Don’t misplace your manners, especially when you’re looking to build a relationship or establish a deal during the business dinner. After all, you’re going to be on the same table with others, and like it or not, the way you talk, eat and hold yourself up will be scrutinized. You’ll also want to leave others with a good impression of you and establish the path to a continuous relationship with them.
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Setting the Right Agenda
It’s crucial that you know just why you’re sitting down to the meal. If the meet up is more social, you’re looking to spend time bonding with others and getting to know them better. However, if it’s to hammer out the finer details of a business deal, you’ll want to get in the right mindset for it. Whichever the case, the more certain you are, the less you’ll be at a disadvantage.
It’s Still Work
This isn’t the time to get into happy hour mode. In fact, a business dinner is very much an extension of your usual workday, so treat it as such. It’ll be a combination of networking and a business meeting, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly. Relax and get comfortable during the process, but not too much that you lose track of the desired outcomes you hope to see from the meal.
The Food is Secondary
A growling tummy can be pretty funny in certain situations, but you’ll definitely want to avoid that at your business dinner. Eat a little something before the actual meal so you won’t end up being focused solely on finishing the food in front of you the entire time. Also, you’ll want to avoid messy foods such as sauce-based pasta, ribs, crabs legs and such in order to be able to focus on the talk at hand.
Get Ready to Talk
Communication plays a big part in how we function in daily life, and when it comes to a business dinner, nothing is going to happen if talking isn’t part of the picture. Show a genuine interest in others by preparing some questions to ask them at the right time. Also, the wider your knowledge on a broad range of general topics, the better you’ll be able to convey that you’re someone worth talking to on a long term basis.
Take Note of Your Body Language
Even if you haven’t realized it yet, our body language speaks volumes, sometimes overshadowing what we’re actually saying out loud. In other words, take note of how you’re sitting, eating and reacting to the people on your table. Do remember basic table manners such as not talking with your mouth full, chewing with your mouth closes, not pointing your utensils at others, and so on.
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