Today we rarely have food at the conference table, much less hold an important conference at the dining table.
In the Middle Ages, the meeting room and the banquet hall were often one and the same.
Your Auntie Mabel probably told you to keep your elbows off the dining table, eat with your mouth closed and ask to be excused from the table. There’s no proper aunt advising us on etiquette when we’re sitting around a conference table. But good manners are just as important in the workplace.
Most conference table etiquette boils down to one simple principle: be considerate.
If you are attending a meeting or presentation:
- Be on time. (enough said!)
- Remain attentive: no checking email on your Blackberry, fidgeting or daydreaming. Turn off your cell phone before the meeting or leave it behind. If there’s no clock in the room, set your watch in your lap under the conference table so you can check the time without the presenter noticing.
- Don’t leave the conference room during the meeting. Take a bathroom break just before if that is likely to be an issue. If leaving early is absoutely necessary and you have prior permission of the presenter, sit by the door to cause as little disruption as possible.
- If the topic is of vital interest to you and you have many questions to ask, try not to dominate the conversation; keep your questions brief, and be sure to let others have their say too. If the opposite is true, still come prepared with a question or two in case the discussion lags. And never interrupt.
If you are hosting a meeting or presentation:
- Only invite people who need to be there. Don’t waste people’s time by calling them into the conference room when their presence isn’t necessary.
- If you need extra time to set up or break down, reserve the conference room for the extra time. Don’t assume the space will be available early.
- If your presentation includes discussion time, give everyone the opportunity to ask questions. Treat everyone sitting around the conference table as equally important, regardless of the corporate hierarchy. Try not to let any one participant dominate, or derail the discussion with off-topic issues.
- The secret to successful meetings: however long your presentation is, always schedule it for ten minutes longer and finish “early.” Attendees will walk away from the conference table thinking you are the best presenter ever.
(And if you must rest your elbows on the conference table, at least your Auntie Mabel isn’t there to see it.)
The Yalta Conference, Feb 4-11, 1945.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin met in Yalta to plan the defeat of the Axis, and agree to terms of the eventual occupation of Germany.
(Remember the troops this Memorial Day weekend.)
Honed Absolute Black Granite has developed a reputation as a difficult or problem material due to fingerprints showing on the stone. We have even seen columns calling honed absolute black granite a “nightmare” which no one should ever use.
It is true that honed absolute black granite requires more maintenance than polished absolute black granite. And it is not possible to completely eliminate fingerprints. For that reason we do not recommend honed absolute black granite for high-use applications like kitchen countertops. But fingerprinting doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Understanding the honed finish and knowing how to work with it are the secrets to success with this beautiful stone.
In some cases, the reason that finger prints show up so much is that the final wash step has not been performed properly. Many crews emphasize multiple applications of Mineral Oil, while we emphasize getting it off again. With oil left on the surface, every time you touch it, you move oil around. The oil is meant to saturate the stone so that the pores do not accept oils from fingerprints. Fingerprint oils will show up as a stain if the pores are not evenly colored by oil already. We suggest the following technique to achieve an even finish:
Re-apply a thin layer of Mineral Oil so that the surface is consistent in color. (Use only cotton rags or a heavy weight paper towel/ shop rag for all steps.) Remove as much excess as possible with dry rags. Clean well with a large sponge, water and a mild dishwashing soap (we use Dove because it has a mild de-greaser). It is important not to apply dish soap directly to the top. Apply soap to the wet sponge. Wash well and rinse extremely well with wet rags. After the top has dried, we use Windex on a rag to even out areas that might still seem a little darker than the rest of the stone due, to too much oil left on that area.
Stoneline’s Benjamin Grey Stone is a warm grey stone from Jerusalem with soft veining in a sweeping pattern over the whole surface. It is an excellent choice for a conference table, executive desk, occasional table or infrequently used formal dining table. Benjamin Grey is a medium hard stone and some scratching can occur. We recommend coasters and placemats to protect your stone table top.
For general cleaning the stone can be wiped down with water, a little soap and a soft sponge. Dish washing soap and warm water will remove fingerprints and most other oily spots. Very stubborn stains can be removed with a bristle scrub brush and cleanser such as Ajax. (This type of cleaning however will remove the luster and the finish will have to be reapplied.)
Repeated washing on highly used table tops will slowly wear off the sealer. The surface may eventually appear duller. For periodic maintenance , we recommend applying another coat of mineral oil. Frequency depends on use but approximately once every two years for an occasionally used dining table.
To reapply mineral oil top coat, mix Watco Natural interior oil finish (Woodworkers Supply 800-645-9292) with 20% Mineral Spirits and apply a thin coat. Wipe off the excess with a clean rag. Buff the surface with a dry rag until there are no puddles or beads of oil. Any oil that dries on the surface will appear glossy and the procedure will need to be repeated. Let dry 24 hours.
Re-Sealing The Finish
If a problem such as a stubborn stain occurs, it may be necessary to re-seal the finish. First wash the top thoroughly with a clean, soft sponge and warm soapy water. (Tough oil stains may need to be scrubbed out with a bristle brush and Ajax.) Use Acetone (or stripper purchased from HMK) to strip the finish only if it is necessary. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly with clean water to remove all residue from the cleanser, as this may effect the finish. Let the stone dry (a fan speeds the dry time). With a large, clean, soft rag, wet the surface with the sealer (use gloves). Apply a thin even coat and wipe up the excess with a clean rag. Any sealer left puddled on the surface will dry glossy. If necessary, reapply after the surface appears dry. A 3rd coat may be necessary if the stone has been stripped.
A Honed (satin) finish with a 1″ hand-tooled border detail is standard on all our Benjamin Grey Stone table tops. Standard Benjamin Grey width is 3/4″ thick (an approximate width due to surface variation in the natural material). Stoneline produces Benjamin Grey table tops in any size up to 60×108″. Larger table tops are constructed in multiple pieces, up to 30′ long.