Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Etiquettes of Business Lunches

In the last post we discussed the do's and dont's of Team lunches.. today I write about the Etiquette's of Business Lunches. Yes those lunches that you take with your clients, customers, potential customers, bosses. It is as important to have some etiquette's followed (calling strictly) as it is to attend these lunches/dinners with them dressed strictly formal.

If you are with your Boss, Customer, Clients and Prospects remember one important thing "You are under a radar" yes, you are being watched for the manners. It is extremely important that you do some basics / learn some fundamentals and execute some starters correctly. Here is a list of some things that you should take care on Business dining...
Through the post we will refer Business Partners, Clients, Customers and prospects as Clients to avoid confusion.

1. Make sure you take your client to a place that determines not very casual or inexpensive dining place if you are the host. If you are not the host be courteous enough to accept and acknowledge the invitation well in advance.

2. Nothing is bad than keeping your client hungry
Try to be as much punctual as you can. Be in time atleast 10 - 15 mins earlier, if you run late not more than 10 - 15 mins. Make sure if you are the host or not if you have to meet a client try picking them up from the workplace so you can go to the dining location together. This is due to the fact that if you know each other you can choose to save time, if you dont imagine waiting for each other.

3. Initiation is import, Are you prepared?
No matter if you are having your lunch with your client or Boss, do you have something to speak about? I have seen several members just eating and looking at faces. The impression your boss or client can make around with this is not going to please you. Before the lunch / Dinner prepare yourself with some small talks.. they can be anything related to city , growth of company , domain, media or general issues...

4. Drinks and Drunks
If your client chooses to order some drinks accompany him, dont go haywire and start ordering cocktails... the first question your boss , client will have is "does he come to office next day if he drinks so much", if you are the first one to decide then put off by saying "I can company if you are interested". Start with breezers or very light drinks..

5. Whatta nice chick!!!!!
Unless you know your client , boss very well.. never ever go and discuss women or politics over business lunches. The talk speaks a lot about your character and its not good to reveal it for no reason. Also remember that your client or boss is not dating you. Bigger blunder is, if the client or boss is an opposite sex never ask for a Date ;)

6. If you cant respect people who do lower jobs than you, You cant be respected.
Treat the staff well. If you throw arrogance you reveal a very non essential part of your character. Calm down even if there is a blunder, shows maturity.

7. Know with who you are talking
Imagine discussing things that may not please someone you are dining with and he is your potential client... in a sense that you may say "XXX what a shameless city" Now imagine if he / she is from there ;) Be prepared and know your customer and their business well. If you are with you boss try to discuss topics that you are sure you know about... Idiots sound good in movies not in real life.

8. Never hammer your competition
You have to surpass your competition by outstanding them , not by cribbing about them. Never ever slam your customers or competitors in front of your customers. If possible in front of your Boss ;) He may like it , but he may also find you defensive. And blaming someone doesnt make you good.

9. Dont let the check go off
If you are the host then never let your client know the amount.. he has seen the menu , so he knows the cost.

10. Suggest
Suggest for restaurants, Food, and anything that come your way in discussions, never dominate the discussions... listen to the client,boss and see what they want to say...

Now time to go to some manners... if you are attending the business , informal dining... here are the Do's and Dont's :
1. Unfold your napkin when you seat, keep it on your lap. Use it to wipe your lips and fingers.. sneezing is a NO NO.
2. Drink your own glass
3. Hold the knife and fork in correct hands, use fork upside down when eating some rice etc.
4. Do not order food items that you cannot easily have without using hands
5. A Clean plate is an offence for a chinese host , maybe not for an Indian. You can leave some food in the next plate...
6. Try to give some respect by standing up when some guest arrives and greets you, when a lady is in action it is good manners to d this when they come and leave too.
7. Use the time when the food is served to have small talks

1. Keep mouth full while talking
2. Burp or make noises while eating.
3. Picking teeth, sneezing
4. stretching across table
5. Drinking too much wine
6. Just focusing on food and wine
7. Order food that involves a lot of gravy and sleazy material that would need a lot of care.
8. Dont Criticize food or wine, specially if it is a choice of your client or Boss
9. Leave the Dinner before everyone is done and ready to leave if you are with a client or if everyone is done and with due excuse if you are with your Boss or Team.