Australian Expert Lists Basic Rules of Etiquette and Even Some You May Not Know

Do not place mobiles on tables, take phone calls or check your phone under the table

Summer is well underway and as a result thousands of Australians will be attending countless dinner parties, restaurants and family gatherings.

And while many have mastered the art of table etiquette, others have a lot to learn.

So, to help party-goers celebrate in style these holidays, Sydney School of Protocol founder Julie Lamberg-Burnet, has shared her ultimate guide to table manners.

From how to hold cutlery to the etiquette behind who pays, here FEMAIL looks at the most important rules – and some may just be new to you.

To help party-goers celebrate in style these holidays, Sydney School of Protocol founder Julie Lamberg-Burnet (pictured), has shared her ultimate guide to table manners


‘No one will tell you if you have bad manners or distracting habits when eating and dining with others,’ Ms Lamberg-Burnet said.

‘These are the most common etiquette faux pas we see today, at home, in restaurants and cafes in either business or social settings.’

– Starting a meal without waiting for either the host or others around the dining table to commence

– Waving your cutlery around when having conversation

– Spearing your food with the fork

– Holding your knife like a ‘pencil’

– Stabbing your food with the fork

– Placing your cutlery like a ‘row boat’ across the plate in between mouthfuls

– Taking huge portions and helping yourself before others

– Speaking with a mouth full of food

– Chewing with your mouth open

– Slurping and over indulging in food and drinks

– Cutting up the bread roll or eating the whole bread roll in your hands

– Double dipping into oils, sauces and accompaniments or contaminating public dishes with your own cutlery

– Reaching across the table to grab a dish or condiment

– Dominating the conversation, whispering or sharing private jokes

– Removing food in your tooth or a foreign body from your mouth at the table

– Eating too fast or too slow

– Using the napkin as a handkerchief or tucked into your collar

– Elbows lounging on the table

– Mobile phones, sunglasses and personal items plonked on the table

– Not knowing how and when to use the table napkin


– Commence eating when the host or several others in the group have started – it’s best to be second to start

– Pick up your napkin from the table when the host does

– There is no need to refold the napkin at the end of the meal

–  Hold the cutlery properly – fork is in the left hand and knife is in the right hand

– Place your cutlery into the resting and finishing positions

– Break the bread, butter/ dip in the oil

– Take small mouthfuls and finish each one before embarking on the next one

– Put others first – pass food around, hold dishes and serve others

– Do not place mobiles on tables, take phone calls or check your phone under the table


– Call ahead if you are more than 15 minutes late

– As the host, arrive early – think about best seating positions for your guests

– Do not place mobiles on tables, take phone calls or check your phone under the table

– When asking or receiving say ‘please’ or ‘thank you’ to the waiter

– Don’t click your fingers, shout or throw your arms out to get the waiters attention

– Prepare to pace yourself so as not to be the first or last finished at the table

– Do not be tempted to food share or ask for a doggie bag

– Learn how to hold the glassware and select the beverages, including choosing the wine

– Excuse yourself and use the bathroom for grooming and removing food from teeth

– The host who has invited the diners should expect to pay

What are the correct cutlery positions?

Not finished: If you are talking around the table but haven’t finished eating your meal, you shouldn’t hold your cutlery in your hands. Rather, rest them on your plate in an upside down V with the tips of the utensils facing towards each other.

Finished: Place your knife and fork together in the centre of the plate, pointing to twelve o’clock. This will indicate to your attendee that you have finished. It is okay to place it pointing any position on the plate as long as the utensils are parallel to each other.

Source: Eat Drink Play  

How do you hold a wine glass?

Hold all stemmed wine glasses (red, white, etc) towards the base of the stem between your thumb, forefinger and middle finger.

You can treat holding and drinking out of stemless glasses just like normal drinking glasses and hold it towards the base.

Source:  Wine Folly

SOURCE: Daily Mail, by Laura House