Business lunch is a good way to break the ice, ease a little tension or simply, just a time to catch up on business.
To some, it’s a strategic way to get to know a person a little better. Whatever the reason is, lunch is always a good idea. Let’s take a look at some pointers to make your business lunch even better.
Hassling or worse still, haggling over cheque is not cool. Do not wait around for him or her to reach out for the cheque. If you asked the other party out to lunch, you pay.
Latest restaurant, keep it for another time. Go to an establishment you are familiar with – better still, a place where they know you well and give exceptional service. Make sure the place is quiet and conducive to talk. This way, you know you will have peace of mind entertaining the client without having to constantly worry about the nitty-gritty.
Don’t order first. The rule of the game is to always allow your client to order first and follow his or her lead. Be proactive in dealing with dietary restrictions. Mirror your client’s preferences. ie. if the client orders pasta and soda, do the same. You do not want to be ordering a 5-course meal and make him or her wait for you to end your ‘gastronomic journey’ even if the lunch promotion is oh-so-irresistible!
Avoid poor table manners. Don’t chew with your mouth open, use your napkin, excuse yourself if you need to leave the table, put your utensils on the plate; not table and if you really need to do lunch with alcohol, never go overboard. Oh yes, be respectful when talking to the wait staff. Bad manners and etiquette can leave a lasting impression,
Try not to check your phone. If you are expecting an important call or email, let the other party know beforehand. That way, you can answer the call or read the email without coming across as rude. It will be totally understandable why your phone is on the table too. Otherwise, silent your phone and leave it in the pocket or bag. That Facebook reminder on someone’s birthday and a reply from that cute person on LinkedIn can wait. Your attentiveness will show your sincerity to the other party.
Keep an eye on the time. A business lunch should always be limited to no longer than one hour and a half. That said, take cues from the situation; he might need to run to another meeting or she hinted that she has a mountain of outstanding tasks in the office.