First things first, relax. By "properly" and "politely", I assume you are talking about table manners. Don't worry, once you understand the basics, you'll be ready to go. This meeting gives the interviewer the opportunity to study your reactions and gives them an indication of whether or whether not you are suitable co-worker. You can easily show them how well you perform in such situations if you display courtesy through good manners. Manners are not the only thing that they will watch for. They will also watch for social skills, conversational skills, and your ability to listen. If you show them that you are someone who is relaxed and has decent manners, they would know that you are able to focus and follow instructions. In fact, manners start before you even eat.
Before eating, wait until everyone is seated. Usually you would be assisted by the nearest man or you would assist an older person. If you have a large handbag, place it on the floor or hang it onto the back of your chair. If it's very small and there's space, you can leave it on your lap or on the table. Once seated, place a napkin on your lap and if you ever have to leave the table, leave your napkin on the chair. The only time you should leave it on the table is when the meal has ended. Keep your hand in your lap until you are served. If you need to; cough, sneeze or blow your nose in an inconspicuous manner. Cover your mouth with a napkin or your hand, turn your head away from the table and don't forget to blow quietly. If sneezing (or coughing) persists or something is stuck in your mouth, excuse yourself and go to the bathroom. Before going to the table, blot your lipstick to prevent stains on napkins and glass. If you have any dental appliances, remove it secretly before coming to the table and replace it subtly after the meal. Never leave it on the table. If you find any bones, seeds or pits in your meal, discreetly remove them from your mouth (using your thumb and index finger) and place them on the edge of your plate. Displaying manners expresses your neatness, cleanliness and noiselessness.
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You should wait for the manager to indicate when it is time to eat. Remember to keep your elbows off the table and sit up straight while eating. Do not focus on just manners and eating with the right utensils; engage in the conversation with a pleasant attitude. This way people understand that you are interested and willing to contribute. It is a courtesy to the cook or contributor to taste a little bit of everything. Eating utensils follow a specific pattern in which you start from the outside and work your way to the center (middle of your place setting). If you do not know what to use, watch the manager. A common mistake people make is using the wrong spoon and fork. If you find them at the top of the place setting, it is meant for dessert. Never reach across the table or a neighbour for an item; instead politely ask the nearest person to it to pass it to you. Pass both the salt and pepper, whether salt or pepper was asked for. Take how much you can eat and your share only, which can be determined by how much others eat. Wait until a second helping has been offered, before taking more. Make sure your fork and knife are balanced properly on your plate if it needs to be passed on. If you have finished eating and others are still eating, wait at the table until everyone has finished and converse enjoyably with others without disrupting them. Avoid touching someone else's food or using your fingers to pick up food from the main serving dish (or plate). These are common guidelines that you should follow when eating, but there are more specific manners based on specifically what you eat.
What you eat influences the way it should be properly eaten. For example, when served appetizers with sauces, spoon a portion of sauce onto your plate and don't just dip your food into the main bowl. If there are no plates, it is okay to dip your food into the main bowl but refrain from "double dipping". Use the small fork, farthest from your plate or on the serving plate, for seafood cocktail. A teaspoon is used for fruit cocktail. Once you are finished, place the fork or spoon onto the plate before it is taken from the table. Once appetizers are finished you are typically served bread and butter. Using the butter knife or small serving fork, take a reasonable amount of butter and place it on your bread-and-butter plate. Before eating or buttering the bread, break it into smaller pieces. Next, soup would be served. Soup is often hard to eat tidily and quietly. Use your thumb and forefinger to hold the spoon, similarly the same way you would hold a fork. When dipping the spoon into the bowl, move the spoon's outside edge away from you. If it is too hot, you can either wait for it to cool or carefully fan it with your spoon. Sip quietly from the side of the spoon, not the tip. When eating anything, do not bend your head down to the bowl and instead, raise the utensil to your mouth. Also make sure that your "eating hand" does not touch the table during the meal. Salad is usually served after soup and is eaten with the dinner fork (if served with the main course) or with a salad fork (if served separately). The salad fork is located on the far left of your main course plate. If eating salad after the main course, you would be provided with fork later. If you come cross large pieces of salad, you can either cut or roll them up one at a time using your knife and fork. If finished, place the cutlery on the salad plate with the fork (tines facing down) beside the knife in the "five o'clock position". Then you would be served the main course.
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When eating your entrée, you would usually eat using the "Continental Style". If right-handed, hold your knife with your right hand and your fork with your left hand. If you are left-handed, then the opposite would apply. Remember, it is considered impolite to cut all your food at once. To prevent food from falling off the plate, hold the fork closely to the knife. Ensure that food is cut (do not tear) into pieces that would fit nicely in your mouth. Consider other people's personal space and keep your elbows to yourself, especially when cutting food. Take small bites and eat slowly with your mouth closed; never talk with food in your mouth. Spaghetti is hard to eat politely but to do so, gather a few strands of spaghetti with your fork. Wrap the strands around the fork tines, while holding the points against a large spoon, to form a ball that can neatly and quietly be placed in your mouth. If you are having trouble getting food onto your fork, use the tip of your knife to push the food onto the fork. Swallow the food in your mouth before taking a sip of beverage. Do not drink a beverage directly from a bottle or can and do not bring one to the table. If drinking a beverage from a container, pour it into a glass and drink from the glass without slurping. Never prop your knife and fork on the sides of the plate or place the knife between the fork's tines. If in the middle of eating, place the knife and fork crossed on the place. If finished, place fork (tines facing down) beside the knife in the "five o'clock position". Do not move your plate, unless asked to. Lastly, dessert will be served. The dessert spoon or fork may be provided at the end or may be the only utensil left at your place (unless there is also a beverage spoon). Just because the meal is done, doesn't mean you are done with manners.
At the end of the meal, if a finger bowl is offered, dip one hand at a time, swish gently and dry on napkin. Do not comb your hair or apply make-up at the table. Wait until the manager places their napkin on the table or asks if people would like to leave the table, signaling the end of the meal. Never get up until the manager rises. On the left side of your plate, lay your napkin loosely before leaving. Thank the manager through a polite gesture such as a telephone call or a note.
Table manners are like any other skills and require practice. A great way to practice is to go out with your friends and perform these skills. After practice, manners will be like an instinct and you would be able to run through the meal as if it were a common routine. Also you would be able to casually converse without having to worry about whether you are being polite. Learning proper table manners allows you to be comfortable and be ready in any situation. If you are not sure, follow the manager and others. Always be alert for any changes and be ready to adapt to these changes. Good luck and hopefully you'll impress your future co-workers with your table manners!