Friday, June 20, 2008

Business Meals Etiquette

No, a business meal is not just a meeting with food. It’s a test, really. It spotlights your social skills, your ability to plan and organize, and your level of sophistication. Take these occasions very, very seriously, and prepare for them carefully. Assume that you will be the host of a business lunch or dinner. Seeing the situation from the point of view of the host will make you a more knowledgeable and confident guest.
The host must decide, up front, that the best way to accomplish the agenda is to control the process from beginning to end. The host’s job is to eliminate distractions and to keep the focus on the purpose of the meal.
Here are some guidelines to keep in mind:
  • Don’t experiment. Save that for when you are feeling adventurous. Instead, frequent a couple of good restaurants and become known as a “regular.” Become familiar with the menu. Get to know the maître d’ or manager.
  • Don’t be a big spender. Except for celebrations, extravagance shows bad manners and bad strategy in the business arena. Pick a quality restaurant known for its reliable service. Don’t show off by consistently ordering the most expensive choices in food and wine. Your guests might feel they have to reciprocate, and they are likely to conclude that you are reckless with money—and therefore apt to be reckless in other areas.

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