The Art of Etiquette
Author: PSU Alumni Association's 6th annual student etiquette dinner prepares students for life after college.
Posted: February 7, 2018

For young professionals just starting out in their careers, making a good first impression can mean the difference between getting a job offer, and not. Unfortunately in some more formal settings, there are a lot of unspoken rules that can be hard to pick up on. That is, unless you’ve attended a Student Etiquette Dinner.  

For the past six years, the PSU Alumni Association has hosted a Student Etiquette Dinner to give PSU students a chance to practice their “soft skills” -- networking, introductions and dining etiquette. More than 150 students attended this year’s event, which took place at the Portland Hilton on January 26, 2018. By connecting attendees with coaches who are PSU alumni,  students get advice directly from professionals who understand where they’re coming from.

“When I was a student twenty years ago, my top three worries were the same as yours today,” said Greg Meyer, president of the PSU Alumni Association. “Finding a job, finding a job, and finding a job. Tonight we’re excited to pass on some practical knowledge that we hope will give you a leg up as you start your careers.”

Lori Hennessy, a professional corporate protocol and etiquette consultant, delivered a crash course on making effective introductions, handshake etiquette, and proper business attire. Her biggest advice for students? Make sure you always look professional.  

“First impressions are based 55% on how you look, 35% on how you introduce yourself, and 10% on what you say,” she said. “People are going to notice if you’re dressed up.”   

When it comes to business etiquette, it’s important to  carry yourself with confidence, look good, and speak with confidence. And if you’re invited to a business lunch or dinner, knowing the basics of fine dining can’t hurt. Abigael Lopez-Gay, ’19, a PSU business student, said she was looking forward to learning more about this. In particular, when to use the small spoon.

Business student Nkaoyoua Thao, ’19, attended the evening in order to prepare for business meetings and interviews that will hopefully be in her near future.

“Thanks to tips I learned tonight,” she said. “I know I’ll be ready.”