When you're chewing gum or sucking on a piece of candy, usually you can move it to the inside of your cheek if you need to talk. But talking with your mouth full or being expected to answer a question just as you put a forkful of food in your mouth requires first knowing that that's unacceptable behavior. Thankfully, there's a proper way to avoid what could be an embarrassing -- possibly gross -- experience.

Conversation Timing

When you're enjoying a meal with friends or associates, it's rare that someone is watching to see when you take a bite of your meal so as to make a comment or ask a questions at the right time. So don't be surprised if a question is directed to you just as you put a bite of food in your mouth. If the person notices, she'll likely understand that you can't answer until you've finished chewing and swallowing your food. Otherwise, manage a smile, put down your fork and raise your napkin to your mouth. If you're in a casual environment, it could be appropriate to raise your finger that suggests, "Wait a second until I'm finished eating."