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Dinner promotes etiquette, networking

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The Career Center once again helped CSU-Pueblo juniors, seniors and graduate students to prepare for business experiences as they hosted their annual Dining for Success Etiquette Dinner Thursday, Nov. 3.

CSU-Pueblo students engaged in conversation during the networking portion of etiquette event. Photo by John Pantoya.

“This evening is a practice exam before you go out to the cold cruel world and learn the hard way. Those interviews are exams and we hope to prepare you to pass them,” said Sue Hanks, interim dean for the Hasan School of Business. “This skill set will become increasingly important to you as you progress in your career paths.”

The event was also sponsored by CSU-Pueblo’s Student Fees at Work program, Northwestern Mutual and the Pueblo Convention Center, where the event was held.

Approximately 160 students were in attendance, internship coordinator for the CC Tanya Baird said. There were also 19 community leaders present, she said.

The evening began with the opportunity for students and community members to mingle amongst each other and learn how to engage in conversations. Tips on how to properly network with new individuals were given during this portion of the event by Northwestern Mutual representatives Mark Perrault and Luke Roberts.

Gloria Carillo, a senior art major at CSU-Pueblo, attended the previous etiquette dinner, which helped her realize the importance of professionalism, she said. Art majors are not generally instructed on how to dress for business meetings and the event helped provide her with that knowledge, she said.

Upon commencement of the networking portion of the evening, attendees were then asked to enter the dining room area where they were assigned to a table that was represented by one of the 19 community leaders.

Hanks was the keynote speaker throughout dinner. It marked the eighth time Hanks spoke at an etiquette dinner, she said. It’s great for students that haven’t had experience in five course meals and it helps to prepare them for business meetings and interviews, she said.

“The rules of etiquette, both old and new, must be learned. No one is born knowing the rules of etiquette,” Hanks said. “These rules and tips are theoretical concepts that have to be taught, demonstrated, observed, learned and practiced.”

Since the word etiquette sounds a bit sophisticated some feel like it is a switch that can be turned on or off, she said.

“Etiquette is a much larger issue,” she said. “It is our key, regardless of our gender, to surviving every human interaction with our self-esteem intact and our sense of humor maintained, and ultimately our reputation enhanced.”

Hanks added that etiquette applies to all situations and is a matter of common sense and respect that often gets overlooked in our society. It not only deals with manners, but also with which fork to use, who passes the salt and pepper and which direction they are passed, she said.

She also stated the importance of realizing cultural differences in etiquette.

“For example, we eat with a fork or a knife, some people eat with chopsticks,” she said. “We need to understand that the world varies and other cultures do things differently than Americans do.”

Many employers take their current and prospective employees out to such dinners, and knowing the proper etiquette may be the difference in getting a job or not, she said.