Good manners are one of the hallmarks of professional presence and grace.  It is impossible to be considered polished, sophisticated or competent without the use of good manners.

We live in an imperfect world and people are sometimes rude.  Don’t lower yourself to their level.  No matter what your background or upbringing has been, good manners can and must be acquired.  Good manners mean we lend a helping hand or offer assistance when the situation warrants it without gender consideration.  Rarely will genuine courtesies be refused.

Manners reveal a great deal about our background and our current lifestyle.  Good table manners are always a sign of good breeding and education.

If a person is disorganized, greedy, insensitive, scattered, ill at ease or insecure, these qualities will be evident in their behavior.  We have all had the experience of eating with someone whose table manners were poor or inappropriate.  This is not only offensive and embarrassing, it is also a difficult memory to erase. Fortunately, the rules of power etiquette and dining are straight forward and easy to master.

Education, skill set, ambition, high people skills, leadership and personality all add to the competitive edge in business situations.  However, one of the most overlooked skill sets is the art and finesse of entertaining and fine dining.

Business executives who have already risen to the top of the corporate ladder often lament on the lack of social polish and presence among their colleagues.  Polished table manners and social graces can take you to another level of sophistication.  We all know not to speak when there is food in our mouth and the correct placement of the table napkin, but do you know the fine points of dining…..such as how to eat an artichoke, escargot or asparagus?  With the mastery of these finer skills, you become even more valuable as an ambassador for your company and even more sought after as a dinner guest.

Fortunately, while other aspects of social graces are linked to personal qualities such as ability and aptitude, good table manners can belong to anyone.  No one is born with good table manners, and our society has been somewhat lax in the showcasing and teaching of superior manners.  An extra plus of acquiring good table manners is that learning about them also exposes you to knowledge on fine food preparation, presentation and wine selection.

Bob Yearick
The copy editor of Out & About, Bob Yearick retired from DuPont in 2000 after 34 years as an editor and writer. Since “retiring,” Bob has written articles for Delaware Today, Main Line Today and other publications. His sports/suspense novel, Sawyer, was published in 2007. His grammar column, “The War on Words,” is one of the most popular features in O&A. A compilation of the columns was published in 2011. He has won the Out & About short story contest as well as many awards in the annual Delaware Press Association writing contest.