It was no ordinary mixer. At Santa Clara University Wednesday night, students learned the art of etiquette.
"I'd like to offer a few tips on networking etiquette," said etiquette coach Sharyn Amoroso to a crowd of students.
In a time when California's unemployment rate is still in double digits, and just landing a job requires several meetings in formal settings on occasion, the students realized they're at a loss.
"When to put your napkin down, is it right away? When you eat, do you put your utensils on the plate at a diagonal?" asked Diane Henderson, a Santa Clara student.
That's where Amoroso comes in. She gets people prepped for dinner at the White House. She started with how to carry a drink while working a room.
"Carry your drink in your left hand so that your right hand is always dry, clean, free and ready to shake," said Amoroso.
There's even a right way and a wrong way to wear a name badge. It should go on the right side, just below your shoulder, because most people are right handed and when they go to shake your right hand, their line of sight goes to your right shoulder.
If an interview involves a dinner, other tips to keep in mind are: never order an expensive entrée, try to stay in a mid price range. You should also avoid dishes with heavy sauces, shells or bones because there is a chance it could get messy. Stick to a one-drink maximum. And always wait until the entire table is served before you eat.
"Because it's so competitive, they really need to raise their game and have that edge of professionalism," said Amoroso.
Students and members of the ROTC learned about table settings, the proper way to eat soup, and even how to cut meat, because knowing how to correctly break bread could mean all the difference.