Netiquette Dinner serves business students with fine dining skills


Garrett Heyd/Iowa State Daily

Students learn etiquette skills during a professional dinner environment, in the Gallery Room on Sept. 17.

Kirstie Martin

The Ivy College of Business helped students learn how to put their best fork forward Tuesday at the Business Week Netiquette Dinner.

The dinner had the goals of teaching students table manners such as the proper fork to use, technology etiquette and how to appropriately network with potential employers and coworkers when dining in a professional setting.

Principal Financial Group sponsored the event, providing a free dinner. Employees of the Principal Financial Group attended the Netiquette Dinner to help students practice their networking skills.

“This event is the perfect opportunity to network with companies,” said Barbara Salas, a sophomore in marketing. “And the free dinner is nice too!”

The employees were spread out evenly among the tables to ensure that all students were able to engage with them.

“This event is at the perfect time because we are able to practice talking with a company right before the career fair,” said Srujana Anapu, a junior in management and information systems. “I’m very interested in [working for] Principal [Financial Group] and it’s great to hear from an Iowa State graduate.”

Rachel Geilenfeld, an Iowa State Alumna, was the keynote speaker for the Netiquette Dinner. Geilenfeld is currently an external relations manager for Sukup Manufacturing.

Geilenfeld began the event by informing the students that etiquette begins right when you enter the room.

“When you’re sitting down in a professional situation, the highest ranking person is out of the flow of traffic,” said Geilenfeld. “They sit closer to the stage, or if it is in a restaurant, with their back to the wall.”

She pointed out that the person who would be assumed as the most important, or the guest of honor, was a student. Geilenfeld then shared her trick to remember how things are laid out within a formal dinner.

“BMW,” said Geilenfeld. “It stands for bread, meal, and water.”

Geilenfeld then shared that many people get confused on which water glass is theirs. A trick Geilenfeld had is that a person’s water glass should always be placed to their right. Students were then reminded to work from the outside in when using their utensils at the table.

Another note that Geilenfeld made was the meal cannot begin until someone grabs the bread. Geilenfeld said the person closest to the bread will grab it and offer it to the person on their left, grabs one for themselves and then continue to pass it to the right.

“Most Americans don’t know we uniformly pass things to the right,” said Geilenfeld. “But, that is the correct etiquette.”

Geilenfeld shared that there is even a proper way to eat a roll.

“Tear off a bite size piece, butter it individually, and then eat it,” said Geilenfeld. “We do that because you can see teeth marks in the butter when you bite off a roll which is considered gross.”

Geilenfeld said most etiquette coaches will suggest to leave some food on your plate when it is finished.

“If you eat all of it [the food],” said Geilenfeld. “That would suggest that the portions are too small.”

According to Geilenfeld, knives are used to cut, forks are used to pierce, and spoons are used to scoop. Knives, forks, and spoons all have specific uses.

“Lots of people will scoop things with a fork, but it is meant to pierce,” said Geilenfeld.

Throughout the event Geilenfeld shared her tips for success with networking, social media and most importantly, fine dining. Geilenfeld gave Ivy College of Business students different ideas on how to have good manners which can give students a competitive edge when in the hiring process.

“Eating is a part of social interaction we have with other human beings,” said Geilenfeld.

Not all people are educated on etiquette but by the end of the Netiquette Dinner, all the business students in attendance were,

A last word of advice Geilenfeld had to offer is that it is important to not point out etiquette fails of others, no matter what.