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Effective Business Lunches Made Simple

December 18th, 2012

It is said that breaking bread can build powerful bonds. That’s one reason the business lunch can be such an effective tool for opening a rapport or closing a deal. Here’s some food for thought on how to make the most of your time across the table from a client.

  • DO make things as easy as you can on your lunch guest. Know what type of food they like to eat, don’t make them travel too far (especially with volatile gas prices) and choose a location with adequate and inexpensive parking if at all possible. 
  • If you plan to conduct serious business, DO choose a restaurant that is quiet and presents a variety of seating choices. A booth is better than a table in the middle of the room. Make sure your guest faces the wall (and you) rather than out to the restaurant, to minimize distractions.
  • DO listen more than you speak. DON’T interrupt. It’s not about what you want, it’s about what they need.
  • DO treat your server and the staff well. Being difficult in a social situation sends the message to your potential client that you may be difficult to deal with in a business situation in the future. 
  • DON’T be too aggressive. It’s lunch, not a deposition. 
  • DO stay positive, even if things out of your control go wrong. Remember, your guest is sizing you up just as you are sizing them up.
  • DO plan to arrive 10 to 15 minutes early. You’ll have time to relax and your guest won’t be left waiting for you. 
  • DON’T order anything potentially messy. You can avoid potential embarrassment with a simple entrée. 
  • DO tip well. It will come in handy the next time you choose that restaurant for a business lunch. 
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