Over time as our lives have become busier and busier our table manners have gone by the wayside, according to one expert.
Zarife Hardy, the founder of the Australian School of Etiquette, has specialised in etiquette for over 25 years and has shared with FEMAIL the rules we should follow.
She explained that the likes of Meghan Markle and Princess Mary of Denmark have undergone intensive etiquette training themselves to change their accents, how they hold themselves and their wardrobe.
‘Even royalty has to follow these basic rules of etiquette and table manners,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.
Zarife Hardy, the founder of the Australian School of Etiquette, taught FEMAIL correct table manners
Ms Hardy explained that although some people may not like to believe it, first impressions count.
‘Due to human biology we make up our minds about someone with seven seconds of meeting them, so it’s best to make a good impression,’ she said.
Posture plays an important part in how we present ourselves and how we are received – someone who is slouching instantly conveys the feeling to people that they don’t care about where they are or who they’re talking to.
Posture while sitting at the table is also important – women should sit with their knees and feet together or, like royalty, on a slant and men should sit slightly forward from the back of a chair to encourage correct posture.
Posture while sitting at the table is also important – women should sit with their knees and feet together and men should sit slightly forward
‘Men should imagine that there is an egg just above their bottom, which will encourage the correct sitting position because if they move back it will crack,’ she explained.
‘You also don’t need to be wearing designer clothing but you need to pay attention to small details like your hygiene and the condition of your nails.’
When it comes to the art of conversation, which is something she believes we all need to master, you need to make sure you’re balancing your questions with answers so that natural conversation is able to flow.
‘Please don’t be a person that shuts down conversation, if someone asks you a question don’t just say yes or no,’ she said.
‘Humans are very sensitive to micro expressions so to show that you are really listening occasionally raise your eyebrows, slowly nod your head and maintain eye contact.’
These days the etiquette surrounding napkins seem to have gone out the window but according to Ms Hardy it plays an important part when it comes to dining
These days the etiquette surrounding napkins seem to have gone out the window but according to Ms Hardy it plays an important part when it comes to dining.
‘The napkin should be out of sight and on your lap and the folded section should be closest to you.’ she said.
This means it is uncouth to be tucking it into your shirt or dress or bringing it up higher to stop food from spilling.
Although protecting our clothes from spills and even wiping perspiration is what many of us use them for, this is not what proper etiquette involves.
The reason that the napkin is there is so when there is some food remnants on your mouth you can bring up the corner of the napkin and dab it away.
To signal that you’re done with your meal you should then be placing it neatly on the back of your chair.
Ms Hardy told FEMAIL that there is a correct way to prepare your tea – and that’s milk second
When it comes to brewing the perfect cup of tea there has been an ongoing debate of how it should be done but according to Ms Hardy, but there is only one way.
She explained that if you have sugar in your tea you should be putting it in before anything else.
There has been a long held debate about whether you put in the milk first or last – if you were a servant or working class you would put milk in your cup first as your vessel would be made out of clay.
Doing this meant that you didn’t have to worry about the tea melting the cup.
If you were royalty or upper-class you would be drinking from bone china which meant you could afford to put the milk in second – in the world of etiquette this is also considered the correct way to prepare your tea.
When stirring the tea it is seen as uncouth to mix the teaspoon round and round – instead, it should be pushed back and forth
If we pay attention to tea customs when we watch movies, we would be doing it entirely wrong as they would have us believe that the correct way to hold your teacup would be poking out your pinky, but this is not correct.
The best way to hold the cup is by looping in both your thumb and forefinger through the handle so that they touch.
When stirring the tea it is seen as uncouth to mix the teaspoon round and round – instead, it should be pushed back and forth without making contact and once done rest it on the back of the saucer.
Most people know that when there are multiple sets of cutlery at your station you should start on the way out and move inwards, but not everyone knows the other intricacies involved in dining.
Forks go on the left and knives on the right side of the plate, with the knife blades positioned with the cutting side closest to the plate.
The fork and knife closest to the plate are for eating your main course and the bottom of each utensil should be in line.
The fork is meant to be held in the left hand, the knife in the right and the fork has to be held with the tines facing downwards while the knife is used to move food unto it
The dessert fork or spoon will be placed parallel or diagonal to the edge of the table near the top of your plate.
There is also a certain way the cutlery needs to be held: the fork is meant to be held in the left hand, the knife in the right and the fork has to be held with the tines facing downwards while the knife is used to move food unto it.
During the Victorian era how you placed your cutlery was the only indication servers would need to know if you had finished your meal.
In between bites the knife and fork should be crossed in the center of the plate with the fork tines pointed down to show that you’re still going.
Forks go on the left and knives on the right side of the plate, with the knife blades positioned with the cutting side closest to the plate
To indicate that you are done you need to position the knife and fork in the centre of the plate placed side by side.
‘Never ever put used cutlery back on the table, they must always go back on the tableware,’ Ms Hardy told FEMAIL.
‘If you are concerned with your dirty cutlery, ask the waitstaff for a new one.’
Australians love their food and we tend to bite off more than we can chew when we’re at the dinner table.
‘When taking mouthfuls we should only be eating a mouthful that is four or five chews worth,’ Ms Hardy explained.
‘This means if someone asks us a question they only have to wait 10 to 15 seconds before we can answer them.’
This also comes in hand when you take a bite of something you don’t like. As spitting into your napkin is simply not allowed the small bite won’t last long and you can wash it down with a gulp of water.
If you are at a high tea or eating finger food you should use three fingers to eat your food and if scones are on the menu you should twist them to break them instead of using your knife.