Your behavior and conduct at a business dinner can determine how others view your level of professionalism and your personality.
Throughout your professional life, you may have to attend numerous business dining meets for various reasons. Whether to meet a new client or a potential business partner, or for interviews, team bonding, or networking events—all of these affairs may happen over a good meal. To leave a lasting impression on your client, it is essential to practice business dining manners. Here are some important rules you should always remember when attending or hosting a business dinner or lunch.
Dress up appropriately
Your dress code should entirely be based on the occasion and the kind of restaurant you will be dining at. If you are attending an initial meeting with recruiters or a networking event, dress up business casual. But if it is a client meeting, a business deal, or an interview—wear your finest formal wear. If the event seems less formal—you may pull into something more casual.
You should silence your phone and other smart devices
This tip is a no-brainer. It is essential to note that a vibrating cell phone is just as distracting as a ringing one. Switch your phone to silent mode and put it away. Do not use it until the meeting is over and the host leaves.
Arrive at the venue on time.
You should plan your travel and arrival time in advance to ensure that you do not keep anyone waiting for you at the table. Try to reach the venue a bit early if needed. Just in case you are late for unavoidable reasons—hey, it’s okay—but make sure you call your host and other attendees to inform them about the possible delay. Similarly, if your host or client is late, wait for at least 20 minutes before you call them to inquire.
Greet everyone with a firm handshake.
Greet everyone at the table with a handshake and maintain eye contact when introducing yourself to everyone. Focus on memorizing everyone’s names—and remember to thank everyone after the meeting concludes.
Allow the host to lead.
Of all the important dining etiquette—the most important rule involves—the dinner should be led by the host with the client. The host is expected to pick a suitable restaurant, make reservations in advance and carry out other arrangements. If you are hosting the dinner, you should also consider the mode of transportation and time needed to arrive at the venue. Choose a place and time that is suitable for all your guests. After getting seated, take control of the event and the meal.
Show gratitude after the meal.
After the meal, take your time to thank everyone at the table. Tell everyone that you enjoyed the meal and the discussion. In networking events, exchange business cards and contact information.