Executive Chronicles | How to Make Good Impression at your Next Business Lunch | It doesn’t matter how many business lunches you’ve attended when it comes to getting ready for your next one. Namely, that particular one might be the most important so far, which is why you need to be prepared for it.
It’s sometimes easy to forget that such events are focused much more on the conversation you’re going to have with your (prospective) business partners than on the food and drinks. That is why we’ve put together this list of important tips, which should help you through the basics.
The firsts step, obviously, is to decide on where to eat and when. If you inform your business partners that you’re free at any time, you’ll come across as desperate, which is something you want to avoid. Next, try to book a place close to those you’re going to have lunch with. Also, if you know about their dietary preferences, make sure you book the right establishment. If you are the one organizing a business lunch, you might want to show your creativity by choosing a place that is unusual. You could opt for a café or a restaurant with an impressive lunch menu, but your decision depends largely on the outcome you expect and the impression you want to leave. In general, you should avoid bars, steak joints and high-end restaurants, since such establishments could be either too distracting or they might send a message you’re trying too hard.
Do your homework
Business lunches resemble traditional meetings in so many ways. So, you need to send your partner a brief, friendly reminder the day before. Also, think about your pitch, their work info (and personal information provided it’s not too deep). Make sure you arrive around 10 minutes early and be there to greet the guests. If you’ve never been to the selected establishment, you might want to doublecheck how much time it will take you to get there. Your lunch date might enjoy going somewhere else after lunch, like whisky or cigar lounge, and you’ll be expected to follow them. If you’re a regular or occasional smoker, it’s a good idea to bring your modern e-cigarette and join the fun.
To begin with, you should avoid ordering food that might make a mess. Nobody wants to ruin their clothes and look ridiculous while trying to leave a great impression on others. Next, you should put your phone away to show that you’re not interested in talking to anyone else and that your lunch partner has your undivided attention. It’s also important to remember not to start eating until everyone has been served, to keep your elbows off the table and chew with your mouth closed. When it comes to ordering alcohol, you should probably refrain from it, unless your lunch date orders a drink first. However, if you’re not accustomed to drinking alcohol, it might be a bad idea to order some drinks just to impress others. Don’t forget that the person who asked for the meeting is supposed to pick up the check. So, if this one’s on you, ask for the bill and put your credit card firmly down with a smile.
Never leave a business lunch without an agreement to follow up on it. This could be an e-mail exchange, another meeting or lunch or even a visit to your partner’s company, but the most important thing is to use a business lunch to strengthen your relation and as a steppingstone to a more successful cooperation. If, however, you and your lunch date realize that no future agreement can be reached, make sure you still maintain an amiable relationship, since that would definitely leave a great impression on them and they will be likely to recommend you to other businesspeople, who might be interested in working with you.
These simple tips are very important when it comes to making a good impression at a business lunch. If you play your cards right, one business lunch can bring about so many benefits to your company that the effort and resources invested in organizing it will pay off significantly.