Business meals have always been used as a great strategy to build or strengthen relationships. Certain businesses can be conducted over a meal and will make you a winner in advancing the relationship into the next level while discussing business or closing deals away from the regular office interruptions.
Sometimes, you want to entertain your guests yet conduct your business and close that deal. But before you invite that VIP client, customer, or even your colleague to lunch, check this ‘to do’ list, as a host, to avoid the odds at any level.
-Choose a restaurant. When you are inviting a client to discuss business, avoid the adventure of trying new places and stick to your favorite restaurant, where you’re familiar with the food served and prices.
- Choose your table. You want to make sure that you are taking the full attention of your clients when you start discussing business matters without any interruptions. Pick a table that is away from the main entrance, the kitchen entrance and the waiters’ path. Make sure that you pick the best seat for your guests.
-Be precise about the place and time. When you extend the invitation, make sure to be clear with the address of the restaurant and the place of the meeting. You don’t want your guests to wait at the bar while you are waiting for them at the table. Arrive 10 minutes earlier, as a host, to greet your guests. It is important to inform your guests about the business discussion.
-Start the meal. As a host you should be the one who lead the others. When everyone is seated, place your napkin on your lap and welcome your guests with a toast as a start of the meal sign.
-When to start the business talk. Obviously, the purpose of the meeting is to discuss business, but since it is conducted over a meal, a social element is added to it. Start with the social talk at first and smoothly switch into the business talk. The etiquette convey that the business talk should start when you are done with the first course.
-Watch your table manners. Your manners can tell a lot about you. Mastering the art of etiquette would make you feel confident to discuss business without being worried about the small little details around you. Your posture at the table, how to break your bread and how to use your napkin, are some of the important things you should know.
-Thank you. When all is said and done, don’t forget to thank your guests for attending. Stand up and shake hands with everybody before leaving.
These are few tips for a successful business meal. To know more details about how to ‘Dine Like a Diplomat’ from planning a business meal, extending invitations, protocol of seating, napkins use, host and guest duties, the silent service code and dining do’s and don’ts, join me for ‘Dine Like a Diplomat’ seminar.