I was in three special events last Thursday (03/29) and Friday (03/30). Thursday morning, I invited a senior human resource (HR) manager working in one of the biggest soft drink companies to speak in my HR class. In the evening, I presented in the Etiquette Dinner hosted by the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) at Syracuse University. I then attended the 2012 Hospitality Senior Gala Event as a guest on Friday. These three events are different in many ways, but they all remind me the importance of professionalism. When it comes to professionalism, every tiny little detail matters.
Guest Speaker Section in the HR Class
The Etiquette Dinner Hosted by OMA
It was my great pleasure of meeting with a group of student leaders in the Etiquette Dinner. Besides the proper manners for formal dining, I emphasized the three golden rules of dinner etiquette. They include:
- We are not there to eat when going out for a business dinner. The focus is never on the meal. Rather, it is about building a relationship, networking, and selling --- either selling a product or service if we are negotiating a contract or selling ourselves if the dinner is part of the interviewing process.
- We must follow the host. We should order the items with a price tag that is less than or similar to what the host orders. More importantly, if a host breaks the proper rules for formal dining, we can either continue to follow the dinner etiquette we know without making a big deal of it or do what the host does. The bottom line for dinner etiquette is to make everyone around the table feel comfortable. For more examples of what I mean by “follow the host,” please visit my previous discussion on dinner etiquette.
- We must be discreet. Everyone deserves others’ attention. The dinner is not about “me” as a guest, and we should not talk loud.
Dinner etiquette covers many tiny little details regarding table manners. We need to know the details because professionalism reflects on our behaviors.
The 2012 Hospitality Senior Gala Event
I felt very proud of our graduating seniors who planned and ran the gala event on Friday. The turnout was great. Everyone had a wonderful experience, and the feedback was phenomenal. But once again, every detail counts in an event. As a hospitality professional, we know that “99 + 1 = 0” --- we could have done 99 exceptional things for a guest, but the guest may still end up feeling very upset because of one tiny little thing that went wrong in his/her experience with us. Accordingly, many hospitality professionals pay attention to every detail and always strive for perfection.
So, how do you interpret professionalism? What criteria do you use in evaluating a person’s professionalism?