Etiquette Basics for Networking Events & Buffets

There’s something about food and networking.  It makes people feel more comfortable, at ease. And let’s just be honest – some people are there for the free food. Don’t let that be you! But when food is involved, here are some tips to help you navigate the social seas.

Networking Events and Buffet Behavior for Job Seekers

  • Don’t confuse the term ‘buffet’ with ‘all you can eat’.  During a buffet served event, you can go back through the line for ‘seconds’ after everyone has had a chance to go through the first time.  Please don’t ‘load’ up on the first round, leaving the guests at the end of the line with nothing to eat.
  • Don’t go against the flow.  Don’t jump in and try to go ‘backwards’ in line.
  • Keep your distance.  Don’t forget about individual space bubbles… that shrimp may look yummy, and you can’t wait to get your hands on some, but slooooowwww down.  Don’t breath down the persons neck in front of you, it will still be there when it’s your turn.
  • No grazing.  Wait until you’ve made it through the line and are back at your seat before you begin eating.  No standing at the table and nibbling from it – it’s a buffet, not a feed bucket.
  • Use the tongs.  And if you can’t find the tongs – use a fork. Don’t use your fingers to make your selection.
  • Dessert.  Make a second trip for dessert instead of trying to balance everything at once.
  • Lefty.  Hold everything in your left hand, leaving your right hand free to fill your plate, shake hands, and tend to your jacket or skirt.
  • Take small bites.  You want to easily be able to engage in conversation.  Too big a bite – and you’ll be left chomping instead on conversing.

It’s ok to enjoy the food – just don’t let it be your main focus at the next networking event!

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CareySue Vega

Carey Sue Vega is a business and youth etiquette expert. For ten years, she honed her skills with an international audience as Cruise Director for the Norwegian Cruise Line. Vega has been featured in numerous radio and television shows and magazine articles, sharing her etiquette expertise.  She’s also social savvy with social media. Connect with CareySue.


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