In this day and age, business is being conducted outside the four walls of your company office. Business deals and transactions are occurring at golf courses, entertainment events, social venues and restaurants. There are many dynamics to building business relations, partnerships and associations. In order to maneuver through situations with grace and diplomacy, we suggest learning the right etiquette for successful and pleasant business meetings.
Listed below are five helpful tips for business dinning etiquette:
If you are scheduled to have a business breakfast, lunch or dinner it is important to arrive early to the location. Arriving early is a subtle form of etiquette and courtesy. You are basically respecting everyone’s time by not arriving late. By arriving early, you have the opportunity to use the restroom, check your messages, turn off your electronics and reduce any distractions during the business meal.
If the date, location and time for your business event have already been determined, we suggest you visit the restaurant website to view the menu and get directions. Previewing the menu early, gives you adequate time to select what you would like to eat. You can even select one or two dishes in case they are out of a particular order. This is very helpful for the day of the business event, because you are able to make a quicker decision on your meal without wasting time or prolonging the order status for the entire table.
99 Bottles of Beer
You should determine before the business meal if you will be ordering alcohol. You can ask the host of the event, fellow colleagues or your boss, if it is OK to order wine, a cocktail, beer or other alcoholic beverages. Also, keep the client or nature of the business meal in mind if you decide to order alcohol. If this is the first meeting, we strongly suggest that you refrain from consuming alcohol. If you are comfortable with your business counterparts and have good business relations, then ordering alcohol might not be a bad decision. Make sure that you are familiar with your tolerance level and drink responsibly.
Talk the Talk
Before the business event, take some time to think about topics to discuss during the meal. This would be a great time to brush up on current events, sports, business trends, entertainment, travel, technology etc. You can also visit the company sites of your business counterparts to learn about their business culture, objectives, missions or current projects that may be national or international. Try to refrain from controversial topics that may not be appropriate during the business meeting.
Make sure to bring extra cash with you whenever you attend business events such as these. Although you may not be paying for the meal, you may have to pay cash for transportation, parking, valet or any other activities after the business event. ATM machines may be difficult or inconvenient to find, depending on the location of the business event. And not all restaurants/venue expect every credit card or personal/business checks.