8th Annual Business Etiquette Dinner and Professional Fashion Show

Do you know how to properly eat soup? Which way should you pass the bread basket? While these may seem like simple tasks, understanding proper dining etiquette is essential for any professional. Deborah Okey, J.D., who recently retired as associate general counsel at Goodyear and is a current NEOMED Foundation Board member, joined more than 80 NEOMED students, staff and faculty on Monday, Nov. 13, to serve as a personal etiquette coach for the 8th annual Business Etiquette Dinner and Professional Fashion Show. The evening was co-sponsored by Student Affairs and NEOMED Student Council.

Looking ahead to potential residency interviews, Nathan Bohach, a third-year College of Pharmacy student, registered for the event to learn the ins and outs of business dinners―like which utensil to use for each course.

“Business dinners are great for first impressions, but a great place for mistakes, too,” Okey explains to students. “Etiquette is practicing good manners, behavior, judgement and respect.”

From networking advice to mastering the perfect handshake, Okey shared her dos and don’ts when it comes to dining—actions she calls “career limiting moves.”


  • Go with the flow. Observe, watch and follow the lead of the most experienced professional at the table.
  • Do your homework. Research the dress attire and know the goals for the meeting beforehand.
  • Be confident. Speak slowly, make eye contact and smile.
  • Pace yourself. Whether you’re speaking or eating, slow down.
  • Use please and thank you. Say “I’d like to have” when ordering, rather than “Can I have” or “I’ll take.”


  • Use a “bone crusher” handshake. Make sure you shake everyone’s hand at the table; do not skip anyone.
  • Break out your phone. Even if your tablemates aren’t talkative, keep your phone put away and on silent.
  • Mistreat business cards. Business cards matter to people; don’t drop or leave them behind.
  • Slurp your soup. Be dainty. Business dinners aren’t the place to eat as if you were in the comfort of your own home.
  • Wipe your mouth on your sleeve. Tucking your napkin into your collar can be seen as a career limiting move as well.

Introducing a twist to the annual fashion show, a number of volunteer student models recorded a fashion show video to demonstrate what to and what not to wear. From the classroom and clinical setting to golf outings and professional interviews, student models from the Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy equipped their peers with attire tips to successfully move forward in their careers.

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