This article from Entrepreneur.com is by Jacqueline Whitmore, an etiquette coach and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.
A business lunch is one of the best ways to connect with your clients and earn more business. Technology won’t replace face time. Here is what to avoid:
- Don’t hassle over the check. If you’ve asked a client out to lunch, always pay.
- Don’t try out the latest, greatest restaurant. A client lunch isn’t the time to try out a new establishment and risk bad service or bad food. Choose a restaurant familiar to you. Ideally, a place where the servers know you and give you outstanding service. Nothing is more impressive than being greeted by name when you enter a restaurant.
- Try not to cancel or reschedule. Changing your plans at the last minute because you accidentally overbooked or accepted a better offer will make you look careless and disorganized. Do not give them any reason to question your ability to stay on schedule.
- Don’t order first. Allow your client to order first, then follow the lead. Be aware of dietary restrictions. Mirror your client’s preferences and lunch will go more smoothly. If your client orders just a salad and a glass of iced tea, follow suit.
- Avoid poor table manners. Don’t eat like a barbarian. Basic manners are a must. Don’t chew with your mouth open. Use your napkin. Never overindulge in alcohol.
- Be a good listener. Get to know your client through dynamic conversation. Ask open-ended questions. Be interested and interesting and the conversation will flow organically.
- Don’t check your phone. Turn your phone on silent and leave it in your pocket or handbag. Your attentiveness and undivided attention will show your dedication to your guest and their business.
- Be mindful about the time. You don’t want your guest to be working late because you wasted too much time at lunch. At that point all the funny stories you told have become an anchor against you.
Overall, remember: The point is not to eat, but to move you up in your guest’s mind. A business meal should be more about the business and less about the meal.
Read the original article: What Not to Do When Taking Clients Out to Lunch