MAKE THE RIGHT IMPRESSION WITH THESE ETIQUETTE STRONGPOINTS
If you’re a busy executive who often entertains potential clients at dinner, you understand the importance of making the right impression. Being aware of some of the basic tenets of business etiquette when dining with an important client can help you maintain good standing and provide your company with the representation it deserves. However, having so many etiquette basics memorized can prove to be a bit of a challenge for many executives. To help you get your business dinner etiquette straight, we’ve compiled a list of essential tips for making the right impression each and every time.
DON’T FORGET TO SHAKE HANDS
Before you sit down to dinner with a potential client or an important business prospect, you must acknowledge with something other than words. A firm and welcoming handshake before you take your seats is a great way to establish an open, friendly, yet professional environment before you’ve even ordered your drinks.
MAKE A TIMELY SELECTION FROM THE MENU
Time is something that the majority of business diners don’t have a lot of. So when it comes to ordering your business dinner meal, you’ll need to select something in a reasonable amount of time so conversation can return to business matters as quickly as possible. You don’t want to appear indecisive or inexperienced in the fine dining realm—even if you are. So select something, order it, and move on. Going back and forth for several minutes between the chicken and the specialty fish is a waste of everyone’s time.
BE POLITE TO THE SERVER
Among the biggest mistakes one can make at a business dinner, especially at a first time meeting with a new client, is being rude, impatient and generally unpleasant to the server. No matter how sunny and welcoming you were to your client upon arrival, being rude to the help staff will create an air of discomfort and tension and will put your client on edge. Keep your tone agreeable, your demands reasonable and your interactions cordial. Even if your server gets your order incorrect or has forgotten something, you don’t want to express a tendency to be rattled by minor issues. Maintain your composure and keep your focus on the business matter at hand.
ORDER SIMPLE FOODS
You don’t want to discuss a huge business project with barbecue sauce on your chin. You don’t want to intersperse your points about a prospective business venture with slurps or noisy crunching. Selecting foods that are simple and easy to eat will limit the amount of spotlight the actual act of eating takes up during the course of your meal. You want the meal to be comfortably in the background, not front and center.
AVOID UNFAMILIAR FOODS
The last thing you want during an important business meeting is to come down with a stomach ache, an allergic reaction or an otherwise unpleasant response to the food you’re eating. Stick to foods that you know you can tolerate. Save the adventurous side of your palate for a few business dinners down the road when you’re more familiar with the client and the tone of the night is more flexible. Having the right business dinner etiquette can help you make the impression you need to make, represent your company with pride, and connect with a potential client effectively. Prepare diligently before your next business dinner, and ensure that your sense of etiquette is on point. photo credit: le temple du chemisier via photopincc