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The Power Lunch


By Lew Bayer and Karen Mallett

Can you imagine how much more you could accomplish over a business lunch if you weren’t worried about which fork to use, or who should sit where, or how much to tip? Polished professionals recognize that clients and higher-ups may not always notice whether or not you use the right fork – and they may not really care – but they will notice that you conduct yourself confidently and appropriately in every dining and business situation. Understanding the technical aspects of dining, and knowing what behaviours are expected, frees you up to focus on the client, and the business at hand.

Follow these steps if you want to feel confident and wow your client.

· Arrange with the restaurant for a quiet table with plenty of room, and certainly not a table near the kitchen. Confirm with the restaurant the day before the lunch to ensure your reservation is at the time you had arranged.

· Do a little research, or plenty, depending on the client, about the company and its operation. The better informed you are, the easier it will be to follow their thought processes. Pretend you are being considered for a position with their company, and find out all you can without hiring a private eye.

· Arrive at the restaurant 15 minutes early and familiarize yourself with your surroundings. Arrange that the server not bring the bill to the table, but rather that you will settle the bill with them once your guests have left.

· If time is of the essence, pre-ordering for your group can give you time to converse and accomplish the business at hand. Always check with your guests about any allergies or food preferences before ordering.

· Be waiting at the door to escort your clients to the table. Have a seating arrangement in mind. Remember that making your guests welcome and comfortable is as important as being prepared. When the lunch is over, rise out of your seat, walk guests to the door, shake hands and thank them for their time.

· Have an agenda to follow and leave room for questions and discussion. This will show the client that their time is valuable and that you are highly organized. Do not talk business before the meal is complete unless this has been pre-determined beforehand. Your meal should be enjoyed and conversation should be positive and appropriate. This is the time you spend developing a relationship and getting acquainted.

· Remember to turn off all cell phones and pagers. The most important people are the ones sitting in front of you. If you answer a phone call and discuss other business in front of them, the deal may be over before it begins.

· No matter how many times you ask, “Do you mind if I smoke?,” most people will tell you they don’t. Most of them are just too polite to say so. Smoke outside, in the lounge, or wait until you get back to your car. If your client smokes, ask what they would prefer and reserve accordingly.

· Send a thank you note to each of your guests. Thank you notes are not just for the host of the meal, but also for the client who spent the time listening to your ideas. (Hopefully you were listening to their ideas, too.)

· Save comments about the quality of service or the meal and discuss them with the manager after the guests have departed. Not only do guests not need to hear your concerns, but also the awkwardness felt around the table during negative behaviour will leave a bad taste in everyone’s mouth … and it won’t be from the food.

· Once you find an establishment that provides excellent service, wonderful food, and staff who are respectful and trustworthy, make it your regular meeting place. Exceptional dining experiences linger in the minds of potential clients and will give you the chance to concentrate on being an efficient and confident host.



Guidelines for Mannerful Meals

1. Do not answer your cell phone or pager during meals. If you must take a call, leave the table.

2. Do not talk with your mouth full and always chew with your mouth closed.

3. Try not to cause a scene if you spill or burp or do something unsightly.

4. Do not put elbows, cigarettes, purses, sunglasses, clothing or cell phones on the table, ever!

5. Try not to touch your hair or face while you are eating.

6. Sit up straight with your knees together and feet flat.

7. Try not to let your utensils touch the table or linen after you have used them.

8. Pace yourself so that everyone finishes at the same time.

9. Leave the table if you have to blow your nose, sneeze or pick your teeth.

10. Be sure to keep the conversation on “appropriate topics.”

 

Free trial issue of SOHO Business Report magazine, the source for small business / home based business solutions. Whether your target market is retail, warehouse, manufacturing, import / export, service, hospitality, restaurant or transportation, we can give you the strategic advantage you need to succeed.

PHSP Information; Find out how small business and home based business can get health benefits and extended coverage (including dental) while saving money by paying for these benefits with pre tax corporate income.

 

 

 


Copyright 2006 SOHO Business Report
a Dream Launchers Partner






SOHO Business report magazine, a Dream Launchers project publication, helps Small Office / Home Office Entrepreneurs succeed. We help home-based business and small business with free articles, multimedia (audio, video & interactive), tools and tips. Topics for home business and small business include business planning (e.g. business plan and marketing templates), strategy, guerrilla marketing, Internet marketing, publicity, project management, importing, exporting, taxes, finance, trade shows, technology, negotiation, consulting, sales techniques and tactics, work life balance, growth management, profit optimization, team work, leadership, human resources (recruiting, hiring, training & firing) and network marketing (referrals and contact building). SBR can help you start your home business or small business and give you the management tools and resources to succeed by making a business plan or marketing plan with expert input. All of that without getting an MBA, going through training or school. Start increasing your profits, improving your cash flow and building the business your entrepreneurial aspirations demand.