Here’s a Toast to Business Etiquette! | News from CoB | SIU

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Here’s a Toast to Business Etiquette!

October 27, 2017, Franchesca Alejo

${image-alt} 2017 Etiquette Dinner guests enjoy a meal together.

The 2017 College of Business Etiquette Dinner was a hit! Reminiscent of a ball one might see in a Disney movie, this year’s Etiquette Dinner was impressive from start to finish with guests from all majors and professional walks of life dressed for success. More than 100 sponsors, board members, and SIU student, faculty and staff shared a meal together while they learned about and practiced proper business etiquette.

Guests enjoyed light refreshments and mingled upon arrival. This allowed them the chance to introduce themselves and get acquainted. Students were able to practice their handshakes and incorporate handing out business cards into their introductions.

The Business Placement Center, located in Rehn 113, played a significant role assuring many of the students had the proper attire for the event. The center provided suits, dress shirts, and the like for many of the students through its in-house Career Closet, which loans out professional clothes for interviews and events just like this.

After introductions, guests were ushered into the ballroom for the dinner and introduction of the dinner’s proctor. Melenie Broyles, founder of Etiquette St. Louis, used light humor to teach the proper use of a fork and knife, social expectations as far as paying for a company lunch or dinner, and established rules with regard to asking for and passing food around a table. Did you know you should not have more than three pieces of meat cut at one time?

Broyles was candid in addressing questions from students and professionals in attendance. She created an atmosphere in which those in attendance felt comfortable fumbling through the social intricacies of such a gathering in order to gain confidence and improve social grace. Broyles worked in a corporate human resource department for 12 years prior to starting her own firm and suggests that we set ourselves up for success rather than let our uncertainty about certain social norms end up doing us more harm than good. 

“Part of the charm of this program is that they learn this early in their academic career and begin to put these skills in place immediately.  Not only do the students benefit but the community as a whole has a unique opportunity to connect and work together while in school and beyond,” she said.

Additional speakers at the dinner included Danna Lewis, acting assistant dean of student services for the College of Business; Terry Clark, dean; Thomas Becker, the 2017 College of Business Outstanding Senior and current MBA student; and Mary Mechler, who is a member of the SIU Marketing Advisory Board and the College of Business Dean’s External Advisory Board.   Each provided their personal insights and stressed the significance of the Etiquette Dinner.

“The etiquette dinner is the first step in introducing our students to the world of business by teaching them skills in the areas of etiquette, networking, business dress and how to communicate in a business setting. The dinner serves as the foundation of our comprehensive career curriculum. It is not a matter of if the students will be invited to a business dinner, but when, and the etiquette dinner ensures that our students are ready for success,” Lewis said.

Becker offered advice to his fellow students and encouraged them to continue taking advantage of the services that are unique to the College of Business.

“Get help securing an internship, have your resume reviewed, rent a suit, practice interviewing and go to all of the career fairs. All of this is free to you and if you start now, in four years you will be unstoppable,” he said.

In addition to being an active member on two of the college’s advisory boards, Mechler is also a top-line growth coach at the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center at SIU and the co-chair of the Development Working Group.  She thanked those who helped make the dinner such a success. 

The etiquette dinner, catered by Mary’s Restaurant in Herrin, was the result of efforts by many different organizations, SIU faculty and staff, and other supporters. The beautiful, fall-themed centerpieces were made by students in a College of Agricultural Studies horticulture class.  The evening’s success was due in large part to the efforts and support provided by, Heather Willis, event planner, who helped guide college staff in creating a memorable dinner that was a unique learning experience. The Etiquette Dinner’s costs were completely sponsored by donations from businesses and college friends and supporters.