August 6, 2012
The Hunger Games
You’ve clinched a few deals over a meal.
Some were great. Others? Not so much! Here’s how to master the niceties, so you only have to take care of business at hand.
Wowing a client with your exemplary table manners helps move your business agenda forward, says Tina Hayes, etiquette expert and author of Getting Ahead With Etiquette.
“As the host, it is your responsibility to ensure your client’s experience is pleasurable,” she says. “Pay attention to details.”
First, there’s the correct decorum before dining.
One common mistake? Not checking dietary requirements prior to making reservations. Avoid taking your vegetarian A-list client to a steakhouse by checking preferences ahead of time.
If you don’t get a chance to ask, pick a restaurant with a wide menu selection.
Reconfirm the meeting the day before and exchange phone numbers in case of an emergency.
The person who invites, pays. Protocol-wise, there are no exceptions to this rule unless expressly agreed beforehand. Impress your client with your efficiency by arriving early and handing the restaurant your credit card before the meal commences.
Once your guest arrives, the general rule is not to discuss business during the onset of the meal.
“Be prepared to initiate small talk by having non-business conversation topics in mind,” says Hayes. Respect your client’s time; a business lunch should average an hour-and-a-half.
When finished, verbally express appreciation for your client’s time. Then send a thank you note. That’s also the right opportunity to recap the business points discussed during the meal.
Bonus PINK Link: Read eight more stellar tips in our online exclusive!
Click to tell us your power lunch secrets, or an etiquette dilemma with a client.
By Ruchika Tulshyan
“Civility costs nothing and buys everything.”
Mary Wortley Montague
*Supporting images from FreeDigitalPhotos.net,iprostocks, stockimages, and adamr