I find it hard at standing functions to hold my drink, eat and shake hands. What are the best ways to do all of this?
Life is all about priorities. So answer this question:
What is my priority at this function? Is it:
- To eat
- To drink
- To meet people, build relationships and grow business by networking.
If your answer was number three then congratulations, you are going to these events in the right frame of mind – to network, and the definition of networking is not to eat as much free food as possible.
So many times you see people at events standing with a wine glass in one hand, three fried canapés in the other and then try to greet someone with a handshake.
There is so much shuffling of handbags, wine glasses, napkins and food to make the right hand available to shake that I feel like circus music should be playing before the juggling act begins.
If you must drink and eat at a function then here are some little tips.
Hold your beverage in your left hand. Actually, hold everything in your left hand so your right hand is free for handshaking.
If you have to eat, then hold the napkin between your fingers and stem of the wine glass in your left hand, take the canapé with your right.
As soon as you are finished eating wipe your fingers with the napkin and voila, your hand is free for greeting again.
But here is my biggest tip: Eat before you go to functions.
There is nothing worse than speaking with someone and trying to engage them in conversation while they have one eye on you and one eye on the wait staff with the hors d'oeuvre trays.
Just because they are being served doesn’t mean you have to eat them. If you eat before the event then you won’t be inclined to chase around satay chicken sticks all night.
Remember why you are there.
Enjoy your new confidence and the game of etiquette.