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    Dinner Etiquette: Conversation Guide

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    Formal Dining: Conversation Guide - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. Conversation at the dinner table is very important, and there are many topics that you cannot speak about so, we will talk about those first. I recommend that you do not talk about politics, religion, death, bereavement, or anything that is too spicy. That leaves books, art, theater, culture and travel. So, you want to be able to ask open-ended questions. So you are going to look at the person that you are addressing, and you might say something like, “Mary, the last time we met you were just leaving for Spain. Tell me a bit about the highlights of your trip.” And then you would want to bring in other people to the conversation, as well. Conversation is like a game of volleyball. You hit the ball over the net to the other person, and they hit it back to you. And you want to always ask a kind of question that is going to require more than a one word answer, such as “Yes” or “No.” So that opens up the doors of conversation. While you are at a dinner party, you have a responsibility to several guests, and that is going to include the person directly in front of you, and the person to your right, and the person to your left. If it is a small table of six, then you could actually interact with everyone. A very large banquet table, and you are back to only being responsible interacting with the person across from you and the person at either side of you. Your responsibility is to add value to the meal with interesting and intellectual conversation. So when I am looking at this person, and I want to be very interested and indicate that with my body language, I am going to nod at them and say, “Fascinating! Tell me more.” Or, “You know when I was in Italy last year, I experienced something similar. How did you end up handling that situation?” Now, I am speaking to this person; however, we have other guests as well, so I might catch someone’s eye, see that they are very interested, and then I will say, “John, I see that you want to add some comments to the Italy experience,” and then that would include them as well. So, it is looking, it is nodding of the head – “Fascinating! Tell me more.”