6 Best Tips to Make the Most of Your Business Lunch

You are at a busy restaurant with a possible client or business partner and are ready to talk about important things over a meal. Business lunches are a great way to meet new people, make deals, and build relationships in a casual setting away from the office.

It takes more than just enjoying a good meal to get the most out of a business lunch. You need to plan and act with care to get the most out of this professional meeting. Six great tips in this article will help you get the most out of your business lunch. 

1. Leave Your Phone At Home

One of the best tips for making the most of a business lunch is to leave your phone at home or keep it out of sight. Having your phone on the table can be a distraction and may give the impression that you are not fully engaged in the conversation. It’s important to show respect and focus on the people you are meeting.

By not having your phone with you, you can maintain eye contact and listen actively to what others are saying. This helps build a better connection and shows that you value their time and input. If you need to have your phone with you, put it on silent and avoid checking it during lunch.

Focusing on the conversation also helps you remember important details discussed, which can be useful for follow-up actions or future meetings. It demonstrates professionalism and a strong work ethic, making a positive impression on your business associates.

2. Ask A Few Prepared Questions

Before the meeting, think about what you want to learn or discuss and prepare some questions that can guide the conversation. Prepared questions can help keep the conversation flowing smoothly and ensure that important topics are covered. They can also help you gather valuable information about the other person’s business, interests, or needs, which can be beneficial for building a strong business relationship.

Make sure your questions are open-ended to encourage discussion. When someone is asked, “Do you like your job?” you could ask, “What do you like most about your job?” This invites the other person to share more about themselves and provides more insight.

Prepared questions also help you steer the conversation back on track if it goes off-topic. They show that you have a clear purpose for the meeting and are focused on achieving your business goals.

3. Remember Your Basic Table Manners

Remembering your basic table manners is crucial for making a good impression during a business lunch. Good manners show respect for others and demonstrate professionalism. Start by waiting for everyone to be seated before beginning to eat. If you’re unsure which utensil to use, start from the outside and work your way in. To chew, keep your elbows off the table and your mouth shut.

Being polite and considerate also includes listening attentively when others are speaking and not interrupting. Engage in the conversation and show interest in what others have to say. However, avoid talking with your mouth full and take small bites so you can join the conversation without difficulty. Use your napkin to wipe your mouth as needed and place it on your lap during the meal.

If you need to excuse yourself, do so politely and quietly. When the meal is over, place your napkin on the table to the left of your plate to signal that you are finished.

4. Order The Right Food

Choosing the right food to order during a business lunch is important. Pick dishes that do not get too messy and are easy to eat. Avoid foods that are difficult to handle, like spaghetti or ribs, as they can be awkward and distracting. Simple dishes like salads, grilled chicken, or sandwiches are usually good choices.

Also, consider the setting and the type of cuisine being served. If you’re unsure about what to order, follow your host’s lead or ask the waiter for recommendations. The goal is to keep the focus on the conversation and not on the food.

Ordering the right food shows that you are considerate and helps keep the lunch professional. It allows you to engage in the discussion comfortably without worrying about making a mess or dealing with complicated dishes.

5. The Salt And Pepper Rule

Follow the salt and pepper rule: only season your food after you’ve tasted it. This shows consideration for the chef’s seasoning choices and prevents potentially awkward situations. It’s a subtle but important gesture that demonstrates your attention to detail and respect for others’ efforts.

6. Try Catering for Business Lunch

Consider catering for business lunch if you’re hosting a meeting at your office or a private venue. Catering ensures that the food is served efficiently and meets the dietary preferences of your guests. 

It also allows you to focus on the discussion without distractions from ordering or waiting for meals to arrive. Catering services can provide a variety of options to accommodate different tastes and dietary needs, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable dining experience.

Maximize the Benefits of Business Lunches

Remember, each lunch meeting is a chance to showcase professionalism, foster meaningful connections, and advance your career objectives. So, start planning your next business lunch with confidence, knowing that each opportunity can lead to enhanced collaboration, mutual respect, and long-term partnerships. 

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