By Natalie Kfoury & Ryan Macleod – Editor-in-Chief & 1851 Staff
Lasell hosted the annual etiquette dinner with 21 students gathered in De Witt Hall. The campus event has been held three times and has been supported by the recently deceased Sue Klingbeil, class of 1945 and her husband. Jodi RR Smith of Mannersmith hosted the event and discussed eating properly in a business dinner, first date, or interview meal setting.
Smith became interested in proper etiquette while she was a shy high schooler and read etiquette books as a way to become more comfortable in public. She began Mannersmith in 1996 and provides seminars on the rules of proper etiquette. Smith hosts seminars at colleges, companies, and has appeared on television shows such as Good Morning America and the Today Show.
The dinner, provided and served by Sodexo, consisted of a light salad, an entree of chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans, and a dessert of apple pie accompanied by the choice of tea or coffee.
While the dinner was informative, Smith made sure to appeal to her audience often adding in jokes such as “croûtons are dangerous” when discussing how to eat a salad. She showed how eating even a simple salad could be difficult and advised students on how to cut tomatoes and use silverware with both hands.
Throughout the evening, Smith demonstrated with examples and stories on how presenting oneself is imperative in a formal setting. Even the simplest act of how to properly use a napkin or enter and exit chairs helps create an image that can either be positive with etiquette or negative with sloppiness, she said.
The event was a success overall with students laughing and learning throughout.
“People generalize competency based on observable behavior,” said Smith on the importance of students having etiquette guidelines. “I might not know how incredibly bright you are and how much you have to offer, but I see the way you’re behaving and I make an assumption about you.” Through her work with Mannersmith, Smith hopes to help others make a positive first impression through dining etiquette.
When the dinner concluded, students were asked to write a note of appreciation to Mr. Klingbeil that included what the students learned about and how they would use what they learned in their futures.