Formal Dining: Interacting With Guests - as part of the expert series by GeoBeats. During dinner you are often interacting with your guests. That is part of the responsibility of a lovely event. People may ask you a question with food in your mouth. And what are you supposed to do then? Under no circumstances do you want to answer the question when you are chewing. So you would want to finish the bite that you are chewing, and then bring your napkin to your mouth, making sure you have no food particles on your lips. Even you may wish to have a sip of water prior to answering the question. They are going know as they look at you that you are still chewing and they will wait. And then at that point you would give the response to that question. You as the guest at the party as well, being wise would look at a person and prior to asking them a question you would make sure that they are not chewing with a mouthful. Another key to success here is to take moderate bite sizes and slow down, pace yourself. It is supposed to be an interactive dinner party with questions and your responsibility is judging when an appropriate time to ask a question really would be. When seated at a dining room table and you are in the middle, first of all that is the position of the least power. However you can make a great contribution to the experience of dining when you understand who you should be interacting with. Your responsibility is of course to the guests on either side of you. And if they are not responding or participating in the conversation, then you as a guest have a responsibility to begin to include them. So I might turn to my right or to my left and look at that person, and I am going to pause. Now to catch his attention I would say "Bill", and then pause. And then he is going to look at me. Once I have eye contact then I can begin to engage him in a conversation. And I might say, "Bill, we have not met before. Tell me what brings you to Atlanta today?" And then he would give me some information and we would play off that. And I might also say to him, "Bill, this is a fabulous meal, I wonder how our host is going to chose the dessert." And then I get a chance to bring in a conversation with him. So I am going to ask and enter into conversation with the person on my right and my left. At a small table I am going to speak to everyone. And of course the positive nodding of the head indicates that you have heard them and are interacting effectively. No pointing at the table, but instead an open handed gesture. "Mary, the food today is simply lovely, thank you so much."