University of Toronto

Innis Alumni & Friends

Dining Etiquette 101

On October 15, 2009, Innis College graduating students and young alumni gathered at the exclusive Upper Dining Room at U of T’s Faculty Club for a seminar on dining etiquette and career-building social skills.

Dining Etiquette 101, a session hosted by the Innis Alumni Network, offered clever tips and advice for proper social behaviour, and hands-on table manner exercises  –skills that could propel careers as much as work experience or education.

“Did you know that 85 per cent of people suffer from social anxiety?” asked Leanne Pepper, Etiquette and Protocol Consultant.

Leanne, who regularly teaches etiquette courses to the U of T community, cited another striking statistic that reinforced the importance of her teachings. The chance of getting a job or advancing in one’s career relies 75 per cent on one’s people skills. “It’s all about networking, so we have to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.”

Before sitting down to dinner, the attendees had the opportunity to network at a cocktail reception. Leanne quietly observed as some freely mingled, some struggled to start conversations with each other, and others fiddled with their Blackberry’s.  Recognizing how stressful cocktail parties can be, Leanne offered some valuable advice on starting a conversation, building rapport with strangers as well as one of the biggest cocktail party challenges: how to hold a plate, glass of wine, and a napkin in one hand while using the other to shake hands or present a business card.etiquette

Now equipped with some basic etiquette skills, Leanne invited the group to take their seats for dinner.  She walked her guests through a three-course meal, and as each course was served, she pointed out the simple (and not so simple) do’s and don’ts.

As competition in the job market continues to grow, specialized sessions like Dining Etiquette 101 will equip graduating students and young alumni with that extra’ edge’ necessary in making a great first impression –every time!

The Innis College Alumni Office regularly hosts social events, seminars, and networking receptions for students and alumni. The next Alumni Network event is on November 30, 2009 with alumnus Jeff Rubin, former CIBC Chief Economist and Strategist, energy expert, and bestselling author of the book Why your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller. 


View all News