Engaging in Proper Dinner Conversation

When making and maintaining dinner conversation in a business setting, certain rules should be followed. Topics should be chosen that address subjects that all people dining are familiar with. Controversial or unpleasant topics should be avoided to reduce chances of disputes and awkwardness (politics, religion, personal health, etc.).

Additionally, individuals should be active listeners and try to get everyone involved with the conversation. Generally, sticking to non-controversial news events is a good idea. You should be aware of current events that could impact you or your colleagues and that might come up during a dinner conversation.

For specific examples of situations to avoid and for topics that are safe to mention while dining, listen to the following examples.

The following audio clip illustrates two examples of inappropriate conversations to have with professional peers:

The following audio clip illustrates two examples of appropriate conversations to have with colleagues:

Think about It!
Can you think of a time when you felt uncomfortable because of a conversation that someone you were around started? What was the topic? Why did you feel uneasy?

Can you think of a time when you started a conversation and clearly made someone around you feel discomfort? How did you handle the situation? Can you think of a better way of behaving in the future?

In addition to the topics listed on this page, can you think of other subjects to avoid during professional dining?

Besides the safe topics mentioned in this section, can you think of any other appropriate conversation starters?