So here we go again with the article that will conclude the business meal tips series. Business dinner is a little bit different from both lunch and breakfast since it’s often not as formal as the previous two. You don’t seal deals during the dinner, the main objective of this event is getting to know each other better in an informal setting. Receiving a dinner invitation from a business associate is considered as a sign of respect. Alcohol is involved, and it is usually OK to bring your wives.
Just as before, we will start with an extra tip that is applied to all kinds of business meals:
Do not bring up certain topics!
The taboo list includes:
- Religion : Religious debates are absolutely unacceptable at the table especially if the parties have different religions.
- Health: If you can’t eat spicy food because of your stomach problems, just say that you will have something else; you don’t need to make excuses.
- Money: Never ask about how much other people make or what’s the cost of a certain item, it’s considered bad form.
- Politics : Even though it’s not really a taboo kind of thing, it is only appropriate to discuss it very carefully, and if you are 100% sure that your business partner shares your point of view. However, we strongly recommend that you avoid this discussion as well.
Now, let’s jump to the 3 dinner-related things you should know to achieve the best result:
- Business dinner consists of small talks and non-business topics for approximately 80% of the time. We covered the things you shouldn’t talk about above, but what are the best conversations that you can start?
- Sports. However, if you are a FC Real fan, make sure that your associate isn’t a diehard FC Barcelona supporter. If that happens and it turns out that you root for two rivaling teams, turn it into a joke, you don’t want your conversation to go like “It was so easy to beat those Barcelona guys”, and then hear “Well, I have been their fan for 30 years”. Otherwise, sports is a good topic.
- Art is also nice. Discuss music, movies, books, exhibitions. Find out what your associate’s favorite actor is and drop that you particularly like that one movie where that guy stars.
- If you come with wives, ask your partner and his wife how they met. You can go on from there but not too deep and personal.
There are much more topics to discuss. Remember, that it’s best if you don’t start business-related conversations unless everyone has finished their hot dishes, otherwise there is a risk that you will miss the moment when it gets cold and loses its taste.
- Since alcohol is often a part of a business dinner, be very careful with it. You obviously don’t want to get drunk and start telling weird stories that would make others freak out. It’s also better for you to look like an expert when it comes to drinking, for example, you have to know which cheese you should eat with which wine. If you don’t drink, just say it without explanations; also, don’t ask another person about the reason they only have tea.
- So, you just had a perfect dinner, your associate and you liked each other and you wish to continue your partnership. Great! Now you need to ask the other party when they would like to have the next meeting. This is the last thing you need to do before saying goodbye. After you have agreed on the date and time, make sure to put a note about that in your calendar so you wouldn’t forget about it. Meeting Assistant allows you to do that pretty easily. If you already know what the agenda will be, you can also drop it into Meeting Assistant so that you start tracking your meetings with your partner immediately.
That was the last part of our guide for those who have meetings over any meal during the day. In the next article, we will summarize all the advice and explain how a mobile Meeting Assistant app can help you keep track of these kinds of events.