gloves Should be made of leather and match your shoe color.
Appropriate Behaviors

Before leaving

In advance, know when and from where the group is leaving. Be prompt! If for some reason you can't go, please notify others. It is rude to make a commitment and not show. Dinner reservations have been made. Sometimes emergencies do occur. But, if you miss commitments too often, it is perceived as a sign of poor personal time management. 

During the event

Mixer

  • No drinking is allowed.
  • No smoking where prohibited.
  • Mingle and meet new people.
  • Don't be yourself, be your best self!
  • Don't try too hard to impress Be honest about what you know. As a student you are not expected to know as much as practicing professionals.
  • Shake hands firmly - not weakly, but not with a vise-like grip. Practice your interlock, grip, hold and release.
  • Be courteous and polite.
  • Be positive, upbeat, but not boisterous.
  • Be open to others' viewpoints.
  • Be empathetic of others' feelings.
  • Use appropriate greetings, such as, sir or ma'am, Mr./Ms. Do not call someone by their first name without their permission.
  • Have some safe topics of conversation ready for those inevitable lull periods.
Dinner
  • Practice your best dinner etiquette.
  • When in doubt about what to do next, follow others' lead.
  • Use utensils from the outside in.
Speaker
  • Be quiet while the speaker has the floor.
  • Applaud at the appropriate times.
After the event
  • Meet at the van/car promptly.


© 1998 Olsavsky/Revised 980324