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Business Lunch Etiquette - How to Ace a Business Lunch By Sue Clement

This information is brought to you by mkt1on1 at "Let's do lunch." How often have you heard that phrase. And how often have you wondered if you are actually "doing lunch" correctly. Here are seven tips for acing that business lunch. 1. Lunch is for connecting It's not about business, certainly not directly, so leave your samples and folders behind (unless your guest has specifically requested them), and it's not really about the food either. Instead, focus on getting to know the other person. 2. Order fuss-free food No matter how much you love spaghetti. Twisting noodles and slurping sauce can be distracting and a disaster especially if it ends up on your chest or lap. And of course watch your manners - don't speak with your mouth full. Instead, order an easy-to-eat pasta dish, for example something like ravioli that's bite size and easy to manage. If both of you enjoy sushi, consider going to a Japanese restaurant. Sushi is a perfect business lunch food since it's served up in handy bite-sized pieces. Avoid anything complicated or messy -- unless you plan on bonding over trying to figure out how to crack those crab legs. 3. How to invite someone Just suggest, "Let's have lunch." And ask them to suggest a restaurant, either one they like or one they've always wanted to try. Aim for a nice restaurant that's not too expensive. Stay clear of fast food or noisy places. If it's a client or prospect that you're inviting I prefer to offer to pick them up and drive them. This has saved me from being stood up more than once! But for those of you, who are speed demons like me, remember to drive conservatively. Now is not the ideal time to get pulled over for a speeding ticket. 4. Ask lots of questions This lunch is not about you. Your goal is to get to know the other person, so get curious and ask lots of questions. But keep them conversational this isn't an inquisition. If you're not good at coming up with questions on the spot plan ahead it's also good to have a look at the newspaper headlines for some current topics to get you started. Avoid going into the gory details of your own life and definitely leave you personal baggage at home. 5. Pace yourself If you're asking you guest a lot of questions or if they're a slower eater, they might be still sitting in front of a full plate while you're all finished. Try to avoid that. Pace yourself, and eat slowly. You want to finish about the same time. Then order dessert or coffee -- or both. 6. Don't drink (much) Seriously. Avoid drinking too much, even too much water. You don't want to have to excuse yourself to go to the restroom and leave your guest twiddling his or her thumbs. And definitely watch out when it comes to alcohol. Unless your guest orders it first, avoid it, and if you do have a drink, stop at one. 7. It's your treat Insist on that, even if your client offers to pay. Unless there's a major reason -- the client's company has a policy that prohibits that their employees are treated for meals, or unless there are other obvious reasons, pay for the meal. For discretion use a credit card.

And here's a bonus tip: leave your cell phone in your pocket or purse and turn it off.

Business Lunch Etiquette  

Seriously. Avoid drinking too much, even too much water. You don't want to have to excuse yourself to go to the restroom and leave your gues...

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