While a lot of business talk can be done at your place of work or through other forms of communication, many people still prefer the traditional business lunch or dinner to truly get to know the person they’ll potentially be working with. And although this is a great opportunity for you to learn more about your host as well, you’d be wrong to think that this meal is merely an excuse to spend more time together.
Generally, when asked to come to a business lunch or dinner meeting, it’s with the intent to see you in a different environment and determine whether this business relationship will really work. So to ensure you leave the table with flying colors, here are three rules of etiquette you should follow during a business lunch or dinner meeting.
Eat A Little Something Beforehand
Not only is a meeting for lunch or dinner a way to indulge in a great meal together, but it’s also a chance to talk to your companion in a more relaxed setting than a formal interview or business meeting. With this in mind, you should be prepared to focus primarily on the conversation, leaving the food for your secondary focus. To best do this, Rob Asghar, a contributor to Forbes.com, recommends eating a little something before you show up to the meal. By doing this, you won’t be so hungry that you forget your main objective. It will also help you to appear to have more self control, which could be a plus in the eyes of your host.
Choose Clean Foods
When it comes time to order your food, you want to be sure that you get the right thing for your situation. According to Gus Lubin and Kim Bhasin, contributors to Business Insider, it’s best to avoid foods that will be too messy when you try to eat them, like ribs or spaghetti. Because you’re trying to make a good impression on your host, stick to foods that will help your face and hands stay clean while you’re eating. Some good options include chicken, fish, and some salads.
Drink Very Little Alcohol, or None At All
The last thing you want to do during your meal is forget yourself as a result of drinking too much. For this reason, Lindsay Kolowich, a contributor to HubSpot.com, generally recommends not ordering an alcoholic drink. However, if your hosts insists, limit yourself to just one glass of wine or one beer. If you’re careful to drink slowly and eat your food as well, you shouldn’t have any problems keeping your wits about you during the remainder of the meeting.
If you have a lunch or dinner meeting on the horizon, use the etiquette tips mentioned above to ensure everything goes off without a hitch.