Students Learn Business Etiquette, Mingle with Alumni and Employers at Career Development Event

News Story: March 21, 2013

Sacred Heart University’s Office of Career Development and the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Education and Health, and the John F. Welch College of Business hosted a formal Etiquette Dinner for students on Tuesday, November 13. The event—sponsored in part by The New York Times—was conducted by nationally-renowned specialist Ann Marie Sabath, president and founder of At Ease, Inc.

Approximately 125 graduate and undergraduate students from the full spectrum of SHU’s colleges and programs were invited to the event. In addition to Sabath’s presentation, the students networked and dined with alumni and representatives from local corporations, including Enterprise Rent-a-Car, Federated Insurance, General Electric, People’s Bank, UBS and Pitney Bowes.

“The purpose of the dinner was for the students to gain real-life exposure about how to conduct themselves in the business world,” said Heather Marchand, SHU’s assistant director of Career Placement. “It allowed the students the experience of mingling with employers, while learning how to act in a professional manner in a way they can’t learn in a classroom.”

The event began with Sabath’s hour-long presentation on how to conduct oneself in the subsequent business social settings. “She discussed how to make a first powerful impression, why it’s important to follow up, how to stay motivated until you land the job of your dreams and how to mix and mingle in style,” Marchand said. “She also addressed the intent of business meals, the etiquette of seating protocol, where to position your most important guest, five key rules for using a napkin, how to handle difficult-to-manage foods, when to begin talking business during a meal, and how to avoid the most commonly made dining faux pas.”

The presentation was followed by a 20-minute mix-and-mingle, followed by dinner.

To assist with discussion-starters, each student was provided a randomly clipped article from that day’s New York Times, which he or she discussed in casual conversation while networking during the evening. “Ann Marie discussed how to peruse news articles and find ways to incorporate current topics into speaking with employers,” Merchand said. “They learned that talking business isn’t always about talking just business.”

At Ease is an 18-year old firm specializing in domestic and international business etiquette programs. Sabath and her staff have trained more than 50,000 people in the business, industry, government and education sectors.

Sabath is the author of the books Business Etiquette in Brief and 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy. She has been a recent guest on 20/20, CNN, CNBC and The Oprah Winfrey Show.