Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

How to Survive a Professional Dinner

This week, the president of my company organized a dinner for all of us interns and our mentors as a way for us to get to know each other better. That was my first time attending a professional dinner and I had no idea what to expect. But after surviving it, and actually having fun, here are some tips for standing out at a professional dinner:

  1. Don’t be shy.
    Remember, the people around you in your table are also human beings. They have families, hobbies, and a life outside the office. Don’t be afraid to talk about your personal life and what you like to do for fun. Loosen up!
  2. Be conservative.
    But of course, be careful about what you share. Even though a dinner is a “social” setting, do not become too comfortable to the point where you share about the crazy things that you did last weekend with your best friends.
  3. Go to other tables.
    Go and introduce yourself to other people in other tables! Don’t just stick with the people in your table! A professional dinner is a great opportunity to meet other people from different departments that you would not be able to see otherwise.
  4. Silences are okay, too.
    As with every group settings, there will sometimes be moments where no one is talking. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone. Do not think you are doing something wrong because you aren’t filling up that silence. Let conversations naturally flow.
  5. Don’t use your phone!
    Throughout dinner, I felt my phone buzz with notifications from Facebook and Snapchat. However, I did not look once. No one wants to see someone, especially an intern, stuck to their phones instead of talking to the people around the dinner table.

These are just a few tips that I came up with based on my experience. Let me know if you have more to add!