Our eti­quette ex­pert Shi­tal Mehra Kakkar gives tips on some prom­i­nent din­ning skills which could prove ben­e­fi­cial or oth­er­wise while strik­ing that cru­cial deal

Busi­ness lun­cheon is of­ten an op­ti­mal way to help crack the deal, but there are cer­tain eti­quette or din­ing skills in­volved in them, shares Shi­tal Kakkar Mehra

Micetalk - - Contents -

We of­ten ca­su­ally say “let's catch up over lunch” when chat­ting with a busi­ness as­so­ciate or a client. While a busi­ness meal sounds ca­sual, there are sev­eral skills, be­sides your din­ing skills, which are on dis­play.

Fol­low­ing are a few com­mon busi­ness meal faux pas:

1. Ar­riv­ing late: Not ac­cept­able. As the host, it's ex­pected that you reach a few min­utes be­fore your guests, re­quest for your ta­ble and wait in the lobby area/ at your ta­ble for your guests to ar­rive. While wait­ing, or­der noth­ing for your­self – your guests get to see a well laid-out ta­ble in­stead of half-con­sumed food/ drink. To avoid con­fu­sion about time and place, fol­low up ver­bal in­vites with an email.

2. Ru­de­ness to the wait staff: A su­perb tech­nique to em­bar­rass ev­ery­one! It's ac­cept­able to po­litely ask the wait staff ques­tions about the menu or bring to their no­tice prob­lems with your or­der. Beckon the waiter by mak­ing eye con­tact or briefly rais­ing your hand. Busi­ness deals may go hay­wire af­ter a po­ten­tial client sees your shabby treat­ment of the wait staff.

3. Wrong choice of restau­rant: Know your restau­rant by re­fer­ring to re­li­able sources – some tar­get busi­ness per­sons while oth­ers tar­get fam­i­lies, some take pride in be­ing the best for their food, while oth­ers are known for their am­bi­ence/ser­vice. Ideal busi­ness restau­rants are those where the seat­ing is in dis­creet booths, mak­ing it dif­fi­cult for the other pa­trons to ei­ther see or hear you.

4. Not know­ing your guest: Some busi­ness per­sons en­joy leisurely four­course meals in up mar­ket restau­rants, while oth­ers are hap­pier with a quick sand­wich in the lo­cal cof­fee-shop or del­i­catessen, which prom­ises good food and bet­ter ser­vice. Also, ask your guests for their pref­er­ence of food – the best seafood restau­rant will not im­press a guest who is ei­ther veg­e­tar­ian or al­ler­gic to shell­fish!

5. Over­do­ing the al­co­hol: While sev­eral com­pa­nies have a ‘no al­co­hol' pol­icy for lunch, if you de­cide to or­der a mar­tini, go easy!

Ideal busi­ness restau­rants are those where the seat­ing is in dis­creet booths

6. Weak fol­low-up: End the meal with a firm hand­shake and a warm “thank you”. As hand­writ­ten notes stand out in to­day's pa­per­less of­fices, send one to your host thank­ing him/her for the meal. Also, send a note to your client thank­ing him/her for tak­ing the time out for a meal with you. This note can be used ef­fec­tively to high­light your dis­cus­sions dur­ing the meal.

Shi­tal Kakkar Mehra Prac­ti­tioner of Cor­po­rate Eti­quette and In­ter­na­tional Pro­to­col in In­dia

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