Business lunches are a great way to have a casual meeting with clients and employees. Sitting down for a meal provides the opportunity to not only conduct business but also get to know one another on a more personal level. Even though a business lunch can be casual you still want to be prepared. If you are not prepared for the lunch it can leave a bad impression. Follow these steps to make sure you are ready for your next business lunch so you can leave with a positive impression.
1. Consider the Setting
You have many choices of where to host your lunch. Take into consideration all the factors of the lunch. It doesn't hurt to ask the client where he or she prefers to eat. The last thing you want is to have someone not eat because of dietary restrictions. If you decide to cater in the office have a plan of where and what you will eat. If you don't know what to order don't be afraid to ask. DeliverThat handles plenty of lunches and can share what people in the past have ordered. Whatever venue you choose, it is important to be prepared. Anticipate what to expect and display proper etiquette throughout the meeting.
2. Be on Time
Be respectful of the meeting time. Arrive early and check the small details, especially if you are having an in-office lunch catered. Be prepared with a schedule for the meeting. What will you talk about? When will you eat? The meeting doesn't have to be strictly followed but it is a good plan to have an idea of what will take place. When the clients arrive don't dive right into the food. If you eat right away the meeting may be cut short and you may not get to everything you wanted to cover. Instead, start with small talk and lead into everything slowly.
3. Be a Good Listener
The last thing someone wants to do is show up to a meeting and not get a chance to speak. As the host, it is important to ask questions and let the clients speak. Being a good listener follows the proper etiquette of a meeting. Keep your phone off and in your pocket during the meeting. Even the slightest peak of the phone can come off as rude. If others see you focusing on the conversation it shows you truly care about what they have to say.
4. Pick Up the Check
Be a good host by paying for everyone's meal. An easy tip is to give the waiter your credit card when you arrive. This way there is no awkward confusion when the waiter asks how to divide the bill at the end of the meal. Another way to avoid this situation is by catering food at your office. This way everyone can walk in and eat a meal that is already paid for. Regardless of the setting, paying for a meal will show respect for the clients and coworkers and leave a positive impression.
5. Enjoy Yourself
Lastly, the most important tip of all; Just enjoy yourself. No one wants to attend a meeting where they feel uncomfortable. Taking the time to slow down and enjoy yourself will not only make it easier on you but for others as well. Business lunches are not all business. Take the time to meet the people at the lunch. Relax and enjoy yourself. Remember that this is a great opportunity to get to know your clients and coworkers.