8 TIPS FOR A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS LUNCH
Meetings don’t happen only inside the traditional meeting room. Business lunches are a great opportunity to discuss and close deals. The more relaxing setting and a tasty meal are a good combination for success. However, beware of the differences between a business and a informal lunch with friends. Here are some tips about what to do and what not to do during a business lunch.
WHO CHOOSES THE RESTAURANT? If you’re inviting, offer up some suggestions and let your guests pick. If they don’t have an opinion then it’s up to you. But be careful and try to anticipate their preferences. You don’t want to bring a vegetarian to a steakhouse, for exemple. If your guests chose the place, don’t forget to compliment them on the choice.
TURN OFF YOUR PHONE Now is not the time to be checking incoming email or texting your colleagues. Just don’t. Focus on your lunch.
DON’T SEAT FIRST If you arrive to the restaurant ﬁrst, wait for your guests to arrive before going to your table. Sitting down ﬁrst will make it harder for your guests to ﬁnd you.
ORDER THE SAME DISH Let your guests order ﬁrst. Then, when you order, skip both the most expensive and the cheapest items on the menu, to avoid signalling to your guests that you’re focused on the price tag and they might feel uncomfortable with their own selections.
WHEN TO START TALKING ABOUT BUSINESS? If you’re having a social conversation, don’t bring up business until you have received your drinks and ordered your meals. Then, when business talk starts, frame the conversation around your guests’ business before jumping in.
MIND YOUR MANNERS Remember what your mother taught you: bring your food to your mouth, not viceversa; use your salad fork for the salad, and tilt the soup bowl away from you. Manners will always give a good impression.
PICK UP THE CHECK If you’re the one who arranged the meeting, then you’re the host, and you need to act that way by handling the bill, but making sure your guest is comfortable.
HAVE FUN Be yourself! There is a reason you’re not in the ofﬁce. At lunch people can relax and have a good time, and they’re more likely to open up, making it easier to strengthen a business relationship.
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