From the classroom to the boardroom, etiquette matters
Imagine that you are about to interview for your dream job.
You’re told that part of the interview process will be a business dinner. Feelings of victory quickly turn into anxiety. Your mind is racing as you imagine everything that could go wrong over the course of this dinner.
In order to reduce this type of stress, the Career Services Center at Southern Wesleyan University hosted its first Etiquette Workshop and Dinner for seniors April 9 in Founders’ Hall. “From the Classroom the Board Room” was the theme for an evening where more than 50 students, alumni and administrators heard from Dyan Webb of Greenwood-based Corporate Communications.
Webb presented students with tips on how to dress, how to greet people and how to conduct themselves in a variety of social situations.
Webb said that clothing that is fashionable isn’t always professional, suggesting that job seekers should err on the conservative side. For men, a dark business suit works best, and for women, professional dress that covers the knees is preferred.
Although networking may be somewhat less formal than an interview, Webb noted the importance of a firm handshake and maintaining eye contact with whomever they greet. There are proper ways to wear a name tag and share business cards, she added. With this networking knowledge fresh in their minds, students mingled with members of the SWU Alumni Board and SWU administrators to practice their skills.
During a five-course dinner, Webb offered pointers ranging from the proper use of utensils to what to do with your napkin when you are finished eating. Employers learn a lot about a potential candidate’s table manners, mindful that in many cases that this individual could be entertaining a potential client over dinner, according to Webb.
Participants received door prizes which included perfume and cologne baskets as well as gift certificates from J.C. Penney and Belk. Chuck Mealy, director of Conference Services for SWU, provided musical entertainment during the dinner.
Sponsors for the Etiquette Workshop and Dinner included the Mentor Committee of the SWU Alumni Board, Aramark Food Services, Belk of Easley, J.C. Penney of Greenville, Horace Mann Insurance Company and Carla Whitlock, director of community development and government relations at Southern Wesleyan.