Let's face it: Work these days happens everywhere--on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn; online, offline and everything in between. When closing a deal by email at the grocery store on the weekend becomes the norm, it becomes all-too-clear that our time and attention are too sparse and scattered.
Which is all the more reason why the successful business lunch is an invaluable art to master.
We polled business experts--including John Martin, President of The Capital Grille--for their tips on how to ensure your next deal is signed, sealed and delivered by the time your waiter arrives with those Parmesan truffle fries:
- Choice of location: Pick a restaurant that can help you get the deal done. Select a spot known for its delicious food, great location, varied lunch menu and swift service. Familiarize yourself with an online menu before you arrive, so you don't waste time selecting your entrée or find too late there isn't anything for your guest to eat.
- Timeliness: Show the person you are meeting that they take top-flight priority by being prompt (or, preferably, a few minutes early). Always allow extra time to reach the restaurant.
- Handshake: Keep it firm, confident and don't forget eye contact.
- Silence the cell: Give your attention to your guest, not the blinking and binging of texts, calls and alerts. There is no greater courtesy in today's fast-paced world.
- Personal first, professional second: Place your order before you broach business strategy. You want to be efficient and enthusiastic, but not brusque.
- Mind your manners: Make your mother proud.
- Payment: Consider slipping the waiter your credit card in advance to avoid confusion over who's going to settle the bill.