Business majors expand professional skills at etiquette dinner


Denise Pietzsch from Epic and Protocol Image Consultants speaks at The Stevens Family Global Business Etiquette dinner on Oct. 22, 2014. The dinner teaches business students how to politely interact with business partners.

Jacob Brown

At the Stevens Family Global Business Etiquette Series dinner Wednesday night in the Student Center, junior and senior business majors learned about business dining etiquette over a six-course meal.

Denise Pietzsch, certified corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant, said etiquette is important because it can cost people jobs, promotions or dates.

Throughout her speech, Pietzsch explained the ground rules for business dining etiquette.

“Eighty percent of second interviews are conducted over a meal. Eighty percent,” Pietzsch said. “So do not let the soft skill of dining hold you back.”

Pietzsch covered proper attire for men and women, such as how shoes should be shined and dressy and the proper handshake, which is brief and involves two to three pumps.

Professional eye contact was also covered, as well as introductions, and how one should be directed to the most important person in the room. She also discussed the best topics for small talk, such as the weather or food.

Once Pietzsch finished explaining the pre-meal portion of business dining etiquette, she delved into the proper Continental-style during-the-meal etiquette. Continental-style dining primarily involves waiting for all members at the table to be served before eating when in small groups, eating at a fair pace and passing food to the right.

Deborah Spake, Dean of the College of Business Administration, said the event, put on by the College of Business Administration’s satellite Career Services department, was held because of student demand and a suggestion from a corporate owner.

“A company said to me, ‘Your students are very well prepared academically,’” Spake said. “Where they need work is the soft skills. What they wear to an interview, how they interview over a meal, the follow-up. That’s what’s separating your students from those that we hire.’”

This seminar is the second one hosted this year, she said, and it is something the career services department will continue if the demand exists from the students.  

“(I came) to get some more experience about, you know, being a professional,” junior accounting major Toni Zumpano said. “I would say (it was worth coming) because I learned a lot of good stuff.”

The next scheduled Stevens Family Global Business Etiquette dinner will be held Nov. 4.

Contact Jacob Brown at [email protected].