Written on the 1 March 2012 by Ms Kimberley Cole @ Jump the Q
Imagine you have landed a meeting with your dream client: the venue is elegant, sophisticated; the food divine; and the table settings elaborate. The only problem is you have no idea where to put your napkin, what to eat first, and what to eat it with.
The popularity of traditional afternoon tea or ‘high tea’ has grown in recent times, with tea houses becoming a popular alternative to restaurants and bars. Originally, ‘High Tea’, which the Duchess of Bedford is credited with creating, referred to a meal eaten between 5pm and 7pm. In recent times however, the term has increasingly been used in reference to afternoon tea. Now, with the business sector starting to use high teas as networking and social events, it has become more important than ever to be aware of the social graces and etiquette that accompany this tradition. This is particularly important as we move from summer to winter and functions start being moved indoors.
So, would you know where to place your napkin or teaspoon, if invited to a high tea or more correctly afternoon tea?
If, like so many others, the etiquette expected at these functions eludes you, keep in mind the following tips:
• Napkins are to be folded on the diagonal and placed on your lap. If you excuse yourself from the table but intend to return, place the napkin on the chair. It is only to be placed upon the table upon finishing the meal.
• If in doubt, use utensils from the outside, and work your way back to the setting.
• If you are seated, lift only the cup to drink. The saucer remains on the table and the cup is returned to it. Otherwise, hold the saucer with your left hand and the teacup in your right, the cup is then returned to the saucer and held in your lap.
• Never have both food and drink in your hands at the same time.
• Hold the teacup with your fingers at the handle however, do not extend your pinkie finger, clench the handle in a fist or put your fingers through the handle.
• If you have had enough tea, place the teaspoon across the top of the saucer. Alternatively, if you have eaten enough place your cutlery at the 6 o’clock position on your plate with the tines of the fork facing upwards and the serrated edge of the knife facing inwards.
Knowing the required social etiquette in such a situation allows you to relax, act with confidence and let your personality shine through which, in turn, helps you to make the best possible impression with your client or employer.
Learn more about Afternoon Tea Etiquette, order an advance of copy of this eBook for an introductory price of $9.97 so that you are prepared to position yourself as the leader in social graces.
Like to learn even more about Business Etiquette and Protocol register your interest in our Etiquette eClasses. Everyone will be impressed and soon following your example. There is no easier way to shine in a networking event.
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