Rules of Engagement: Etiquette Dinner

The Blue and Orange cohorts came together for an etiquette session with the dynamic business expert, Mary Crane. We weren’t exactly sure what to expect – would we be talking about manners, like not putting elbows on the table? And how would this lecture apply to the work we were doing at the Institute? As Mary energetically launched into the program, we quickly discovered that etiquette is a lot more than manners, and that good etiquette is crucial to professional success.

We spent the afternoon with Mary learning about etiquette for receptions. Receptions are a significant part of the recruiting process at the Institute as every employer information session is followed by a reception. Mary discussed a variety of items, like how to introduce ourselves in a brief, memorable way and how to gracefully enter and exit conversations. We then got to practice our new skills with the faculty at a mini reception. Both Mary and the faculty answered questions and gave us feedback to help us be comfortable and successful at future receptions.

In the evening, we traveled to the University Club at NC State for the Etiquette Dinner. Because many students are asked to dinner with potential employers, I was excited for the opportunity to enjoy good food and good company while reviewing essential dining skills.

Mary began the dinner with an overview of important basics, like how to hold silverware and which bread plate belonged to which person. While eating our first course of salad, we discussed how to pass items like salad dressing and how to butter and eat dinner rolls. During our main course (Chicken Saltimbocca or Pasta), we talked about which dishes were best to select from a menu and how to use silverware to indicate that one is done eating. Finally, during dessert (chocolate mousse or apple tart), we reviewed the day and the major do’s and don’ts of professional etiquette.

While data is my passion, one of the other reasons I selected the Institute for Advanced Analytics is its focus on soft skills. After our afternoon of etiquette with Mary Crane, I feel both excited and prepared for future professional receptions and dinners.

Columnist: Emily Hadley