The business lunch can be stressful, as nerve wrecking as an interview. Sometimes it can feel like an interview. It can also bring about a world of questions. Who pays? What should we talk about? Vegas Networking Pros has outlined some basic tips that can help you feel at ease your next business luncheon. Remember it is not about the food, but about the connection.
Before You Sit Down
There are several things you can do beforehand that can help you focus on the lunch. The less details you have to figure out on the spot, the more relaxed you’ll be. The more relaxed you’ll be, the better connection you will make.
- Most restaurants have thier menu online. Figure out what you might want to order will help keep things on track and is one less distraction.
- If you are responsible for hosting the lunch, give your credit card to the hostess or server. This will help avoid the always awkward song and dance of who is paying at the end. This will also show initiative, which is sure to impress your colleagues.
- It is best to wait for your party to show up before you sit down. If this is not an option, find out where you are going to be seated. Then as a courtesy the modern way, send your lunch guests a text as to where the lunch party will be seated.
The Art Of Small Talk
Small talk It is an enviable part of business. You really can’t do business without it. So don’t fight it, and just embrace the small talk. For some, it can come naturally. For others it can be a source of stress. Sometimes it feels like we are being put on the spot. As we desperately search our heads for relative topics, the natural flow of conversation can die. There are several steps you can take to keep your lunch on track.
- Make a list of questions that you would like to ask your business lunch date. These “small talk” questions should not be overly personal.
- Also be prepared to answer questions of your own. Any question you ask your lunch date, you should be able to answer yourself.
- Don’t force the conversation. Be sensitive to how much your lunch date is willing to share.
- Lunch dates are a great opportunity to take business outside of the office. Take advantage of that fact. Save the business for in the office and get to know your colleagues in a different light.
Keep the conversation flowing naturally but don’t let it delay the meal. Lunch meetings can quickly slip away. Being in an enviroment outside of the office can change the dynamic. But be respectful of others time, and not to take up too much more of there day.
Mind Your Manners
Reminding us that we were are civilized human beings seems like an obvious pointer. Yet, If airport travel has taught anything, its everyone could use a refresher nowadays.
- Of course follow the basics: no elbows on the table, don’t talk with your mouthful. We have opposable thumbs, use your utensils.
- That being said, try to order food that is not going to require a bib, or to eat anything of the bone.
- Go with the flow. If everyone else is ordering soup and salad. Order a starter option as well. You don’t want to stare at everyone while they eat. In same token, don’t order dessert if everyone is ready to head back to the office.
- Be kind to to the waitstaff. Showing how you treat others can only help to make a good impression.
- Don’t check your phone and turn of your ringer. Show that you are present and fully focused on making good business conections.
- Finally, try to listen more than you talk. Are you there to exchange ideas or get to know your lunch date? If you are hogging the talk time then you will walk away with no better understanding of your lunch date.
In a fast past world, sometimes a lunch date can seem like a huge dent in day. But this is an opportunity to show people who you are. Or least give them a chance to get to know you outside of the office. These kind of connections are more lasting and work better than any business card. People are more likely to do business with you, when they get a sense of your character. In turn, this also give you the same chance to get to know your colleagues. So be yourself and take advantage of great opportunity.