Archive for Sunday, March 25, 2001

SUNDAY FRONT BRIEFCASE

March 25, 2001

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on eating etiquette

Business professionals find themselves entertaining and eating business more often as they climb the corporate ladder, says etiquette expert Barbara Pachter. But if the pros can't handle themselves at lunch or dinner, why should employers think they could handle the big account or a bigger job?

Here are Pachter's top picks for the business meal blunders all business professionals should avoid:

l Holding up the order. Decide quickly or at least by the time everyone else is ready. Don't ask the waiter to explain everything on the menu. Persons will come across as indecisive and annoying.

l Ordering messy meals. Stick to a manageable meal you can eat with a fork.

l Don't order a juicy hamburger or linguini. And if you don't know how to eat something, don't order it.

l Taking someone else's bread or drinking out of another person's glass. In most place settings, your bread plate is on their left and your water glass is on the right.

l Holding your fork as if it were a pitchfork. When you're speaking, keep utensils down. Don't wave your fork or knife in the air.

l Licking your utensils or fingers. Never use your hand to clear crumbs off the table.

l Drinking too much alcohol. It's always better and safer to abstain. If you drink, limit yourself to one glass.

l Fighting over the check. The host is the person who did the inviting and that person pays the bill, regardless of gender.

For a copy of Pachter's newsletter, Competitive Edge, call (856) 751-6141 or click on www.pachter.com. It contains tips and strategies for business professionals.

STUDY

Companies study ants

to improve production

Ants are teaching some companies how to improve their operations.

Bios Group, a Santa Fe, N.M.-based company that uses a branch of managerial science to solve business problems, has developed a mathematical formula based on the behavior of ants to design corporate strategies.

Stuart Kauffman, the company's founder, said ants tend to gravitate toward the closest food source to their nests. As they return from the supply, the spindly-legged insects leave behind a pheromone trail, leading their brethren to the same place.

Kauffman said the formula based on this activity enables companies to determine the best way to produce their goods in the shortest time.

For example, Unilever, the Anglo-Dutch consumer products giant, adopted the method -- incorporated into software -- to improve efficiency at some of its plants by reducing the number of steps needed to mix liquid materials.

MOTLEY FOOL

Name that company

I was launched in 1963 with $5,000. Today I'm the largest direct seller of skin-care products in the United States, with annual sales topping $1 billion. My independent sales force is composed of more than 750,000 people in some 35 countries. My founder used the Golden Rule as her guiding philosophy, and encouraged employees and sales-force members to prioritize their lives: God first, family second, career third. (She's written several best sellers, too.) Today, I hold a 17 percent share of the men's skin-care market. Some of my top salespeople travel in something that Bruce Springsteen has sung about. Who am I?

l For last week's answer and more Motley Fool, please see page 3E.

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