Image & Professionalism: Don't Let Your Food Steal the Show

March 1, 1997

You're having a dinner meeting with the investor who might finance your development, and you've ordered onion soup. While the investor is talking about income projections, you're fighting with a long, sticky piece of cheese. If you can't control a soup, the investor is probably wondering whether you can spearhead this deal.

Ann Marie Sabath, founder of At Ease Inc., a business protocol company in Cincinnati, says that when you're dining with clients, customers, or business associates, you should avoid these distracting and rapport-inhibiting foods:

Corn on the cob--You may sound like an exotic bird as you accumulate kernels between your teeth and try to suck them loose.

Olives--Once you put an olive in your mouth, how do you remove the pit? Not with a quick spit, certainly. What goes in with a utensil should come out with one. And you'd have to be extremely dexterous to get the pit onto a fork from your mouth.

Pasta--If you don't know how to twirl it properly or use a spoon to help secure long strands gracefully, avoid it.

Ribs--Not even with your pinkies extended! If you must gnaw your food, you're not really dining. And you'll probably get sauce on your face.

Christina Hoffmann
Senior Speech Writer

Christina Hoffmann has covered real estate and homeownership for two decades, including as REALTOR® Magazine managing editor and’s content manager, with added expertise as owner of a demanding 100-year-old house. She is currently a senior speech writer at NAR.

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