By Don Doman
Power lunches don’t just happen. If you leave them to chance you might end up at half-power. As in all business communications, power lunches start well before you sit down to talk . . . or eat.
Here’s what to do before your client arrives for lunch:
- If it is up to you to suggest the restaurant, have one in mind that will be conducive to conversation. A sports bar just doesn’t make it.
- Call and make reservations. If you are familiar with the restaurant and the staff, ask for a table that will suit your meeting.
- Call your client to confirm. Inform the client that reservations have been made under your name.
- Arrive early so you can make sure everything is in order.
- Talk to your waitperson and give them your credit card. Learn the waitperson’s name.
- Look over the menu and decide on your order.
- Order something non-alcoholic to drink while you wait.
- Be well aware of your client’s interests so you can easily slide in and out of small talk.
- Keep your cell phone on vibrate in case your client needs to cancel. This way you’ll not be kept waiting at the table through lunch.
Before you even think about a power lunch you should of course brush up on your table manners. If you are in doubt, and even if you are pretty sure, it never hurts to review proper dining etiquette. One of my favorite etiquette training programs is called The Art of Dining: The Business Lunch. The video covers the basics and acts as a good reminder for the steps involved as well as table manners.
“Hosted by Marjabella Young Stewart, this program dramatically increases your social confidence when dining as a host or guest.
The business lunch includes setting up your appointment, choosing the restaurant, ordering the meal, managing hard-to-handle foods, tipping and ending the meeting. Stewart is internationally known through her television appearances on “Good Morning America” and “The Today Show.”
This video will help stop you from making the wrong moves and pave the way for an enjoyable business lunch that should make good friends and good clients.”
– Ad copy for The Art of Dining: The Business Lunch
For less than hundred dollars this wonderful training video will repay you many times over. You can share the video with your fellow employees, or keep it to yourself.
The next step involved in the business or power lunch begins when your client arrives. The waitperson will probably show your client to your table and then take drink orders.
- If your client orders an alcoholic drink you should consider ordering one, but no more.
- The time it takes for the waitperson to reappear is time for small talk about the food, about the weather, about the client’s interests.
- If the client asks what’s tasty and well prepared at the restaurant, you can offer your favorites.
- While the client looks over the menu, turn your cell phone completely off.
- When the waitperson returns ask them to list the specials, and place your order.
- After the order has been placed you may begin talking about business.
Enjoy the meal, enjoy the conversation, and enjoy your business dealings. You both should be in a good mood following a well thought-out business power lunch.
Don Doman is a published author, video producer, and corporate trainer. He owns the business training site Ideas and Training (http://www.ideasandtraining.com), which he says is the home of the no-hassle “free preview” for business training videos. He also owns Human Resources Radio (http://www.humanresourcesradio.com), which broadcasts HR and business training information, program previews, and training samples from some of the world’s great training speakers twenty-four hours a day. You can listen and learn on Human Resources Radio.