These days, while an online presence is important and impacts business relationships, face-to-face interaction is still vital. In our technology-overloaded society, it’s essential to know how to make the most of the chances we have to make a professional connection “in real life.”
Here are a few tips for how to have a productive, yet fun, business lunch meeting:
If you’re starving and haven’t eaten all day, you won’t be able to focus on the conversations at hand. It also looks bad if all you’re doing is wolfing down to the last bite on your plate. Make sure you eat a small snack before lunch like a granola bar or a bigger breakfast before so you can give your meeting your full attention.
Preparing for the restaurant beforehand is important so you aren’t indecisive in choosing what to eat. It’s also good to have a few choices of dishes at hand to suggest to your dining partner, or to help start a lighter conversation. If you’re choosing the venue, consider finding somewhere that offers a balance between a laid back bar and a high-end restaurant, such as the new Notch 8, at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. This kind of venue offers a layout that caters to professionals, with ample seating that isn’t cramped, a noise level ideal for conversation, and the ability to feel comfortable in a thoughtfully-designed high-end space.
It’s time to get back to the basics, ladies and gentlemen. Don’t talk with your mouth full or chew with your mouth open. Cut bite-sized portions so you won’t be stuffing your face unintentionally. Also, make sure to not lean in on the table or rest your elbows against it.
You’re not the only one at the table who has tasks to finish and other business matters to attend to. Be respectful and provide your full attention to the lunch meeting, and stay focused. Put your phone out of sight so that it doesn’t look like you’re anxiously waiting for a call or trying to find something more interesting to do.
Typically, the person who did the inviting to the business meeting handles the bill. If this is you, in a discreet manner, take the initiative to pay for the cheque once given to the table. Alternatively, arrange with the host or your server in advance to bring you the cheque. If you are the invitee, don’t make a grab for the bill.
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