Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 09 2014

Engaging Business Etiquette: Alcohol (Part three of a three-part series)

Rocco LaForgia, CASE - Director of Sales Worldwide Accounts, Hilton Worldwide

Alcohol is standard at many business meals and industry events. If you are at an event with your customer or boss and alcohol is offered, how do you know if it's OK to say yes or how to say no?

  • Allow your guest or boss to order first, and use that as your guide.  If a non-alcoholic drink is ordered, then you should do the same. 
  • If alcohol is being ordered, be sure not to order anything stronger than what your guest or boss is drinking.
  • Drinking alcohol is never required, even if your guest or others are drinking. If pressed, you can politely excuse yourself with a neutral comment, such as, No, thank you. Im not much of a wine drinker, but please, go right ahead.
  • It is also not necessary to match your customer drink for drink. No matter how well you think you hold your liquor, I recommend limiting yourself to one drink when in a business setting, advises Mannersmith Etiquette Consulting. Remember, you are a professional.  Nothing dispels a professional image like slurring one's words, losing one's balance, or saying something inappropriate. 
  • Learn to drink slowly. If you have more than one drink, alternate with glasses of water.  Youll feel better and think better.

Entertaining may be part of your job, but you always want to be perceived as a sharp and clear-headed professional.  Cheers!

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