Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Karen A. Thomas
CT Etiquette Expert

7 Dining Etiquette Tips for Business Professionals

Dining with clients and prospects alike, is a huge deal.  So many things to be aware of, prepare for and execute during this make or break event.  Here are a few tips for a successful and prominent dining venture.
  1. INVITATIONS When extending an invite - it is the INVITEE that always pays.  Make sure you secure pertinent information to make your meeting successful such as and food allergies or restrictions, the proximity of the restaurant for your guests travel time, etc...
  2. ARRIVE a half hour early of the agreed upon time - arriving a half hour earlier than your guest will allow you to secure a proper table conducive to conducting business.  This time is also good to speak to the waitstaff about any preferences or special requests.
  3. PAYMENT arrangements should be made ahead of time - when speaking to wait staff, discuss the payment situation before your guest arrives.  It is often custom to give a credit card before you guest arrives so as to remove any doubt who will pay or tip at the end of the meal.  This practice also excuses the awkward exercise of signing, calculating and waiting for the bill.  Once the client has left, you are able to retrieve the bill, sign and finish the transaction.
  4. CONDUCTING BUSINESS during a meal should be done during certain times - Breakfast or lunch business can be done immediately after ordering, where as at a dinner meeting, it should be done after the meal is completed.  
  5. MIRRORING - your guest should be made as comfortable as possible, always allow them to order first.  If the guest defers to you to take the lead, do so with the option of changing/mirroring your guests order - for example.  If you decline a glass of wine, but your guest orders one - mirror his/her order and do so as well.  The same goes for dessert.  It is a sign of respect and offering of making the guest feel comfortable with the dining field even.
  6. LISTEN - open your mind and ears to what your guest has to say.  Small talk and fact finding is key to a successful long term client relationship.  Talk about current events, sports, their likes and dislikes, and make mental notes for future reference. Remember - everyone likes to talk about themselves - LISTEN with open ears and good intent.
  7. THANK the guest for their time and company.  Once the client is ready to leave, make it known you enjoyed the experience and set a time to follow up.  Whether the deal was closed or not, the guest will remember a good time and good food shared with you.

While these 7 tips only scratch the surface of Dining for Business Professionals Etiquette, it is a good start to renew and refresh for the new year. Ciao 

Karen A. Thomas, www.ctetiquette.com  (860) 387-1282

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