Bodyguard Blogs new ongoing feature on Etiquette & Protocol. Like any other profession, image is important in our business and first impressions are lasting ones. Knowing how to shoot is great, but if you can not get a second interview with an employer, all those great skills might go to waste. To assist, we’ve once again enlisted the services of writer and etiquette coach, Susanne Dancer.
Q: I occasionally need to attend formal dinner parties with my Principal. What’s the best way to navigate the meal without looking out of place? – Chester Balley, Close Protection Agent, NY
A: The best rule of thumb to navigate a formal meal is start from the outside and work your way in. So in simple terms when looking at cutlery, start from the outside and work your way into the centre.
In terms of the Courses, it usually goes: entrees or soup, mains, desserts and sometimes cheese. To your left is your bread and butter plate and knife. Above the knives are the glasses.
Alcoholic beverages such as wine or champagne usually accompany most formal dinning, however in the Executive Protection industry, I should hope it goes without saying to never drink on duty. I would even go so far as to say you should also avoid dark or carbonated non-alcoholic drinks served in the same glassware as other guest who are drinking as it might give the wrong perception to a client.
If the menu is a-la-carte (as in restaurant meal) pick things that are not messy and both easy to eat, and digest. (Of course that means pasta is usually off the menu). Try and make sure you finish before the client does as keeping the VIP waiting is a no-no.
Additional websites for reference:
Previously: The Bodyguard Wardrobe
Susanne Dancer is a former butler and administrator who has trained with the Guild of Professional English Butlers. Her work in Etiquette has taken her from Brisbane to London with an emphasis on International Protocol. She is regularly consulted as an expert in her field on subjects such as how to dress appropriately while working with High Net Worth individuals, and the delicate subject of table manners.
Have an etiquette question for Susan? Ask it HERE.