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Etiquette dinner teaches Ohio State students the ins and outs of professional dining

An etiquette dinner was hosted by the OSU Buckeye Career Club and the National Society of Leadership Oct. 30 at the Blackwell.  Credit: Maggie Mecklenborg / Lantern photographer

An etiquette dinner was hosted by the OSU Buckeye Career Club and the National Society of Leadership Oct. 30 at the Blackwell.
Credit: Maggie Mecklenborg / Lantern photographer

Table manners and appropriate talking points were the focus of conversation at an Ohio State dinner aimed to prepare students for the business world.

The Buckeye Career Club hosted its third annual etiquette dinner with the National Society of Leadership and Success Wednesday evening.

There were about 50 students in attendance at the Blackwell Inn to learn about proper etiquette and mannerisms for formal business dinner settings, said Jacqueline Hunter, a fourth-year in human resources and the vice president of NSLS and treasurer of BCC.

Jean Wyer, the director of career services in the College of Education and Human Ecology, gave a Deborah Thomas-Nininger Productions, which specializes in etiquette and reputation management, presentation of collegiate etiquette.

“The goal it to help students develop confidence when they enter an interview situation that includes a meal … including skills that can be used throughout the whole interview process and into their profession and as they start to represent their employer,” Wyer said.

Wyer was certified by DTN Productions to teach college students proper etiquette and interviewing skills in a setting that involves food.

The event was free for students to attend and cost about $3,000 to put on. The money came from programming funds provided by the university, Hunter said.

The cost largely went toward the dinner, which included a salad, entrees and dessert. BCC and NSLS reached out to retail food chain Kroger, job search agency Aerotek, job search agency the Mergis Group, hotel management company Concord Hospitality and freight brokerage company Total Quality Logistics, which all helped co-sponsor the event, Hunter said.

Topics included proper use of the place setting, table manners, appropriate conversation topics, table host duties and communicating with confidence.

Wyer said during the presentation it is important to follow your host at a dinner party because he or she will set the tone.

“If you do go out to a restaurant and your host is offering a menu, you want to be conscious about things like expense. Be aware that keeping it (meal choice) simple keeps things simple,” Wyer said.

Eleven representatives from five companies, including Kroger, Total Quality Logistics and the Mergis Group, dined amongst the students to provide opportunities for conversation and discussion.

Maggie Corder, regional campus recruiter of Total Quality Logistics, attended the event and said it was a great experience for students and representatives.

“We recruit a lot of recent Ohio State graduates so we love to get in front of the students and work with them and get to know them,” Corder said.

Attendees dressed in business attire and learned specific tips of what to wear in different types of interviews.

Kyle Ware, a fourth-year in criminology, said he came to the event to learn specific interviewing tips and said it was worth it.

“When I go into interviews, I am going to be really prepared and be one step ahead of everyone else. I know what will be asked,” Ware said.

The first BCC etiquette dinner was held in January 2012 and the second in October 2012, Hunter said. All of the dinners included students across many majors and desired career paths.

Hunter said the organizations worked to make this year’s event “bigger and better.”

Samantha Strawser, a third-year in industrial and systems engineering, said the event was like others she’s attended in the past.

“I have been to others like this before but it is extensive and the food is really good,” Strawser said.

Ian Smith, a fourth-year in engineering and the president of NSLS, said the event was held to help students get jobs.

“We are all about creating leaders for a better world,” Smith said.

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