How to set the table in Australia

Set the table beautifully and easily with this simple step by step guide with Australia's modern etiquette expert, Anna Musson, as seen on Sunrise, The Project, A Current Affair, Sky Business, Ten News, The Today Show. Beware, this is correct for Australia and Commonwealth countries, American and European settings differ slightly.

Dining Etiquette Basics

You've been invited out to dinner, if you know what to do and what not to do, you can relax and enjoy your night. Follow these tips for a smooth evening where you draw attention to yourself for your wonderful conversation and charming intellect and not because you (gasp) licked your knife.

Email Etiquette Rules for Business

There's nothing worse than receiving long, unclear and inefficient emails! Here are a few simple tips to make sure you can communicate your message effectively and quickly to your desired receiver.

  1. Have a clear, direct subject line

eg Opening Day Times.  Readers often decide if they will read your email based on the subject line, worth remembering next time you start typing the usual, “weekend stats”.

  1. Start and end well.

Begin with “Dear Mary and Matthew”, never just “Mary & Matthew” and be mindful of sounding overly familiar with expressions like, “Hi folks” and “Hey guys”.  If you are not sure if they are a Matt or a Matthew, stick with Matthew until told otherwise. Sign-off should be kind regards or best regards, not “cheers” and never “best”, which studies have shown is actually, the worst rated signoff.

  1. There’s never any need to SHOUT.

There are very few occasions where shouting is appreciated, maybe the occasional, SOLD!  Or even, “FREE DRINKS!” But besides that, use of all caps should be avoided along with using  colours and bold.

  1. Before you press “send”…

Go back and include a pleasantry on the first line such as, “ I trust this finds you well” or “I hope you enjoyed the weekend”.   If you are replying to a message, this should be, “lovely to hear from you” or “thanks for getting in touch”.

  1. Include a signature block

And make sure it is exactly the same as everyone in the office and includes all your contact details so they know where to send the thank you flowers.  This should include your name, title, company name, phone, email, and “Agent of the Year 2017” but don’t go overboard.

  1. Use exclamation points sparingly.

Grammarians know there should only be one ! per 3 sentences and only ever one at a time.  Overuse can create the impression the sender is immature or emotional. YA KNOW?!!!

  1. Assume everyone will read your message.

So keep humour, tone and grammar in check.  Don’t pass on gossip, jokes or stern words in an email because if it gets lost in translation, that’s on you, the writer. If in doubt, ask a friend to check it an imagine reading it in the paper.

3 faux pas that could ruin your client lunch

Entertaining clients is a hugely important part of building strong rapport and demonstrating your commitment to a successful relationship.  It can also be a valuable opportunity to personally connect with your clients away from stuffy boardrooms and over the lunch table instead.

Leave your clients with a lasting impression (a good one) by following a few simple do’s and don’ts:

DO: Offer your client the seat with the ocean view to wow them in more ways than one.

DON’T: Race your client for the best seat and leave them with a view of the men’s lavatory.

DO: Discreetly take care of the bill. You may wish to leave your credit card with the maître dee upon arrival and let them know you will be footing the bill. This makes the client feel valued and that you have hosted them for a wonderful lunch.

DON’T: Allow the little black folder to reach the table and make an ostentatious example of taking responsibility for the bill. You may have the awkward situation where both parties are reaching for their wallets and negotiating who will pay

DO:  Begin introductions by using the full name of each guest starting with the most senior by position, or the person you know.  The most fluid way to achieve this is often in a left to right motion, rather than picking people off by title. The host should introduce clients first, if known, then introduce their team, starting with the most senior and using their title.

Here’s an example:

“Allow me to perform the introductions; Kenneth Client, CEO, Rebecca Client, PR, Sarah Client, Finance. Allow me to introduce our team, Head of Production, Cecilia Pepperpott and Robert Snodgrass, Publicity.”

DON’T: Wait for your clients to introduce themselves. If you have invited your client to lunch, take the lead on making them feel comfortable including connecting them to the relevant people at the table.

There are many ways you can be caught making social faux pas but we are confident you can put your best foot forward in impressing your clients.

Want to learn more about business and dining etiquette? Learn more about our courses here.